Hear newly elected Chair Mark Vincent speaking on NH Taxpayer Radio with the folks from Coalition of NH Taxpayers.
Archive for October, 2009
PRESS RELEASE – AMHERST, NH: At the October meeting of the Amherst Republicans,
a new slate of committee officers was elected by the members in attendance.
Read the Full Press Release Here
Republicans Respond to Democrats’ “Income Tax Summit” With a Session to “Stop the Spending”
With the future of the New Hampshire Advantage and our quality of life in the state at stake, State House Republicans today announced plans to hold a public forum to discuss ways to cut state spending and the positive impact any cuts would have on future state budgets.
“We have seen nearly a 25% increase in General Fund spending since Democrats took control of the State House three years ago,” said House Republican Leader, Rep. Sherman Packard (r-Londonderry). “But instead of trying to live within our means and looking for ways to cut spending, Democrats increased or created more than 40 taxes, downshifted millions to our cities and towns, and used $400M in one-time money to cover their spending spree. Now they are holding a summit under the guise of a ‘Revenue Structure Informational’ session when, in reality, their goal is to study and eventually pass an income tax.”
The “Stop the Spending” forum will be held on Tuesday, October 27 from 9:30 am until noon at the Grappone Conference Center in Concord. It will bring together a panel of experts to discuss ways that state government can cut spending and return fiscal sanity to the State House. Included in the group are Steve Norton, Executive Director of the NH Center for Public Policy Studies, whose mission is to raise new ideas and improve policy debates through quality information and analysis on issues shaping New Hampshire’s future.; former Health and Human Services Commissioner John Stephen; and Charlie Arlinghaus, president of the Josiah Bartlett Center for Public Policy, a non-partisan, independent think tank focused on state and local public policy issues that affect the quality of life for New Hampshire’s citizens
“The problem with the Democrats’ income tax summit is they are not getting to the root of the problem, which is spending. We should be sitting at the table discussing how we can hold the line on spending, not where we can raise taxes. Raising taxes during these difficult economic times is a horrible idea and would balance a bloated budget on the backs of the taxpayers,” stated Senate Minority Leader Peter Bragdon (R-Milford)
According to Rep. Norm Major, the Republican Policy Leader for the House Ways & Means committee, New Hampshire continues to lead the way in a number of categories both nationally and here in New England because of the quality of life that we enjoy. “The current tax structure is a diversified portfolio of taxes and fees—that does not include a broad based tax. As a result, when the economy goes into a downturn as we are currently experiencing, the New Hampshire does not witness such a large swing in our revenue stream, as do those states that rely heavily on broad based taxes,” said Major. “We simply don’t have a revenue problem, we have a spending problem and that’s what we should be looking at.”
The program will conclude with Rep. Neal Kurk (R-Weare) and former Speaker Doug Scamman (R-Stratham), both veterans of the House Finance committee, who will discuss the excessive spending in the last two budgets and the impact on the New Hampshire Advantage.
The forum will be open to the public and, unlike the Democrats’ “Income Tax Summit” being convened in Concord this week, the panel will take questions from the general public.
James E. Rivers
House Republican Office
107 North Main St.
Concord, NH 03301
A Little Good News, Some Mixed News, But Even More Bad News in Concord
by Jeb Bradley
October 16, 2009
The recent release of New Hampshire’s revenue receipts simultaneously offers glimmers of hope while raising even more concerns about the State Budget enacted in June.
First the good news: The “Rainy Day Fund” which is the State’s hedge against economic downturns ended the fiscal year with $56 million more of a cushion than anticipated. Governor Lynch froze new hiring, deferred equipment purchases, and curtailed out of state travel to produce these savings.
Despite the fact that Governor Lynch and Democratic Legislators approved an overall spending increase in 2007 of 11.17% and in 2009 of 10.48%, the Governor’s executive orders curbed the worst excesses of the Legislature’s spending blitz that has increased expenditures from $9.36 billion to $11.5 billion during that time.
This $56 million in the Rainy Day Fund will be a critical one-time buffer if the State loses its NH Supreme Court appeal of the JUA (Joint Underwriting Association) lawsuit. This lawsuit comes from a budget provision attempting to simply “take” $110 million from a fund designed to keep a lid on physician’s medical liability insurance costs. The State’s attempted money grab has already been ruled in violation of both the State and Federal Constitutions by the Superior Court.
The mixed news is that business tax revenues were only 4% lower than expectations. While it is preposterous to call any shortfall good news, in comparison to last year’s business tax receipts that were off by 25%, being 4% below expectations is a slim glimmer of hope. However, it’s also a warning that if the trend continues the State will face a nasty budget deficit.
Despite the good and the mixed news, NH is far from out of the budget woe woods as the bad news dwarfs the good. Other revenue sources are badly underperforming, despite many taxes being increased in the budget. Receipts from the rooms and meals tax, communication tax, and real estate tax are all down by about 9%. The interest and dividend tax is down a whopping 25%. Even tobacco taxes are down slightly. In the three months since the budget was enacted revenues are down a total of $26 million or 6.4%. Should this trend continue the deficit will only grow.
Now that the state employees union has rejected the proposed contract that would have implemented 19 furlough days, Governor Lynch must begin a series of layoffs to save a mandated $25 million. Whether he will run into roadblocks if the union files a grievance for each position eliminated or political roadblocks from his allies in the Legislature – these savings may be questionable.
So with all these budget monkey wrenches, it is certainly understandable that its authors are quick to claim that the national economy is to blame and that revenues are likely to rebound when the economy turns around. But that is a cavalier attitude based on wishful thinking rather than rational evidence.
NH’s unemployment rate just jumped to 7.2% which means nearly 25,000 people have lost jobs this year. As bleak as that is, the national numbers are worse — much worse. Since the federal stimulus legislation was enacted in February, 2.7 million Americans have lost their jobs and the national unemployment rate is at a 26 year high of 9.8%. The human toll of these numbers is staggering for individuals, families and businesses struggling to stay afloat.
Some pundits have tried to argue that things are getting better as only 263,000 Americans lost their jobs in September vs. 741,000 in January. While true, any signs that employers may be thinking of adding jobs in the future is at odds with the evidence. Job losses continue, while overtime and the average length of the work week both fell. Employers don’t need to hire anytime soon and consumer spending which drives our economy continues its retreat.
So NH Legislators who voted for huge spending increases — not to mention the property tax hikes from cost shifting and 61 additional tax and fee hikes in the last two budgets — are desperately praying for a rebound in the economy to produce the revenue they need to balance their budget. Voters should not hold their breath waiting for miracles.
Instead what Democratic Legislative Leaders are planning is a TAX SUMMIT to discuss new and innovative ways to separate taxpayers from their hard earned dollars. Will these leaders recommend an income tax, a sales tax, a tax on mortgage refinancing, an entertainment tax, or new levies on New Hampshire businesses? Every one of these taxes or others could be on the table at a time that 53,330 New Hampshire people are out of work.
After hiking spending 23% in the last two budgets, raising property taxes and 61 other tax and fee hikes one would think that Democratic Legislative Leaders appetite for new and varied taxes would be satiated. Most NH voters are shaking their heads wondering if a SUMMIT to REDUCE SPENDING is too much to ask for. Isn’t it time for the Democrats to turn off the tax hike spigot and focus on fiscal discipline?
As tough as things are for families and businesses across NH, they will get much worse if taxes continue to climb to meet revenue shortfalls. Then we will have to re-title this blog to “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”!
To the Editor,
Much like the “Cap and Trade” legislation passed by the US House earlier this year, the health care so-called “reform” plan being proposed by Senator Max Baucus is little more than a massive tax increase on all Americans. The Baucus plan contains what is known as an individual mandate. This would require all Americans (this excludes illegal aliens and convicted felons) to purchase government-approved health insurance coverage by 2013 or face fines of up to $1900 per non-covered individual. Guess who will collect this fine? That’s right – our friendly Internal Revenue Service will be in charge of collecting the fine and those who fail to pay will be subject to the same penalty as income tax evaders. Under section 7203 of the U.S. Tax Code, this could carry a penalty of up to $25,000 and a year in jail. The Joint Committee on Taxation confirmed after questioning during the Senate committee hearings that this section of the tax code would be used to enforce this provision of the Baucus bill.
If the Tax collectors are using the existing Tax Code to extract this additional money from the Taxpayers, how can anyone seriously consider the Baucus “reform” to be anything but a gigantic tax increase? This tax will of course hit millions of people who earn far less than the $250,000 that then-candidate Obama claimed would not see their taxes increase, not one dime! Much like the House Bill 3200, the Senate health care legislation adds up to nothing more than a further expansion of government power, greater federal government control over the lives of Americans, and a huge tax increase for everyone. This abominable legislation should be soundly defeated. If you agree, contact your Senators and strongly urge them to oppose the Baucus bill.