Concord, NH - Yesterday, the New Hampshire Republican Party issued a self-congratulating press release trying to spin their disastrous tenure over the past twelve months. In their jubilee, it appears our Tea Partying friends forgot to double check some of their dishonest claims. The fact check below should help correct any confusion.
Claim: Over the past year, Republican leadership has begun turning around the state's fiscal picture.
Fact: New Hampshire unemployment is rising under Republican control. Last July, the Department of Labor reported New Hampshire was outpacing nearly every other state with the second fastest job growth in the nation. Nearly 10,000 jobs were created during that time, sending the unemployment rate into decline for 16 consecutive months. [NH.gov] In a sharp contrast, the Republican budget has killed nearly 2,000 New Hampshire jobs, [Job Loss Chart] while the unemployment has increased multiple months in a row. [NH Unemployment Rate]
Claim: "Passed a fiscally responsible, balanced budget that did not increase taxes or fees, does not downshift onto local property taxpayers, and does not increase borrowing;"
Fact: The Republican Legislature's own Budget Office estimated the Republican budget cut aid to local communities by over 110 million dollars, down shifting those costs to local property taxpayers. [LBAO Chart]
Claim: "Did not increase taxes or fees, and even reduced or eliminated 12 taxes and fees, including the immensely unpopular car registration surcharge;"
Fact: House Republican Finance Chair Key Weyler was caught on camera admitting the Republican budget raised taxes on working families and hospitals. "Two of the largest pieces were to ask those successful hospitals that are among the 20 largest employers in the state to pay a little taxes. They don't pay any now; BET, BPT, or rooms and meals or business profit taxes, so we asked them to pay about 100 million. Then we asked the municipal employees, the state employees... we asked them to about another 2% that was about 80 million those two figures were about 200 million...." [Weyler on Video]
Claim: "Passed 43 laws that reduced regulations;"
Fact: A review by the Associated Press found, "after 10 months in power, the results are inconclusive despite Republican leaders' use of the bully pulpit to claim they have already made good on that promise[create jobs]." "Many of the new laws affect regulations for specific and sometimes small groups, such as eliminating an unenforced requirement for restaurants to shape and color the butter substitute oleomargarine to distinguish it from butter and margarine. Oleomargarine, butter and margarine are labeled according to their ingredients. Some have Democratic sponsors and many passed with bipartisan support with little opposition. One eliminates an unenforced provision on filing fees by political candidates." [Associated Press, 11/3/2011]
Claim: "Began reforming the state pension system to ensure that retirees will continue to get benefits without bankrupting taxpayers; and"
Fact: Republican gubernatorial candidate Ted Gatsas claims Republican leadership in the House and Senate lied to him about how much the pension system changes would cost local taxpayers. In a Union Leader article headlined "Pension reform bill creates state of confusion" Mayor Gatsas said he was told the state would still be contributing 25 percent of employer pension costs and announced he would be working with other New Hampshire mayors on a "concerted response." [Union Leader, 7/1/2011]
Claim: "Overhauled the state budget system to ensure that state agencies now submit budgets that make reductions, not just one to grow government."
Fact: House and Senate Republicans used "vindictive budgeting" to attack state agency heads. The Union Leader reported, "[Attorney General] Delaney told the House he would challenge it over a bill to force him to sue the federal government over health care reform. The House didn't like that too much, and now Delaney needs money. His budget got hit with a 17 percent cut. First, the panel chopped $3 million from the already lower spending Gov. John Lynch proposed and eliminated money for the state Consumer Protection Bureau." [Union Leader, 3/14/2011]
Even the Republican Senate Finance Chair described the negotiating process between the House and Senate as "holding the state of New Hampshire hostage." "I want to make it perfectly clear the Senate is totally offended by the actions of leadership in the House... to come into the last hour and want to change everything and basically hold the state of New Hampshire hostage." [Concord Monitor, 6/16/2011]