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NH House Leaders Comment on January Unemployment Report 

CONCORD – House Speaker William O’Brien (R-Mont Vernon) and House Majority Leader D.J. Bettencourt (R-Salem) today commented on the release of the January employment data from the Department of Employment Security (NHES).  The report showed that while the unemployment rate stayed the same at 5.2% due to adjustments made by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics to account for population data updates from the 2010 census, the state continues to add jobs.  The number of employed New Hampshire residents increase by 1,180 and the number of unemployed residents dropped by 280, while the workforce expanded by 900, according to NHES.

House Speaker William O’Brien

“This is one more in a string of employment reports that shows New Hampshire’s economy is continuing to strengthen.  It’s great news to see that more of our friends and neighbors are finding work, and that our workforce is continuing to grow.  As legislators, our responsibility is to continue to develop a strong environment for private sector employers to grow and bring good, new jobs here.  That means redoubling our efforts to keep taxes low, reduce burdensome regulations and sell our state as the place to do business.  We are obviously headed in the right direction, but we have more work to do.”

House Majority Leader D.J. Bettencourt

“While the Democrats and the media continue to fixate on a handful of bills unrelated to jobs, they are missing the tremendous recovery going on across the state in which our employers are gaining the confidence to grow and our residents are finding work.  I expect the media will continue to ignore the real New Hampshire recovery, which has nothing to do with stimulus spending, passing overreaching takeovers of our healthcare industry and pushing new regulations.  Instead, this comeback is because of the hard work and courage of Republican legislators who had the guts to stand up to special interests and say ‘enough.’ This led to an honest balanced budget, tax reductions that mean that we no longer have the highest business tax rate in the nation, and 43 – and counting – new laws to cut regulation and red tape.  Thankfully, our citizens get the fact that change was necessary and they support our efforts to bring fiscal responsibility to New Hampshire, allowing our employers to create new jobs.”


NH House Leaders Call on Vice President Biden to Use NH Model to Create Jobs, Not More Government 

CONCORD – House Speaker William O’Brien (R-Mont Vernon) and House Majority Leader D.J. Bettencourt (R-Salem) today offered the following statement in response to news that Vice President Joe Biden will travel to Rochester, New Hampshire on Thursday to discuss job creation.

House Speaker William O’Brien

“The Vice President should note that New Hampshire is shrinking our unemployment rate and growing our workforce the right way – without government bailouts or taxpayer funded stimulus programs.  Instead, we brought spending under control and reduced a historic deficit without raising a single tax or fee.  In fact, we cut or eliminated 12 taxes or fees and passed 43 new laws that reduced regulations.  Now, our economy is thriving as our employers are gaining the confidence to add new jobs.  The Vice President should leave his big government solutions in Washington and learn how we can get the economy moving again when we lift the burden of the state from the back of those who actually create jobs.”

House Majority Leader D.J. Bettencourt

“The Democrats were in the process of destroying the New Hampshire Advantage with higher taxes, fees and regulations when we took over in 2010.  Now, we have more people working across the state than since the recession started.  Republican leadership has meant more jobs here in the Granite State, while Vice President Biden’s agenda of passing stimulus plans and attempting to take over health care did nothing but give us a huge budget hangover.  We are not buying any more of the Obama Administration snake oil that won’t help our economy and hasn’t gotten Americans back to work.  That’s why New Hampshire will be joining with the nation to elect a Republican president in November.”


BACKGROUND: New Hampshire’s economic recovery is in full force.  According to the federal Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, New Hampshire’s workforce is now the largest ever recorded.  In December, the state’s unemployment rate dropped to 5.1%, the fourth lowest nationally.  In 2011, the Republican Majority passed a budget that reduced state general fund spending by 18% and overall spending by 11%, while providing tax reduction for businesses.


NH House Leaders Comment on State Moving to Up to 2nd Nationally in State Health Rankings

CONCORD – House Speaker William O’Brien and House Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs Chairman John Reagan offered the following comments regarding New Hampshire improving from third to second nationally in the State Health Rankings.

House Speaker William O’Brien

“Obviously, moving from third to second nationally is a good sign for the health of New Hampshire and something that the public and the health care professionals of this state should embrace proudly.  The fact that our state finished first in the country in several categories shows that we have the ability to top this list.  However, with an aging demographic even more prevalent in the Granite State, we need to continue to inform many of our residents about diseases, such as diabetes, that tend to impact seniors and can undermine their quality of life.  This report is good news, but we need to redouble our efforts to remind our citizens about the ways to lead healthier lifestyles.”



House Leaders Call Report Outlining Failure of RGGI Program as Evidence of Need to Eliminate Cap-and-Trade in NH

CONCORD – House Speaker William O’Brien (R-Mont Vernon) and House Majority Leader D.J. Bettencourt (R-Salem) today offered the following statements regarding the release of a report by the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) and the Department of Environmental Services (DES) showing the flaws in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a 10-state cap-and-trade program for the Northeast. 

The report demonstrated that the last five RGGI carbon auctions have failed, with bidders purchasing credits at the floor, or minimum, price.  The report also states that RGGI adds over $5.50 to the price of ratepayers’ electric bills each year.  RGGI consultants call for reducing the cap to increase bid prices, stating, “Tightening the cap and forcing extra emission reductions in RGGI states would strengthen the case for the program to constitute implementation of the US federal Environmental Protection Agency’s New Source Performance Standard. In turn, this could provide an added incentive to state regulators to update the cap.

The PUC and DES will outline the report at a meeting of the Electric Utility Restructuring Oversight Committee this afternoon.

 House Speaker William O’Brien

 “At a time when the New Hampshire residents pay among the highest electric rates in the nation, the last thing we need is a state mandate that adds another $5.50 per year on the backs of our ratepayers.  Furthermore, the costs to our businesses are even higher and create a competitive disadvantage and make it harder to convince companies to grow or move here and create new jobs.  The RGGI auctions have been complete failures for the past year and a half, and now the RGGI consultants are looking to significantly tighten the cap to raise electric rates even further.  New Hampshire needs to abandon this useless income redistribution scheme immediately and put more money back in the pockets of the working families across the state.  It’s time for the take-from-the-many to give-to-the-politically-connected-few scheme that is RGGI to be lifted from the backs of New Hampshire electric ratepayers.”

House Majority Leader D.J. Bettencourt

“New Hampshire entered the RGGI program because we were told that a national cap-and-trade program was on its way.  Clearly, we were mislead by those who wanted to charge ratepayers to pay for their green pork barrell projects.  To date, our citizens have paid millions into the program so that the politically well-connected can get government bailouts for energy subsidies.  The fact that the entire program appears on the verge of collapse and those running it feel the need to massively overhaul the system to try to make it relevant again, at the expense of those paying the bills, shows why we need to get New Hampshire out of this program now.”


NH House Leaders Comment on DHHS’ Release of Managed Care Proposal

CONCORD – House Speaker William O’Brien (R-Mont Vernon) and House Majority Leader D.J. Bettencourt (R-Salem) today offered the following comments in response to the Department of Health and Human Services releasing a request for proposal to place the state’s Medicaid program into managed care.  DHHS today released the RFP on their website:

 House Speaker William O’Brien

 “We want to thank Commissioner Toumpas and his staff at DHHS for making this a comprehensive proposal to cover all of Medicaid.  Coordinated care means both better care for Medicaid recipients as well as a tremendous cost savings for the taxpayers of New Hampshire.  This is a major step forward for reforming the largest program in state government.”

“Obviously, there are many groups that have held monopoly or near-monopoly status in the Medicaid program for years who will oppose these common sense efforts to bring efficiency and higher quality care to the over 100,000 people who get care from this program, and I commend the Commissioner for standing up to these interests and following the legislative intent in the law we passed this year.  While we would have liked to see more definition if how they intend to cover the disabled and those in long-term care settings, it’s good to know that they plan to cover all of these services by the end of this budget.”

House Majority Leader D.J. Bettencourt

“This RFP is a victory for the taxpayers of New Hampshire while still providing better care for those who receive Medicaid.  We are glad to see that the bill that passed the House last week was able to clarify our position that we want all Medicaid services covered by managed care.  Now, the Department has to face the challenge of implementing the largest contracts in state history for this $1.4 billion program.  House Republicans will remain actively involved with the Department to make sure they meet their targets and do what’s best for the citizens and taxpayers of New Hampshire.”

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