Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, out of an abundance of caution the General Court has suspended all legislative activities through May 4th. During this time, the State House will be closed to legislative members, legislative staff, and visitors.
No in-person caucus of Republican members is scheduled at this time. Republican members may receive information for conference call caucus by email.
CONCORD – House Republican Leader Dick Hinch (R-Merrimack) issued a statement following the House vote to pass HB1699, relative to a tax on electronic cigarettes. The bill passed by a vote of 172-142. Just last year, updated provisions on the taxation of e-cigarette products were adopted as part of the bi-partisan budget, and were enacted on January 1 of this year.
“Just about 60 days ago, a new law went into effect regarding the taxation of vaping products, and now we’re already talking about changing it. Republicans are saying we should give it some time. Democrats would like to raise the tax from 8% to 40% right away, and toss aside the provisions we all agreed to less than 6 months ago,” Hinch stated. “Just imagine if you’re a retailer trying to follow the ever changing parameters, and trying to update your business in order to stay afloat and remain competitive. We believe an increase of this nature will simply drive customers to the internet, which will cost New Hampshire jobs, and that’s why all Republicans opposed this bill.”
CONCORD – House Republican Leader Dick Hinch (R-Merrimack) issued a statement following the House votes to defeat HB1652, including ski area ticket sales under the meals and rooms tax, and HB1492, establishing a tax on the retail sale of certain electronic devices.
“Although these proposals failed, folks need to realize that this is just the tip of the iceberg. If Democrats had their way, we would have already seen a slew of higher taxes, including an income tax, a dramatic increase in business taxes, and an $800 million carbon tax,” said Rep. Hinch. “The ski tax, and the electronics tax are examples of the nickel-and-dime approach Democrats would like to take to make more of our economy taxable, and ruining the New Hampshire advantage in the process. Governor Sununu and Republicans in the House and Senate have worked to prevent taxes, both small and large, from being enacted. We can only imagine what our aggregate tax bills would look like if Democrats had control of the state government.”
CONCORD – House Republican Leader Dick Hinch (R-Merrimack) issued a statement following the House vote on HB1379, requiring a background check for commercial firearms sales. The bill passed by a vote of 196-152. 100% of Republicans voted in opposition to the bill, along with 11 Democrats.
“This is the second time this term that we see this legislation, and I suspect this bill will meet the same fate. Republicans have the votes to sustain the governor’s veto on this bill just as we did last year,” Hinch stated. ”In prior terms, this legislation has been defeated by a bipartisan majority vote. Democrats’ broken record approach, repeating the same failed anti-second amendment legislation each year needs to stop.”
CONCORD – House Republican Leader Dick Hinch (R-Merrimack) issued a statement following Governor Sununu’s State of the State Address today.
“The governor laid out a compelling case as to why New Hampshire stands out from its neighbors, and why we shouldn’t look to adopt high-tax, high-regulation policies like our neighbors,” Hinch said. “New Hampshire has led by example in our region to have the fastest growing economy and lowest unemployment, and for good reason.”
”Republican leadership in previous terms laid the groundwork for sustained economic growth and protection of personal liberty. This term, the governor has been the firewall against policies from Democrats in the legislature to roll back those initiatives in their attempt to make New Hampshire’s style of government resemble that of our high-tax, nanny state neighbors like Massachusetts and Connecticut.”
“In the last year and a half, we’ve seen multiple attempts to pass an income tax, an $800 million dollar carbon tax, waves of regulation that would cripple our small businesses, and endless attempts to strip away Second Amendment rights. This is not what New Hampshire is all about. New Hampshire is among the best places in the nation to live, start a business, and raise a family, and we look forward to working with Governor Sununu to protect those values, and innovate for the future.”
CONCORD – House Republican Leader Dick Hinch (R-Merrimack) issued statements relative to a series of bills that have hearings before the House Commerce committee on Thursday.
HB 1194, establishing a surcharge for certain single use plastics.
“This is just another effort by Democrats to force businesses to nickel and dime consumers,” Hinch said, ”Last year we labeled similar bills as a bag tax. This is nothing more than a bag and cup tax. My concern is how many more aspects of daily life in New Hampshire will Democrats want to mandate or add a fee to. Will we see a bottle deposit and solo cup fee next?”
HB 1472, restricting the distribution of plastic straws.
“This is the same overreaching bill that House Democrats passed last year, which died in the Senate,” Hinch said, ”Requiring businesses to not offer straws unless the consumer specifically asks is a ridiculous mandate. Not even California’s straw law goes as far as this bill does. If there ever was a straw that breaks the camel’s back, this type of nitpicking legislation just might be it.”
HB 1564-FN, prohibiting the use of polystyrene foam.
“Businesses have been transitioning away from polystyrene on their own and don’t need the government to come in and regulate them. Consumers should be able to decide if they want to do business with an establishment, and if they are against foam, they can go elsewhere,” Hinch said, “If you don’t want your Puritan chicken tenders in a polystyrene container, go down the road to the other chicken tender place, and maybe the Puritan will get the message. Polystyrene waste is a tiny and dwindling portion of our overall wastestream, and we should be concentrating on tackling more important issues.”
HB 1508, relative to paper receipts.
“If this bill’s goal is to reduce paper waste, I have a recommendation. Democrats should stop filing all of these bills that will go nowhere,” Hinch said, ”We’ve seen a litany of bills seeking to reduce waste this term, but the only waste I see too much of is wasting our time with these bills and the paper they are printed on.”
CONCORD – House Republican Leader Dick Hinch (R-Merrimack) issued a statement relative to the public hearing on HB1492, a Democrat sponsored bill which establishes a tax on the retail sale of certain electronic devices. The bill, as introduced, would impose a 4.3% sales tax on a long list of items including:
- Television sets and related equipment
- Video games and all related play systems and equipment
- Smart watches and similar products and related equipment
- Computers and related equipment, including desktop computers, tablet computers, laptop computers, printers, scanners, faxes and all related hardware and software
- Cell phones and smart phones and related equipment therefore
“This is a sales tax. This is a sales tax on products that families and businesses use everyday that will cost us millions,” Hinch said. “This is a sales tax on many productivity and learning tools and it will make these tools less affordable to low income families and small businesses. If this were to become law, who’s to say Democrats wouldn’t expand it to cover even more products or eventually all products? I’m confident that this bill will be short circuited by a governor’s veto. They’ve spent the last year and a half trying to pass an income tax, I guess it’s no surprise a sales tax is next on the menu. This is such a crazy idea, I can’t believe it was even introduced. If they pass this bill, it will be another a fine kettle of fish for New Hampshire.”
CONCORD – House Republican Leader Dick Hinch (R-Merrimack) and Fiscal Committee member Rep. Lynne Ober (R-Hudson) issued statements following the denial of a request by the Department of Justice for additional funds to cover litigation costs. The Joint Fiscal Committee voted along party lines to give the department less than half of its original request, with Democrats voting in favor of the cut.
“Democrats have turned the Fiscal Committee into a partisan political machine. There was a time not long ago where the Fiscal Committee put politics aside and quietly and responsibly did the work it needed to do to ensure state government operated smoothly,” Hinch said. “Now at nearly every meeting, Democrats appear to savor pulling the rug out from under agency heads with whom they disagree, and in this case, jeopardize critical funding for DOJ to carry out its duties. You’d expect these types of political stunts out of Washington, but New Hampshire deserves better.”
“The AG provided thorough history of previous similar requests from the department to cover litigation costs and his request was justified and necessary for his department to meet its obligations. Never before has Fiscal denied the AG money for litigation. No matter what party was in power. No matter if they agreed with pending litigation or not. This was pure partisan politics,” Rep. Lynne Ober stated after the meeting. “The Department has $120,000 in invoices coming related to completed work on the mental health settlement, and Democrats have essentially told him he’ll need to prioritize his obligations, and risk default. The AG has duties to uphold in defense of the state and paying related bills. The Fiscal Committee has put politics ahead of responsible government in this instance.”
Concord – House Republican Leader Dick Hinch issued a statement following the Joint Fiscal Committee’s vote to deny an item that would have allowed the Department of Education to accept more than $10 million in federal funds for the purpose of expanding charter school opportunities for New Hampshire students.
Republicans on the committee voted unanimously against the motion to deny the grant.
“For years, Democrats in the legislature criticized Republicans for, in their words, leaving federal money on the table for the expansion of entitlement programs,” said Hinch. “Now we see them leaving money on the table for something as fundamental as education. They claim funding public school is one of their top priorities, and charter schools are, in fact, public schools. Their bias and short-sightedness are putting children across the state at a disadvantage.”
“There are many communities in this state where there is only one option for education,” Hinch continued. “For the students who may not be thriving in that environment, charter schools provide another option for educational success. Quite frankly, it’s embarrassing that Democrats are playing politics with thousands of children’s education opportunities, and leaving children behind, rather than help all children in our state succeed.”
“I think we need to recognize the successes our existing charter schools and the fact that there is demand for them throughout the state in places where they don’t currently exist. It is wrong, and partisan, to deny these funds,” Fiscal Committee member Rep. Ken Weyler (R-Kingston) stated during the discussion on the item.
CONCORD – House Republican Leader Dick Hinch (R-Merrimack) issued a statement upon the approval by the House of Representatives of HB735, relative to carbon pricing.
“This would have been the largest tax increase in New Hampshire history, yet House Democrats let this bill live for an entire year. They let their members on the Science committee work on and amend it. They must have thought it had merit. They apparently just figured out that voting for an $800 million per year energy tax was probably not how they want to enter an election year so they tabled it, rather than take a stand on it. Republicans wanted to vote to shoot this thing down, which is what it deserved, to say the very least.”
“No other state has this type of egregious tax. Testimony from experts said that this would raise the price of gas by over one dollar per gallon, affect heating fuels by a similar steep hike, raise electric costs, and affect every aspect of our economy in a severely negative manner,” Hinch said. “It would disproportionately hurt the poor, elderly, and those living in rural parts of the state. It would drastically increase energy costs for local governments that would necessitate property tax increases.”
CONCORD – House Republican Leader Dick Hinch (R-Merrimack) issued a statement upon the approval by the House of Representatives of HB559, relative to point of sale bags. The bill passed by a vote of 205-158.
“I’m beginning to think that Democrats trying to turn New Hampshire into the most highly taxed state in New England. A bag tax? That’s what this is. We are now turning to taxing consumers $.10 to $.50 per single-use plastic or paper bag,” Hinch said.
“There are better ways to help consumers make informed decisions other than forcing stores to charge consumers ten cents per bag. This is nothing more than a heavy handed mandate to address a problem that state officials have disclosed does not exist. It’s a slippery slope, and I can only worry that we will see a plastic bottle tax, a plastic straw tax, or a coffee cup fee next.”