House Democratic Leader Signs on to Streamlined Sales Tax Proposal

State House Republican Leadership Blasts Former Speaker Norelli for the Anti-Business Move

Concord--Former Speaker of the New Hampshire House Terie Norelli  is the president-elect of the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) but she is wasting no time in attempting to further  increase government taxes regulations on New Hampshire employers, much the same way she did while serving as Speaker of the New Hampshire House between 2006 and 1010.

In a letter to the leadership of both the U.S. House and Senate, co-signed by Wyoming House member Rosie Berger and Kansas Senate President Stephen Morris, the Portsmouth Democrat suggested a number of recommendations for consideration for deficit reduction.  Among the proposed moves would be to enact the Main Street Fairness Act, or a streamlined sales tax, which would authorize the collection of state and local sales and use taxes from remote sellers.   If passed, the Act would increase taxes on goods purchased across state lines.

In response to her request, State House  Republican Leaders, Speaker William O'Brien and Senate President Peter Bragdon,  quickly followed up with a letter reminding congressional leadership that Rep. Norelli does not represent the State of New Hampshire, which remains steadfastly opposed to the Main  Street Fairness Act, as included in her letter.

The Republican leadership expressed further concern that the Act would do nothing to reduce the federal deficit, but would in fact add an additional drag to the economy as a whole by increasing taxes on consumer goods purchased across state lines.  "For a state like New Hampshire that has no general sales tax, the Act represents a significant burden of tax collection and remittance, when none currently exists," said the letter.   "We cherish our low tax environment and adding the responsibility to collect sales taxes would hinder business growth here and undermine our hard-earned, low-tax status with new costs."  Republican leaders also believe that the Act contemplates a third level of government regulation between the state and federal government that will burden employers with more duties and compliance costs, which in turn will slow growth and limit job creation.

House Majority Leader D.J.  Bettencourt said that Norelli's stance on a sales tax should come as no surprise to taxpayers.  "We all remember when, as speaker, she admitted to the Portsmouth Herald that she was open to all options for the New Hampshire budget, including an income tax.  Under her watch, more than 100 new taxes and fees were raised or created, spending increased by 25% and millions were downshifted on to the backs of taxpayers.  Her tax and spend record is well established at the State House, including appointing avowed pro-income tax advocates to the powerful positions as Chairman of both the House Finance and Ways and Means Committees.  She also has a voting record that has clearly supported an income tax.  By sending this letter we want to make sure that our congressional leaders realize that Rep. Norelli does not represent the best interests of New Hampshire and her proposal will hurt our ability to add good, new jobs here," added Bettencourt.

The New Hampshire Republican leaders concluded the letter by urging congressional leaders to look to New Hampshire as an example of the way that states can make the tough decision to move to balance the budget without tax or fee increases and without passing costs down to taxpayers at a lower level of government. 

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Norelli's Letter

NCSL Deficit Reduction Priorities Letter

August 15, 2011

The Honorable John Boehner
Speaker of the House
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515

The Honorable Harry Reid
Majority Leader
U.S. Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
Minority Leader
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515

The Honorable Mitch McConnell
Minority Leader
U.S. Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510

RE: NCSL Deficit Reduction Priorities

Dear Speaker Boehner, Representative Pelosi, Senator Reid and Senator McConnell:

The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) recognizes the importance of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction in achieving at least $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction savings. As states continue to face fiscal challenges in balancing their budgets, it is essential that the federal government does not export deficit savings to state and local governments. We urge the joint committee’s examination of all possible avenues for deficit reduction, including discretionary spending, entitlement reform and revenue-related options. Our core deficit reduction concerns are as follows.

  • UNFUNDED FEDERAL MANDATES. Impose no new unfunded federal mandates; expand the definition of an unfunded mandate to include new conditions of grant aid; broaden application of UMRA; and conduct UMRA analysis of the joint committee’s recommendations.
  • MEDICAID. Fund fiscal impact of any maintenance of effort requirements; establish countercyclical trigger for enhanced Medicaid federal match in economic downturns/recessions; enhance program flexibility; and clarify that beneficiaries and providers have no private right of action to enforce rights granted under the Medicaid program.
  • ECONOMIC INVESTMENTS. Infrastructure programs, such as those for surface transportation and environmental state revolving fund programs, should be continued at funding levels sufficient to continue the economic benefits they provide. Additionally, as stated in the Bowles-Simpson deficit reduction recommendations, programs serving low-income populations should be held harmless from spending reductions.
  • PREEMPTION. State authority should be upheld in areas such as medical malpractice and tort law and public employee exclusive participation in state retirement and pension systems.
  • STREAMLINED SALES TAX. Enact the Main Street Fairness Act which will authorize the collection of state and local sales and use taxes from remote sellers.
  • PUBLIC SAFETY. Designate proceeds from auction of the spectrum to establish a nationwide interoperable communications system for state and local government first responders.


We look forward to working with you on these and other issues to meet our shared fiscal responsibilities.

Respectfully,

Senator Stephen R. Morris
President of the Senate, Kansas
President, NCSL

Terie Norelli
Member, New Hampshire House of Representatives
President-Elect, NCSL
Co-Chair, NCSL Deficit Reduction Task Force

Rosie Berger
Member, Wyoming House of Representatives
Co-Chair, NCSL Deficit Reduction Task Force

 

Cc: The members of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction

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NH Republican Leadership Letter

August 30, 2011


The Honorable John Boehner Speaker of the House U.S. House of Representatives Washington, D.C. 20515
The Honorable Harry Reid Majority Leader U.S. Senate Washington, D.C. 20510
The Honorable Nancy Pelosi Minority Leader U.S. House of Representatives Washington, D.C. 20515
The Honorable Mitch McConnell Minority Leader U.S. Senate Washington, D.C. 20510


Re: NCSL Deficit Reduction Letter and Main Street Fairness Act


Dear Speaker Boehner, Representative Pelosi, Senator Reid and Senator McConnell:


The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) recently sent a letter to Congressional leadership, with recommendations for consideration for deficit reduction. While one of the signers was a state representative from New Hampshire, I am writing to make clear that our state does not support the enacting of the Main Street Fairness Act (the “Act”), as included in the NCSL letter.


The primary concern with including the Act in a deficit reduction act is that it will do nothing to reduce the federal deficit, and in fact will add an additional drag to the economy as a whole by increasing taxes on consumer goods purchased across state lines. Furthermore, the Act contemplates a third level of government regulation between the state and federal government that will burden employers with more duties and compliance costs, which in turn will slow growth and limit job creation.


Finally, for states like New Hampshire that have no general sales tax, the Act represents a significant burden of tax collection and remittance, when none currently exists. We cherish our low tax environment and adding the responsibility to collect sales taxes would hinder business growth here and undermine our hard-earned, low tax status with new costs.


August 30, 2011
Page Two


Our legislature certainly does understand the importance of deficit reduction. Facing a historically large budget deficit, our House and Senate joined this year to pass a budget that reduced state general fund spending by nearly 18%, and did so in a way that minimized the impact to local government. We additionally understand the significant challenge that the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction faces, and we ask that you look to New Hampshire as an example of the way in which states can make the tough decision to move to balance the budget without tax or fee increases and without passing costs down to taxpayers at a lower level of government.


Thank you for your consideration of this important matter.


Sincerely,


William L. O’Brien,                                                 Speaker Peter Bragdon, President
New Hampshire House of Representatives          New Hampshire Senate