The Finance Committee passed SB450, which contains tax cuts, fee increases and a plethora of new taxes, by a one vote margin. (13 – 12)
The bill will place Republicans in a tough spot because they will want to vote against tax and fee increases, but by doing so will be voting against the LLC Tax repeal. Yes, that onerous tax is repealed in this ombudsman bill.
· Tobacco products other than cigarettes
· A new electricity generation tax that will increase all of our electric bills. At the same time they repealed the user fee that forced people to turn off their lights or pay a higher electricity bill.
· The Insurance premium tax has been rolled back to 2 percent
· Estate taxes have been passed --- move out of state if you have a large insurance policy coupled with investments or your heirs will see the state drain your coffers.
· Pet shops will pay a higher license fee
· Want to get married? Expect to pay five bucks more for that wedding license.
· Vital records fees will increase
· Ag increased the market bulletin subscription
What was downshifted to towns?
· Cat Aid, a reimbursement program for SPED costs, has seen the reimbursement rate reduced from 82 percent to 79 percent. There is an amendment that would allow school districts to hold a special meeting in 2011 without going to court ONLY if they needed to cover the gap in Cat Aid reimbursement (remember those budgets are already set).
· School nutrition programs saw a small decrease
· Rooms and Meals Tax distribution was further reduced
Governor Lynch’s “Ponzi” Schemes
· UNH will give the general fund $25 million. The Governor will, in turn, bond $25 million and start paying UNH back plus interest. Who said folks at universities didn’t have business sense?
· The Governor cannot cover his bond payment this year so he plans to “re-structure” $51 million dollars. That way he only has to pay $2 million this year and stretch the rest out for another decade with new bonds --- mortgaging the future and costing the state $9 million or so in increased interest payments
The democrats had enough votes to:
· Refuse to cut the Judicial budget as the Governor requested.
· Added back $10 million to HHS
· Added back a position and fees for a position that was laid off last October to do lead paint inspections. How long before the other departments who had to lay people off last October come forward and ask to have the positions reinstated.
Other actions of note:
· $80 million in stimulus funds aimed for 2011 will be move into FY2010 in the hopes of balancing the budget.
· Furlough nonclassified and unclassified employees one day a month --- LBA unable to determine savings.
· Liquor and Lottery Commissions were ordered to reduce their expenses which should mean increased money into the general fund.
· The Finance Committee majority party did not have enough majority votes to pass either the cigarette tax or the capital gains tax and those were left on the table.
Finance Committee Republicans were working on floor amendments to eliminate all tax increases. Republican leadership plans to ask to divide the question so that the LLC Tax Repeal could be voted on separately. Think that will get approved? Are there enough bad things in this bill to enable Republicans to vote against passage and still be able to explain to their constituents why they had to vote against the LLC Tax repeal?