While the rankings show that New Hampshire remains in the top five states for overall child well-being, a comparison of the data shows that in 2012, Granite State children were worse off on a variety of measures of economic well-being than they were in 2011.
“The data released today shows, once again, how much disgraced former Speaker Bill O’Brien hurt New Hampshire children and families with his brand of slash-and-burn-politics, and his relentless push for painful and irresponsible budget cuts,” said New Hampshire Democratic Party Chairman Ray Buckley. “As O’Brien tries to reclaim the speakership, New Hampshire is still reeling from the damage he did to middle-class Granite Staters by repealing the state minimum wage, jeopardizing job growth, cutting millions of dollars from public education and childcare programs, and gutting at-risk youth initiatives like the Children in Need of Services program.”
“Governor Hassan has worked tirelessly since taking office to reverse failed Speaker O’Brien’s damage and put the Granite State back on the right track by working across the aisle to solve problems and get real results for New Hampshire's children and families," continued Chairman Buckley.
Since taking office, Governor Hassan has prioritized supporting critical initiatives to help New Hampshire children and families. Governor Hassan signed into law the Paycheck Fairness Act, expanded health care coverage for 50,000 New Hampshire children and families, restored the Children in Need of Services program and is working to increase the minimum wage.
Comparison of 2011 & 2012 Kids County Data Book Child Economic Well-Being: Based on data, New Hampshire dropped from 7th to 12th in child economic well-being between 2011 and 2012 [Kids Count Data Book, 2013, 2014].
Speaker O’Brien Repealed the State Minimum Wage in 2011: “Republicans overrode Democratic Gov. John Lynch's veto in June and stripped New Hampshire's minimum wage law from the books […] House Republicans also killed a Democratically sponsored bill that would have raised the wage. Democrats argued the 75 cent proposed hourly increase would put $30 more each week in the pockets of the state's 4,000 lowest-paid workers, money that would be spent boosting the economy.” [AP, January 28, 2013]
O’Brien 2011-2012 Budget Cut Child-Care Services: “The budget would cut $115 million from hospital reimbursements and would reduce funding for dozens of programs including domestic violence prevention, child-care subsidies, ServiceLink resource centers and community health centers.” [Concord Monitor, April 1, 2011]
Major Layoffs, Record Budget Cuts Due to O’Brien 2011-2012 Budget: “Hospitals lost more than $115 million and laid off more than 1,000 staffers. The state university system endured record budget cuts and saw its coffers trimmed by 45 percent. As a result, 200 employees in public higher education lost their jobs. The Department of Transportation faced a 13 percent cut and also cut its workforce. Other agencies facing cuts are New Hampshire Legal Assistance and the state’s Division of Family Assistance.” [NPR State Impact, December 30, 2011]
O’Brien 2011-2012 Budget Cut the Children in Need of Services Program: “ […] many programs were cut in the last budget cycle, including Children in Need of Services and aid to higher education.” (Manchester Union-Leader, February 6, 2013) [The CHINS program helps children with drug and behavioral problems, reduces incarceration, provides job placement assistance, and overall become productive members of society]
Failed Speaker O’Brien’s 2014 Comeback: While voted out in 2012, the former Speaker is staging a comeback to reclaim the speakership and doubling-down on his ultra-conservative agenda. On last week’s WMUR CloseUP when asked about his divisive profile, O’Brien responded unapologetically, “I stood up and said the things that needed to be said.” [WMUR CloseUP, July 20, 2014]