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Entries in Gov Hassan (264)

Wednesday
Oct082014

NHGOP FILES RIGHT TO KNOW REQUEST REGARDING HASSAN'S KNOWLEDGE OF NH UTILITY CRISIS 

Concord - The New Hampshire Republican State Committee sent the following Right to Know request to Governor Maggie Hassan today regarding her potential knowledge about the electric utility crisis facing New Hampshire this winter.

 

The Honorable Maggie Hassan

Governor of New Hampshire

State House

107 North Main Street

Concord, New Hampshire 03301

 

Dear Governor Hassan,

 

This is a request under the New Hampshire Right To Know Law (RSA 91-A.)

 

I formally request that you provide me with all records containing any and all communication between your office, Office of Energy and Planning and the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission (PUC) regarding the approved winter rate hikes requested by Liberty Utilities, Unitil Corporation and the New Hampshire Electric Co-Op. This includes any written or electronic communications from you and your staff and New Hampshire Public Utilities Commissioners Ignatius, Scott and Honigberg, their staff and their legal counsel.

 

In the past, you have asserted that New Hampshire's Right to Know Law does not apply to you as governor. Our attorneys can find no such exemption in the law. Should you decline to provide any requested communications, please provide the specific provision under RSA 91-A that exempts such public records from the Right to Know Law.

 

According to the New Hampshire Union Leader, the New Hampshire PUC "approved a 99 percent winter rate hike requested by Liberty Utilities." Further, the New Hampshire Electric Co-op has stated that "its power rates will rise 29 percent, and Unitil [Corporation] says it will go up 84 percent."

 

News media outlets across New England have reported on the serious hardship to be faced by New Hampshire residents in the coming winter season.  Already, the PUC has received numerous complaints and requests for assistance, according to PUC Consumer Affairs Division Director Amanda Noonan. In a recentarticle by the Concord Monitor, Noonan said, "People are concerned about how they are going to manage this and whether they have any options.  It's a huge increase for them." In addition, the PUC expects that "higher electric rates will take a toll on the state's low income residents," according to Shannon Nolin, who oversees the Community Action Agency's Electric Assistance Program.

 

New Hampshire communities and businesses are bracing themselves for the coming energy crisis. For example, the Concord YMCA anticipates that it will have to pay 50 percent more for electricity this winter, forcing this non-profit organization to seek new revenue streams in order to maintain programs vital to the community,according to the Concord Monitor.

 

Further, there are growing fears that New Hampshire and all of New England could face rolling blackouts this winter,according to ISO New England. It goes without saying that this is an unthinkable disaster, and many lives will be in very serious danger should the predicted blackouts occur.

 

It's abundantly clear that New Hampshire is on the brink of an across the board energy crisis this winter. Working class families, already struggling to make ends meet as a result of the gas tax hike you signed into law earlier this year, will be forced to make a choice between safely heating their homes and putting food on their table. This is a very perilous choice for New Hampshire families to make, considering that the Farmer's Almanacpredicts this winter to be "another article blast with above-normal snowfall."

 

To date, you have yet to make public statements regarding the forthcoming utility cost crisis this winter. At the annual New Hampshire energy summit, you were given the opportunity to prepare Granite State residents for the upcoming energy crisis, and you chose to ignore the problem, saying that "it's helpful to think of energy efficiency as a source of energy itself." These comments do nothing to address the crisis faced by New Hampshire families and businesses, and serve as an incredible insult to Granite Staters who will be in danger during the upcoming winter season.

 

As such, I respectfully submit that you release all communications regarding the electricity rate hikes approved by the PUC, and any rate hikes that are pending before the PUC and have yet to become public domain. Granite State residents have the right to know whether you were aware of the forthcoming energy crisis, did nothing about it and deflected questions regarding it, or if you were simply asleep at the wheel on this issue. Either way, New Hampshire residents deserve better than a governor who will leave them out in the cold.

 

Sincerely,

 

Jennifer Horn

Chairman, New Hampshire Republican State Committee

Wednesday
Oct082014

NH Senate Republicans - Morse urges Governor to share $70 million in budget cuts 

The New Hampshire Senate

Republican Majority Office

Calls for swift action to address growing spending problem

 

Concord, NH – Senator President Chuck Morse (R-Salem) today issued the following statement in response to increasing evidence that New Hampshire is in the midst of a growing budget problem:

 

"Governor Hassan's actions last week demonstrate that she has failed to keep spending within current budget limits, resulting in a $22 million shortfall in FY14. The Department of Health and Human Services reports a $42 million shortfall in FY15, combined with the $30 million in cuts that the Governor is seeking from other departments. That would require at least a 4% across the board cut to all departments.

 

"We can't kick those costs into the next budget. Delaying action will only force deeper and more painful cuts. I urge Governor Hassan to share her proposals to save $70 million by the end of this month."

Tuesday
Oct072014

NHDP - ICYMI: Despite Baseless Budget Attacks Against Governor Hassan, State Senate Republicans Spent “Like There Was No Tomorrow” On Own Budget 

NH1 News: Despite Baseless Budget Attacks Against Governor Hassan, State Senate Republicans Spent “Like There Was No Tomorrow” When it Came to Their Own Budget


Key Point:Despite months of baseless attacks against Governor Hassan's management of state expenditures that were proven false last week, “a NH1 News investigation has revealed when it came to returning money to the Treasury, it was the State Senate that seemed to spend like there was no tomorrow.”

When asked why the Senate Republicans had massively overspent their budget, Senate President Chuck Morse said, “I had a lot on my plate last year.”

Click here to see the full NH1 News segment here

See below for a transcription of the segment:


Senate Republicans say Governor Hassan's poor leadership and management led to the state needing to make significant spending cuts. But a NH1 News investigation has revealed when it came to returning money to the Treasury, it was the State Senate that seemed to spend like there was no tomorrow. 

Budgets are always brought into balance in Concord by getting all of government to return unspent, or lapsed, money to the Treasury. The target for the state government was 3.6% for the past year. Well, according to official documents, the Senate returned 1/10 of 1%, only $2700 to the Treasury. 

Governor Hassan's office returned 7.5% of the budget, or twice the target, and the House of Representatives returned 5% of spending. The Senate also spent nearly $15,000 on new or replaced furniture after Governor Hassan had asked the Legislature to freeze hiring, equipment purchases and out-of-state state travel.

“Then when you see such a very minuscule number, the attack on the Governor by these Republican State Senators has shown to be hollow,”said New Hampshire Democratic Party Chairman Raymond Buckley. ”These Senators don't know how to manage their own budget.”

Senate President Chuck Morse said this budget required the legislature to cut an additional $1 million. He said the Senate wound up spending $300,000 less than it could have spent, and $165,000 more than last year. “I had a lot on my plate last year,” Morse said.

This is his first year as Senate Leader, and he dealt with Medicaid Expansion and settling two expensive lawsuits against the state. Morse said Senate spending was not a problem, and warned the state has to close up to an $80 million hole in the next budget. As for furniture, Morse said most of what was bought did not arrive in the Senate offices until this budget year.

With a $2.5 million Senate budget out of a $5 billion state budget, this a drop in the bucket. But as you can see here, this is a pretty good talking point for Governor Maggie Hassan and the Democrats heading out to the election.

 

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Friday
Oct032014

NH Senate Republicans - Governor Hassan finally admits NH's spending problem as she calls for $30 to $70 million in cuts 

The New Hampshire Senate

Republican Majority Office

Concord, NH – Senate Finance Chair Jeanie Forrester (R-Meredith) today applauded Governor Maggie Hassan for finally admitting and attempting to address New Hampshire's mounting spending problem, as Hassan yesterday directed state agencies to find $30 million in cuts in addition to a separate $40 million hole at the Department of Health and Human Services.

 

"I'm pleased that the Governor has finally admitted that New Hampshire is facing a severe spending problem in the FY15 budget," Forrester said. "On the heels of her $22 million shortfall in the FY14 budget, and mounting problems at HHS, addressing this spending problem is long overdue."

 

The FY14 budget signed into law by Hassan required her to deliver a $26.7 million surplus, but this week's report showed only $4.2 million in FY14 surplus. Hassan is also counting on $19.5 million in surplus funds from the FY13 Republican budget to prop up last year's spending.

 

The Department of Health and Human Services recently told the Legislative Fiscal Committee that it faces $40 million in overspending in the current year. Hassan has just nine months left in the fiscal year to get the budget back into balance.

 

"Because the Governor failed to meet her numbers last year, we're already starting this year in the hole. Because the Governor has already delayed action for three months, the coming cuts will be more severe than they had to be," Forrester continued. "We look forward to reviewing in detail the Governor's recommendations for saving $40 million at HHS and $30 million across other executive departments. The Governor needs to be transparent and share state spending data with the Legislature and the public."

Thursday
Oct022014

NH Senate Republicans - Governor Hassan's Budget Shortfall Grows 

The New Hampshire Senate

Republican Majority Office

Senate Leader says State has $22 Million Budget Shortfall not Budget Surplus

 

Concord, NH – Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley (R-Wolfeboro) issued the following statement today in regards to Governor Maggie Hassan’s recently released statement on the progress of meeting 2014 budget numbers:

 

“The budget law the Governor signed requires the state to have a $26.7 million surplus. The Governor reported yesterday that the state had a $19.5 million budget surplus, $7.2 million short of the requirement. However, the shortfall number is actually worse because the Governor is also including $15.3 million from the FY13 Republican surplus.

 

'The Governor is presenting a false picture to New Hampshire taxpayers on the state’s finances. We have a $22 million dollar shortfall that the Legislature will have to deal with, and it could be worse since we haven’t seen the spending numbers for the first quarter of FY15.

 

“The problem with that lack of transparency is that the problems only grow larger and the budget cuts become more difficult. We hope that the Governor will be more straightforward about the budget so that taxpayers will know exactly the problems facing the state when the next Legislature convenes in January.”

 

 

BACKGROUND:

House Bill 1 and House Bill 2 (2013) require the Governor to achieve a $26.7 million surplus in fiscal year 2014 to roll over as the starting point for fiscal year 2015. Her surplus of $19.5 million actually creates a shortfall of $7.2 million in fiscal year 2015.

 

The Republican led legislature passed a previous budget (FY12-13) that generated a $15.3 million surplus. Despite efforts (SB 415, 2014) to place the surplus into the Rainy Day Fund immediately to shore up the State’s credit rating, the Democratic House killed this important legislation.

 

$7.2 million + $15.3 million Republican surplus = $22.5 million shortfall for FY2015