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Entries in Gov Hassan (239)

Friday
Aug292014

NHGOP STATEMENT ON SCHOOL CHOICE COURT RULING 

Concord - New Hampshire Republican State Committee Chairman Jennifer Horn today released the following statement regarding the New Hampshire Supreme Court's ruling on school choice:

 

"We are pleased that the court's decision will allow this worthy program to continue to benefit New Hampshire children.

"Education choice is about parents being able to find the best possible educational opportunities for their children, regardless of family income. The School Choice Bill has leveled the playing field, offering even our poorest students the opportunity to access the educational environment that is best for them.

"Governor Hassan has waged an assault on school choice and demonstrated a callous disregard for the most vulnerable students in our community. It is obvious that Granite Staters are supportive of this critical program and it's time for the governor to stop her reckless and partisan attempts to destroy it." 

Wednesday
Aug272014

NHDP Asks Attorney General to Launch Immediate Investigation into Failed CEO Walt Havenstein’s Multiple Campaign Finance Violations 

Serious Violations Found in Havenstein’s August 20th Filing Come in the Wake of Havenstein’s Ongoing Maryland Tax Evasion Scandal 
 
Manchester, NH—The New Hampshire Democratic Party today requested that Attorney General Joseph Foster launch an immediate investigation into the multiple campaign finance violations committed by failed CEO Walt Havenstein and several of his major contributors. The serious violations found in Havenstein’s August 20th filing come in the wake of Havenstein’s ongoing Maryland tax evasion scandal, which is now in its 57th day. 
 
"Given failed CEO Walt Havenstein's history of doublespeak, tax evasion, and scandals, no one should be surprised by his hypocrisy when it comes to campaign finance," said New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair Raymond Buckley. "Havenstein's multiple violations of New Hampshire campaign finance law are just the latest example of his scandal-ridden failed leadership and lack of integrity. The only question now is: what will Havenstein say to try to avoid accountability this time?"
 
As detailed in the New Hampshire Democratic Party’s letter to the Attorney General, “the Havenstein campaign violated New Hampshire campaign finance law by accepting improper PAC contributions; by spending $24,000 on campaign activities prior to registering with the Secretary of State’s office; and providing inadequate contributor information contrary to New Hampshire campaign finance law disclosure requirements.”
 
“From pledging to repeal health coverage from 50,000 Granite Staters despite cashing in on contracts to implement thelaw as CEO, to his failure to stop a fraud scandal that cost taxpayers $500 million under his watch at SAIC, and now his multiple campaign finance violations, Havenstein has proved again and again that he can't be trusted to look out for the priorities of the people of New Hampshire," added Buckley.
 
The New Hampshire Democratic Party’s full letter to the Attorney General is included below or here:
 
August 26th, 2014
 
Dear Attorney General Foster:
 
            I write to bring to your attention three serious potential violations of New Hampshire campaign finance law by Republican gubernatorial candidate Walter Havenstein and several of his major contributors, and ask that you launch an immediate investigation.
 
            It appears, the Havenstein campaign violated New Hampshire campaign finance law by accepting improper PAC contributions; by spending $24,000 on campaign activities prior to registering with the Secretary of State’s office; and providing inadequate contributor information contrary to New Hampshire campaign finance law disclosure requirements.
 
            Specifically, the New Hampshire Democratic Party (NHDP) urges that the Attorney General’s Office find contributions by two, unregistered out-of-state Federal PACs to be in violation of RSA 664:4.The NHDP also requests that Mr. Havenstein’s campaign be ordered to comply with campaign finance disclosure requirements and for your office to find a violation on account of the strict prohibition on unregistered campaign spending, along with calling for an appropriate remedy to that violation.
 
            Mr. Havenstein’s campaign finance violations fall into three categories and each is summarized below:
 
1.     Acceptance of Contributions from Unregistered Out-of-State PACs.
 
                  Mr. Havenstein’s campaign report states that he has benefitted from unlawful contributions made by Rogers for Congress – a Federal PAC apparently belonging to a Michigan Congressman, and an entity called Fund for American Opportunity, a Federal leadership PAC affiliated with former Michigan U.S. Senator Spencer Abraham. See Attachment 1 – Havenstein for Governor Statement of Receipts and Expenditures dated August 20, 2014 at pages 5, 13.  Under New Hampshire law, both of these contributions by PACs that are not registered in New Hampshire are prohibited, and therefore the Attorney General should find these contributions in violation and issue a cease and desist order barring further unlawful contributions by these out-of-state PACs.
 
RSA 664:5 prohibits political committees from promoting candidates with expenditures and contributions unless they are registered with the Secretary of State under RSA 664:3, I.  “Political committee” is defined as any two persons who are working to influence elections and the law is not limited just to New Hampshire persons or PACs.  Out-of-state PACs must register if they are going to make contributions or expenditures here.  Neither Rogers for Congress nor the Fund for American Opportunity have registered as required. 
     
2.     Unlawfully spending $24,000 Before Registering a Political Committee.
 
                  Mr. Havenstein violated the campaign finance laws of New Hampshire when his campaign began to spend money without registering his political committee.  According to Mr. Havenstein’s report, the first installment of nearly $1.5 million of his own money which Mr. Havenstein has dumped into his campaign was made on March 1, 2014.  See, Attachment 1 at page 7.  Four days later, Mr. Havenstein’s campaign spent $24,000 for “strategic consulting.”   See, Attachment 1 – Expenditures at page 1.  According to the Havenstein for Governor registration at the New Hampshire Secretary of State’s Office, Mr. Havenstein’s political committee was not registered until April, almost a month after his campaign began spending tens of thousands of dollars on political activities in violation of the law.  
 
            Under RSA 664:3, political committees such as Mr. Havenstein’s “shall register with the secretary of state not later than 24 hours after receiving any contribution in excess of $500 or before making any expenditure in excess of $500, but in no event later than 14 days after formation of the committee.”  While a contribution under New Hampshire law does not include spending a candidate’s personal wealth, political committees must register once they start expending any funds to influence an election — no matter the source of those funds.
 
            The voters of New Hampshire have a right to know who is spending money to get elected to public office and when.  Registration within 24 hours of spending is required so voters know almost immediately when a candidate begins to spend tens of thousands of dollars on a race. Mr. Havenstein’s covert campaign spending violates New Hampshire law.
 
3.     Repeated Failure to Document Required Information on Campaign Contributors in Violation of New Hampshire’s Campaign Finance Disclosure Law.
 
            Mr. Havenstein has violated New Hampshire campaign finance law by not disclosing the occupations or employers of dozens of his contributors or any information at all about the employment location of contributors who have made contributions of $100 or more.  See, Exhibit 1.  RSA 664:6 requires political committees to “file with the secretary of state an itemized statement, signed by its chairman and treasurer showing each of its receipts exceeding $25 with the full name and home post office address of the contributor in alphabetical order and the amount of the contribution, the date it was received, and the aggregate total for each election for each contributor of over $100.” For contributors who give more than $100, New Hampshire law also requires:
 
      Any listing which exceeds an individual's aggregate total of $100 for each election             shall be accompanied by the contributor's occupation including official job title, the           name of the contributor's employer, and the city or town of the contributor's                       principal place of business, if any.
 
            In the first five pages of his report alone, Mr. Havenstein fails to report employers or occupations and in most instances, both, of 45 contributions out of 135 that exceed the 100 dollar threshold for the more detailed reporting. This is just over a third. The numerous omissions go on for many pages.  Mr. Havenstein should be ordered to immediately resubmit his report in compliance with New Hampshire law.
 
            While admittedly even campaigns exercising due diligence will not be able to obtain on a timely basis the required disclosure information by the date of filing, the sheer scope of the Havenstein campaign’s omissions is indicative of massive neglect in following up with contributors and complying with the letter of the law.  The disclosure requirements are not empty formalities. The requirements are intended to insure transparency by providing information on where contributors work and what they do. The statute requires specificity for a reason.  Mr. Havenstein has shirked the disclosure requirements and he should be ordered to comply immediately so voters have a better picture of just who is funding Mr. Havenstein’s campaign.
 
            The NHDP looks forward to your investigation and rulings. 

Sincerely,
 
 
Raymond Buckley
 
Chair, New Hampshire Democratic Party
 
 
 
CC: Havenstein for Governor
Tuesday
Aug262014

NH Senate Republicans - ICYMI: Forrester pens column on spending transparency 

The New Hampshire Senate

Republican Majority Office

 

Seacoast Online Logo.jpg

The public has a right to know how much money state government spends

 

August 24, 2014

 

By Sen. Jeanie Forrester

 

One of the quirks of New Hampshire’s budget process is that we start writing next year’s budget before we elect the Governor and Legislators who will approve it. State departments are already crafting their spending requests for Fiscal Years 2016 and 2017. Unfortunately, they are doing so in the dark, without a clear picture of how the current budget is shaping up.

 

Fiscal Year 2014 ended on June 30th. We knew within a few days that state revenues came in right on target. In fact, the updated revenue figures released earlier this month show that General and Education Trust Fund revenues came in just $3.1 million over the conservative revenue estimates that Senate Republicans insisted on during the 2013 budget debate. That’s 0.1% over the $2.17 billion dollar forecast. Some taxes brought in more than we planned, and some dipped below our estimates, but the overall revenue plan hit the center of the bullseye last year.

 

That doesn’t guarantee that revenues will be as accurate this year, which runs through June 30, 2015. Republicans and Democrats in the House and Senate will all keep an eye on revenues throughout the year, aided by the Monthly Revenue Forecast, published the first week of every month by the New Hampshire Department of Administrative Services.

 

Unfortunately, we lack this important transparency on the spending side of the New Hampshire budget. The data is there, but Governor Hassan has so far refused to share it with the public. Governor Hassan has been warning since May that state departments might exceed the FY14 spending levels authorized in the current budget, and has reinstated a spending freeze on out-of-state travel, equipment purchases, and filling vacant state positions that expired last July.

 

But she has not shared the basis for this concern, or shared with the Legislature whether any state departments overspent their budgets last year. Since the close of FY14, Senate Republicans have been asking to examine the state’s spending records. We’ve formally requested Governor Hassan to provide a department by department update on FY14 spending to the Legislative Fiscal Committee, and she has refused. If we’re going to have the bipartisan cooperation that the Governor claims to value so highly, we all need to have up to date information.

 

New Hampshire law requires spending reports similar to the revenue reports we read each month.

 

RSA 9:11 Monthly Reports “Once each month the director, division of accounting services shall make a report to each state agency showing in detail the total amount expended during the previous month and the accumulated amount expended to date from July 1. The report shall also show the total encumbrances outstanding and the balance available for the remainder of the fiscal year.”

 

State law requires the Governor to know exactly how much each department spends every month. And it authorizes the Governor to reduce expenditures in any department in danger of going over budget.

We simply want to see the same information the Governor has. She keeps hinting that we’re going to have big budget problems, and insists there’s a problem with revenues. Well, we can see the revenues every month, and we know that’s not the problem.

 

But what about spending? Did any state agencies exceed their budget expenditures last year? Are any in danger of going over budget this year? The Governor insists that everything is fine. She could prove that very easily, and back up her claims of bipartisan problem solving, simply by sharing the monthly spending reports sent out to every state agency.

 

Passing a balanced budget is important but it’s only the beginning of a long process. Monitoring revenues to make sure we meet our estimates is important too. However the most important part of maintaining a balanced budget is managing department spending. Doing that in a transparent manner helps build trust that the government is being efficient with our tax dollars. Doing that in the dark – or worse, not managing spending and keeping the public in the dark – leads to suspicion, confusion, and potentially to budget deficits.

 

Sen. Jeanie Forrester (R-Meredith) is Chair of the Senate Finance Committee.

Friday
Aug222014

NH Senate Republicans - Does Governor Hassan want to tax the Internet? 

The New Hampshire Senate

Republican Majority Office

Concord, NH – Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley responded today to Governor Hassan’s claim that reductions in business taxes implemented in the current budget are “having a negative impact on the State Budget”, by asking the Governor if she wants to tax the Internet. The Legislature eliminated the Communications Services Tax on Internet Access. Bradley asked if Governor Hassan would repeal that bipartisan tax reform so that the Communications Services Tax would apply again to Internet Access.

“Like all of the recent reforms to New Hampshire’s business tax code, exempting Internet access from the Communications Services Tax passed with overwhelming bipartisan support, and it was included in the budget which Governor Hassan praised last year,” Bradley said. “If Governor Hassan really thinks that these tax reforms are causing problems, she has a duty to tell us specifically which ones she wants to repeal.”

Congress imposed a moratorium on Internet access taxes in 1998. Several years ago, the New Hampshire Department of Revenue Administration began applying the 1990 Communications Services Tax to Internet access without Legislative approval. Bipartisan majorities in the House and Senate stepped in to correct this bureaucratic overreach with HB 1418, by clarifying that Internet access was not taxable. In 2012, HB 1418 passed the Senate 23-0 and the House 244-46.

“These tax reforms such as blocking an Internet Access Tax were passed with bipartisan support to spur job creation. New Hampshire has performed poorly in economic growth compared to other states which is why the Legislature led on this issue. Does NH really want to reverse those job growth initiatives when our economy is growing by less than 1% annually?” Bradley concluded.

Rather than blaming job growth measures for potential funding budget shortfalls, Governor Hassan would be better served by providing an update on each departments spending levels for the fiscal year that concluded in July as well as projections on how large the budget deficit in the current fiscal year is likely to be. If indeed there is a $100 deficit looming as some predict, the sooner that information is provided to the Legislature and the public, will make addressing the deficit less painful.

Thursday
Aug212014

NH Deputy House Republican Leader Comments on Governor's Suggestion to Raise Business Taxes, Build a Casino

CONCORD - Today Deputy House Republican Leader and member of the House Ways & Means Committee, David Hess (R-Hooksett), offered the following comments relative to Governor Hassan’s claim that business tax reforms passed during the previous legislative term, “are having a negative impact on the state's budget.”

 

Deputy House Republican Leader David Hess (R-Hooksett)

 

“Not even the Department of Revenue Administration is ready to attribute any change in business tax or interest and dividends tax revenue to any one or particular set of causes at this time. During several meetings in the month of August, DRA officials said it is currently impossible to tell if any prior legislative changes will have any effect on our overall fiscal balance.”


“The Governor has a solution in search of a problem. Her solution is to potentially make our business tax climate less favorable than it already is, or rely on revenue from a non-existent casino when a casino is not something we could even realistically propose for this budget cycle. This is not how to encourage long term economic growth, or responsibly address what experts suggest may be a temporary revenue anomaly.”

"What we can address immediately is state spending. Until we have an more accurate picture of how our state agencies are managing the resources we've allocated to them, I think hitting the panic button on revenue is premature."