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Entries in Right-To-Work (4)

Sunday
Jun032012

Cory Lewandowski - End of Session: Conservative Accomplishments!

In 2010, New Hampshire voters sent a clear message.  Concord was spending too much money and it was time for a change. Voters wanted lower taxes, less regulation and smaller government. With the two-year legislative session ending and all the members of the New Hampshire House and Senate up for reelection this fall, it’s an appropriate time to grade how well the legislators responded and adhered to that message.

While this biennial session was marked by several major accomplishments; there were also missed opportunities to increase economic prosperity for New Hampshire businesses and residents.

First, the budget passed in 2011 reduced spending by more than $1.2 billion and was 11% smaller than the previous budget. All without raising any taxes or fees. This is a significant step toward making government smaller and more accountable to the people it represents.

This legislature also passed a first in the nation tobacco tax reduction to help retailers in border communities remain competitive with other states, made comprehensive changes to the state retirement system and passed a law allowing local governments to enforce tax and spending caps within their communities.

In a victory for all New Hampshire private property owners, legislation prohibiting for profit companies from using eminent domain to take private land or property rights from landowners passed.    

The House and Senate reached agreements on two proposed constitutional amendments; CACR 6 and CACR 13. CACR 6, known as super-majority legislation, is a proposed constitutional amendment that would require a 3/5th majority vote of the legislature to approve any new taxes or fees while CACR 13 would amend the state constitution so that state personal income taxes are prohibited. Both will now likely head to the voters for their consideration in November.

Unfortunately, other pieces of legislation aimed at reducing taxes and regulation are unlikely to become law. 

Republicans, with super-majorities in both the House and Senate, should have been able to render a Democrat Governor useless. However, in-fighting amongst Republicans led to the demise of important legislative priorities.

For example, the House and Senate passed Right-to-Work legislation in 2011 that would have increased freedom for New Hampshire workers and attracted more large businesses to the state.  Unfortunately, the House was unable to override Governor Lynch’s veto in November. This year the House passed Right-to-Work legislation again before the Senate chose to kill the bill under threat of another veto from Governor Lynch.

The Senate also failed to pursue legislation that would have moved health care decisions back to the state by allowing New Hampshire to join with other states and form a healthcare compact. Additionally, the Senate killed a reform bill designed to make the antiquated Bureau of Tax and Land Appeals (BTLA) more accountable to state taxpayers and save over $1 Million. 

Lastly, the House consistently supported removing NH from the failed cap-and-trade scheme known as RGGI.  Removing NH from RGGI would have provided ratepayers relief in their monthly electricity bills. However, the Senate made removal from this program contingent on what MASSACHUSETTS does, effectively killing the bill. I thought this was the “Live Free or Die state.”

This summer, AFP Foundation will release its annual score card detailing how your legislators voted on issues impacting economic prosperity. The score card will be available online at americansforprosperity.org/new-hampshire. Further, our Honorary Chairman, Tom Thomson, will distribute his anti-tax pledge to candidates.  This information will provide voters an unbiased assessment of the true successes and failures in Concord over the last two years.

As the House and Senate complete their work for the session, the only grade that matters is the one that voters provide. 

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Corey R. Lewandowski is the State Director of Americans for Prosperity in New Hampshire and a Windham resident.    

Friday
May202011

Right to Work means more, well-paying jobs for New Hampshire 

By Andrew Hemingway, chairman, Republican Liberty Caucus of New Hampshire

When I heard a loud, angry group of firefighters interrupting the business of the Legislature by shouting in unison from the State House gallery, “We protect your families!,” I wondered as a citizen whether to take that as a threat.

I wonder whether it was lost on those firefighters that they were hired and they agreed to protect all families in their districts, regardless of whether that person supports or opposes the Right to Work legislation, regardless of whether someone supports or opposes their regular salary and benefit increases and regardless of whether someone says “thank you” or something quite the contrary for their services.

I also wonder if there are any firefighters out there who wish they could disassociate themselves from the union that supports such raucous behavior with their money, particularly since they must pay their union dues in New Hampshire whether they like it or not. I wonder if any of these firefighters would use the Right to Work legislation to get the job they love without being held hostage by the control and involuntary fees of a third party?

I’ve spoken with teachers who wish they could opt-out of their union, which forces them to pay money toward efforts to keep their pay level with that of their less capable colleagues. Good teachers and their students are harmed by such union rules that prop up poorly performing instructors, but good teachers and students are not allowed to do anything about it. They get to pay for the privilege to be held back.

The private sector unions are not immune from such scrutiny. The autoworkers, for instance, ran General Motors into the ground with their unsustainable demands, which could have cost everyone at the company their jobs, even those who didn’t want to join the union and were happy with a more reasonable arrangement with their employer. Were GM in a Right to Work state, the company could have hired non-union employees willing and able to work for an agreed upon wage and benefit package, and the bailout never would have been necessary.

The bottom line is this: Right to Work legislation allows people to work for the company of their choice according to terms they are willing to accept without being forced by a private, third-party entity to pay for unwanted protection and to follow unsustainable or counterproductive rules.

Not everyone thinks that the unions are do-gooders with everyone’s interest in mind. And even if these folks who chose not to join a union are wrong, they still have the right in a free society to associate or to not associate with whatever organization they choose without interference. Since New Hampshire is not yet a Right to Work state, Granite Staters are being denied that right.

Opponents to the pending Right to Work legislation have said that the law would bring lower wages and poor job conditions, but a quick look at the facts show that these are scare tactics not much different than the one firefighters were using when they were shouting from the State House gallery.

In fact, the truth is that Republicans who do not vote for Right to Work legislation will be at great risk of violating their promise to voters to stimulate jobs and promote economic opportunity. The Right to Work law would unquestionably attract jobs to New Hampshire, which would undeniably lead to economic growth and opportunity. It does everywhere else.

It took just six months for the State of Oklahoma to move from 40th in job creation to first in the nation after the Sooner State passed Right to Work. That’s just one example. In general, the 22 right-to-work states are more prosperous than union-shop states; they have higher gross state product growth (55 percent verses 41 percent), higher personal income growth (53 percent verses 41 percent) and higher population growth (12 percent verses 6 percent).

With the stats and logic on the side of Right to Work, it’s now up to the Republican Party to come together and prove to voters they can fulfill their promises to create jobs and stimulate the economy. This legislation will truly be the test for the party.

Friday
May132011

Republicans must end the ‘government as usual’ model

By Andrew Hemingway, chairman, Republican Liberty Caucus of New Hampshire

While New Hampshire’s unemployment numbers of 5.2 percent continue to impress by undercutting the national average of 9 percent, it’s important to take a step back from these numbers and consider what the often-quoted comparison doesn’t say.

The state’s unemployment statistics, however low, do not account for people who work part-time and would prefer a more comfortable full-time job. They don’t account for those who have given up looking for a job, because good jobs are too hard to find. They don’t account for the fact that our schools continue to fail us by graduating people unprepared for higher-end jobs, despite the fact that we give these government institutions a greater portion of our shrinking income year after year. They also don’t account for the falling dollar and the resulting increase in prices.

New Hampshire lawmakers certainly cannot address every economic problem, because some are larger than the state, but they can address many of them by developing the political will to rein-in the power brokers in Concord. Unfortunately, many of the Republicans sent to Concord to remove the rules and regulations that stymie jobs and the economy are falling into a government-as-usual mindset.

Rather than listen to the voice of reason and the loud call of the voters who sent Republicans to create a smaller, affordable government that leaves them alone, some lawmakers seem to be listening to the bureaucrats, lobbyists and special interest groups who only have their own interest at heart. “Regulate us” is a cry often heard by those who seek to get rid of the competition. Do Republicans really want to join their Democratic counterparts in support of such job-killing cronyism? It baffles me how politicians are so quick to listen to the people who are on the take and so quick to ignore the people who are having the fruit of their labor taken from them against their will.

Take the bill that repeals the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, for instance. This multi-state program may provide money to some companies for renewable energy projects, but that money is coming from energy producers, manufacturing firms and ratepayers, who are now facing a higher cost of doing business and a higher cost of living as a result. And wouldn’t companies that think renewable energy projects are a good idea pay for such projects on their own? Why should a multi-state bureaucracy pick the winners and losers? That drives up the cost for everyone.

The labor union special interest group has managed to use the law over time to solidify a power position over voters and companies (both employers in this state). A few common-sense efforts to rein-in the unions’ unique power position have had far too much trouble from some. These detractors should note that companies relocate to Right to Work states because they know they can hire workers there who will not force them into contracts they can’t afford. If politicians really cared about those jobs they promised, they would turn down the union money that was taken from workers against their will and support the right to work without interference from a third party. We need those jobs!

Whether Republicans ultimately garner the political will to change the way Concord works for the better really comes down to how they view government. If Republicans do what they said they would and create a limited government that respects free markets, their super majority might mean something come reelection time. If Republicans continue to see government as a mediator in the economy, we will all be losers in November 2012.

Monday
Feb142011

AMERICAN AS APPLE PIE

Like apple pie, Americans like unions, and union workers love their Country. But, HB-474, pitched as a right-to-work bill, will inhibit workers. Proponents tout that unions lack value, citing declining memberships, e.g., the private sector’s 7% unionization rate and liberty of one over others. The battle against public sector workers, however, proves unions’ value.They performed so well that changed law now weakens union contracts (NH pension reform, evergreen clause, etc.). RTW laws go further to weaken both public and private workers. Law, plus 60 years of judicial activism, caused low private sector unionization rates, and workers’ liberty to contract should trump.

When law allows, unions perform well. That’s their job! Public sector membership is higher, as state law governs; not so for private workers. Federal law governs them and inhibits (though not prohibits) their organizing. Where states allow public unions, workers join.

Here’s proof. In Massachusetts, over 60% of public sector workers enjoy unionization; in NH over 50%; NY 70% unionized. Further proof? Laws allowing unions elsewhere: Sweden 82% unionized; Denmark 76%; Ireland 45%; Canada, England, Germany all over 30%, down from 50% -before businesses moved to China and India.

Our high was 33% (1945). When a 1935 law legalized unions, workers eagerly joined. Shocked, employers pushed the Taft-Hartley law (1947); a Republican Congress overrode Truman’s veto. The law worked; it stopped increased membership rates cold. Next, a 1975 Connell Construction v Plumbers Supreme Court decision cut construction workers’ freedoms to contract and legalized antitrust suits against workers. Construction rates plummeted from 80% unionized to 14%. As law and judges inhibit unionization, the private sector is 93% union-free.

“Not so,” say some. “Unions saw their hey-day; workers choose not to join them,” they argue. OK! Repeal inhibitions to freedoms on whether to join unions, for starters -Taft-Hartley. “No,” say opponents, “Americans would join unions.”

After all, corporations join unions like the US Chamber of Commerce, the NH Business & Industries Association (BIA), and NH-Associated General Contractors –all employer unions with dues paying members. Corporate unions pay big money to keep politicians, judges, and law on their side.

Newspapers, TV stations, and radio shows crave advertising dollars to survive. In exchange, businesses get good press, including editorials and stories against “labor” unions. Their cash plants their seeds in the free marketplace of ideas (an expensive marketplace, by-the-way). Businesses lobby hard, too! Over 90% of registered lobbyists are business related, fewer than 10% worker related. Business unions perform well for their members. That’s their job!

Employer organizing pays off. Federal judges dismiss over 73% of employment cases to favor employers. Under NH’s whistleblower statute, between 2006-2009, workers filed 134 cases, yet lost all but eight -a 94% employer win rate.

Business lawyers claim they do a better job for their clients, but employers did a great job unionizing. Candidates backed by business now control both NH Chambers. That’s value!

Now, some businesses further seek to inhibit workers’ liberty to contract, not by persuasion or contract, but by law. Squeezed, workers can’t be pro-union and anti-business. Unions need many entrepreneurs. Don’t like one company or the union contract? Find another.

The Deep South, where RTW took root, bucked this concept that a Union, once formed, has the right to force the minority that wants out to find their own country. Lincoln, a Republican, refused to break the Union. Similarly, workers who don’t like unions may choose the remaining 93% of the workforce. They don’t, because they love union contracts, yet don’t want to pay the product’s price. That’s not American; it’s stealing. We can’t opt out of taxes, and we value freedom and unity.

Americans love the concept of unity. We boast “e pluribus unum” (from many one) on our Presidential Seal and dollar bills. Even our Founding Fathers argued but ultimately named us the UNITED States. Together, they avoided purist, unbridled corporatism and pure, left-wing paternalism. Between both extremes, they discovered ‘Americanism,’ i.e., free enterprise and people. When they founded this Nation, they rejected writing in our Constitution’s Preamble, ‘in order to form a more perfect economy or business or individual or government.’ They wrote, “in order to form a more perfect UNION….” Individuals excel best by unity, not RTW laws.

NH’s greatest son and orator, Daniel Webster, kept Liberty’s torch lit. He argued that, “Man is a special being, and if left to himself, in an isolated condition, would be one of the weakest creatures; but associated with his kind, he works wonders.” He warned of “delusion and folly” in believing you can separate and choose liberty over union; before the Civil War, he bellowed, “Liberty and Union; now and forever, one and inseparable!”

Rejecting left-wing collectivists and ultra-turbo capitalists relishing a right to work slaves, Mr Webster savored sweet Americanism, apples grown on NH’s family farms, and apple pie.

State Representative Pat Long is also Manchesters Ward 3 Alderman.

Attorney Mickey Long represents both labor and employer unions in NH & in MA where he currently resides