House Republican Leadership Rejects SB 450

More Taxes, Bonding and Downshifting Cited as Reasons

Concord—Calling it a “further assault on the New Hampshire Advantage,” House Republican leaders today called upon all House members to oppose the Finance amendment to SB 450 when it comes to the floor of the House for a vote on Wednesday.

House Republican Leader Sherm Packard (Londonderry) cited $25M in additional taxes; the continued practice of bonding operating costs, which passes even more debt on to the next budget; and the downshifting of an additional $20M to New Hampshire municipalities and school districts as reasons for opposing the legislation.

“The party of ‘Yes we can’ has quickly turned into the party of ‘No we won’t,’” said Packard.

“Republicans brought forth an alternative budget last year that spent $200M less than Democrats--and they quickly rejected it.  This year we offered $77M in proposed cuts--and they rejected nearly all of them.  Their answer to the overspending that they are responsible for over the past four years is to increase taxes and downshift the problem to our cities and towns.  That is just plain irresponsible,” added Rep. Packard.

The vote of the House Finance Committee on SB 450 was Ought to Pass with amendment (OTP/A), 13-12, with a lone Democrat joining 11 Republicans in opposing the measure.  “I am very concerned about the number and magnitude of the tax and fee increases, especially their decision to allow cities and towns to pass their own rooms and meals tax. Unfortunately, the end result of SB 450 does not solve our budget deficit, leaving a continued mess,” said Senior Assistant Republican Leader Gene Chandler (Bartlett).  

Finance Democrats voted to borrow $65M to pay for the state’s operating expenses and refinanced an additional $40M of the debt service due in FY11.  While it may lower the payment for that one year, it will add nine years of bond payments and $6.7M in interest to our General Fund debt burden.  As a result of the “Lynch Philosophy” of bonding operating expenses, the next legislature is already looking at $45M of interest on bond payments alone.

“The people of this state have had enough.  Over the past four years under Democrat leadership our citizens have  been hit with more than 60 fee and tax increases, watched government spending increase by more than 20% while the rest of the country was cutting budgets on average by 2%, and had millions of dollars downshifted to their local communities,” said Packard.  “Republicans will continue to offer solutions to this economic crisis and it’s time that the party of ‘yes we can’ started listening.”

On Wednesday, Republicans will be offering several amendments to SB 450 to address the many concerns, not only of our caucus, but of the citizens of New Hampshire. “It is time that we got back to work crafting a responsible budget that is in the best interests of the citizens of New Hampshire,” concluded Rep. Packard.