Manchester, NH – The Ovide for Governor campaign today responded to a half-dozen false or misleading statements made by liberal Maggie Hassan in Wednesday's BIA/NHPR debate.
HASSAN MYTH #1: During the debate, Senator Hassan said under her leadership the legislature cut general fund spending for the first time in decades.
FACT: What she fails to mention is as under her leadership, numerous budget gimmicks moved over $200 million in state spending out of the general fund and paid for it through either bonding, as was the case with school building aid, or by simply separating entities from the budget, as was done with the Liquor Commission.
To claim she reduced general fund spending would be like saying a family reduced their household budget by paying for groceries on a credit card and no longer making a car payment.
Moreover, looking at total spending, in FY06 - FY07 when Republicans were last in charge of the legislature, the total budget was $9,309,463,518. By the time the FY10-11 budget passed, the second under Sen. Hassan’s leadership, it grew to $11,524,150,001. That is a 24% increase and those numbers don't lie.
HASSAN MYTH #2: During the debate, Senator Hassan said, “I haven’t proposed raising taxes.”
FACT: In this weekend’s Portsmouth Herald, when discussing New Hampshire’s funding priorities, Hassan said, "There were a lot of back-of-the-budget tax cuts that the Republicans put into this last budget that we're going to have to review and look at. When you look at some of the back-of-the-budget tax cuts and other tax cuts the Republicans made the last two years, I think there are some things that most taxpayers of New Hampshire would agree that we could restore."
Moreover, during the course of the debate Senator Hassan said she would support increasing the cigarette tax and refused to rule out increasing tolls or hiking the gas tax, saying they were ”possibly” on the table.
HASSAN MYTH #3: During the debate, in an attempt to defend her vote in support of the LLC small business income tax, Senator Hassan said the tax was, “Designed with the support of the BIA.”
FACT: Soon after the debate, the New Hampshire Business and Industry Association of NH (“BIA”) set the record straight in a statement saying, "The BIA did not support nor play any role in designing the so-called "LLC Tax," as was stated in today's candidate forum by gubernatorial candidate Maggie Hassan. BIA strongly criticized the tax itself and the process of including a major tax policy change into the state budget without proper input from and vetting by those the tax would directly impact."
HASSAN MYTH #4: During the debate, Senator Hassan attempted to blame the Hepatitis C outbreak at Exeter Hospital on recent budget cuts, a claim no health professional or hospital official has made to date.
FACT: As Ovide responded during the debate, “It is absolutely irresponsible for you, as a health care lawyer, to connect the dots like you did. … This is a serious health issue facing our state and to suggest to any extent that the response of HHS was a function of underfunding or anything else is irresponsible, it’s a classic politicizing of a significant issue. Leadership requires discipline, focus, and truth. As far as I'm concerned, the jury is still out as to what happen here, but the response by HHS, there's no suggestion that it was flat footed or late in anyway because it was underfunded, and that is a reckless statement to make.”
HASSAN MYTH #5: During the debate, Senator Hassan blamed overcrowding in Manchester schools on a school choice law that has not gone into effect, saying, “Ovide’s voucher plan…is diverting millions of dollars from our public education system while Manchester has as many as 40 kids in a classroom.”
FACT: SB372 clearly states, “The first program year of the education tax credit pursuant to RSA 77-G as inserted by section 4 of this act shall begin on January 1, 2013.” Meaning the current overcrowding in Manchester schools is unfortunately due to the status quo that Senator Hassan continues to support, as opposed to Ovide’s vision for education choice that will give students and parents the opportunity to attend the schools that best suit their needs, not the one they are simply assigned to by zip code.
HASSAN MYTH #6: During the debate, Senator Hassan said, “Ovide signed a pledge this week for Cornerstone Research Group…part of that pledge also says he will work to completely deregulate private health insurance in New Hampshire.”
FACT: Weeks ago, Ovide signed the five point “Cornerstone Families First Pledge” which calls for, among other things, policy makers to “enact free market economic policies that empower New Hampshire families.” Nowhere does the pledge call for a complete deregulation of the health care system as Sen. Hassan claimed in this morning’s debate.
More recently, Cornerstone released a legislative policy agenda for the upcoming session. Ovide was not consulted on the items to be included nor did he “sign on” to the finalized document.