State Budget – Dangerous Deal

Those of you who have had to sit through a hearing with me have my heard my rant about keeping it simple. If it takes an accountant and a tax attorney to explain what we did to you, we did it wrong. The state budget writers did it wrong. They included enough stuff that you want to make you want the budget. Unfortunately, this is like those high risk mortgages that collapsed the housing market. It will seem wonderful at first, probably past the next election, and then it will collapse. You won’t have that stuff that you wanted, and you will have a giant bill… just like all those victims who had their property foreclosed.

Weyler: HB 1 “Minority Report”

In the last ten budgets, it was unusual to see a large increase in the revenue from one biennium to another. Most of the time it was about 200 million increase, unless there had been tax increases. Then it might be more. The revenue we are seeing available from the last budget is a one-billion-dollar increase. That is after a tax decrease! The people who do the revenue estimates are all saying this is likely a one-time event driven by repatriation with an 8% Federal Tax. All are predicting revenue will decrease after 2021. This is a wonderful opportunity to do some one-time projects and still allow for some increases where needed in state government. This budget does not follow that sensible approach. Instead it uses all the money to grow government to a level where it cannot be sustained in future. With the growth of government comes a reduction in our population’s freedom, and likely increases in future taxes. It gives big increases to education and does not recognize that school districts need to make decisions that reflect the reality of major declines in enrollment. As the adequacy payments go down with the shrinking student counts, districts need to adjust. The evidence is that they are not, but are instead insisting on more state money. This will be followed by higher property taxes. This budget leads us in the wrong direction.

Weyler: HB 2 “Minority Report”

Since HB 1 by law, can only contain the budget numbers, HB 2 is the device by which the enabling legislation is included. This could mean tax changes, reassignments of personnel, department reorganizations, and descriptions of new programs created in the budget. Unfortunately, there is always room for abuses. So, bills that were retained, or amended, sometimes find new life in this bill. The greatest abuse is to add programs which did not have any public hearing in either body, and may be a last-minute idea by one of the conferees. A very controversial “Pet Vendor licensing” was added with little public hearing, as was the tax on vaping as well as adding the 21-age requirement. The wish to add more money for public education does not seem to recognize that this demographic is shrinking, while the elderly population is growing. Areas where the money was taken from to increase Education funding by 45 million dollars, show the bias of the Democrats. The rate increase for Public Charter School Students of 2.5 million was repurposed for regular public education; and the Secretary of States 1.5 million in “Investor Education Funds” which was destined for the FRM Settlement, was included in that 45 million. The 45 also included a highway project, and a trooper reallocation money. Although we keep hearing the basic adequacy number of $3,636 per pupil, the real average contribution, with all the differentiated aid is about $6,000 per pupil. HB 2 started with a little over 200 sections, and ends with well over 400. It is difficult to track all the changes, and perhaps that is by design.

subprime

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Why HB365 raises your electric bill

This explanation comes from Rep. Fred Plett

There is no cap on the ability build a generator of any size and selling the output, albeit at wholesale. The net metering bill raises the current cap from 1 to 5 MW of the ability, not to sell at wholesale, but the ability to sell to the local utility at retail, roughly 3 times the price. The proponents claim that selling at retail rather than wholesale, reduces electric bills. Their logic is that the amounts sold to the utility at retail will be treated not as generation, but as a load reducer, so when the utility goes out to bid for default service for the remainder, the load serving entities will play nice since they are under competitive pressure so the rate per kWh the LSE bids won’t go up, and the kWh are smaller, so the extra amounts paid to the net metered generation comes out of the hides of the LSE’s. The problem with that logic is that LSE’s are smart, they’ve got certain costs to cover, and they will cover them by raising bids per kWh, even if the load profile were the same. Furthermore, since the remaining load profile is much spikier due to the vagaries of wind and solar, bids will go up for that reason as well. Nothing comes for free. There is 40 MW of hydro (each unit under 5 MW), now selling wholesale, that will de-list from the wholesale market and sell retail instead. Since they are not bidding into the wholesale market as a price taker (bottom of stack), the clearing price for every hour in the day ahead market could be higher, raising wholesale rates, which then get tripled to retail levels. The proponents also argue that the NH load profile as a percentage of New England’s will be smaller, shifting the payment for transmission to other states. If other states do the same, it becomes a zero sum game, and no costs will be shifted, and since the costs are still there, the rate per kWh will go up to raise the same $$. I heard an argument from a proponent that distribution costs will also go down. False. The distribution costs are still there, charged against fewer kWh, so the rate per kWh goes up, paid for by all load not having net metering – i.e., you. The last argument proponents make is that if a municipal or county does this, tax bills could go down. True enough, but by the logic enumerated above, the savings will be paid for by non-participating rate payers.

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The Most Partisan Legislature Ever

Please see the release below. If you care about fairness, or transparency, you should be outraged. I chaired a House Committee for four years. During that time, I respected the minority party and included them in the process. I allowed the ranking Democrat to chair public hearings. I appointed a Democrat at least once to chair a sub committee. The House leadership this term is teaching me that I need not have bothered. You should know that the normal process for dealing with Senate messages (when a House bill is amended by them) is that the House committee Chair makes a motion to concur, non concur, or request a committee of conference on the House floor, in full view of the public. The full House then votes on that motion. In this case the Speaker chose not to do that. Your Representatives did not have an opportunity to vote on the budget motion. This is New Hampshire, not North Korea. We are not a dictatorship and it is high time that the public learned that a small handful of people are making all of your decisions, and that Democrats are voting as a block to support this dictatorship.

For Immediate Release

June 11th, 2019

Contact: 603-271-3665

House Republicans React to House Requesting Committee of Conference on Budget Bills

CONCORD – House Republican Leader Dick Hinch (R-Merrimack) issued a statement after reviewing the online bill dockets for HB1 and HB2, bills relating to the state budget, which show that the House had non-concurred and requested a committee of conference, and that zero Republicans were appointed to the conference committees.

“We hear a lot about bipartisanship in the State House, and it is unfortunate that Democrats in the House have chosen to exclude Republicans and the people they represent from the committee of conference process on the budget. During each of the last two budget processes in the House under Republican majorities, we extended an opportunity to the minority party, and they had a seat at the table, even if they don’t end up supporting the final product. This time, with Democrats in control, Republicans appear to not even have a member as an alternate, and are excluded from the conference committee entirely,” Hinch said. “It’s sad that we had to discover this online, and we did not have the courtesy of an email or meeting to discuss their reasoning. It is also disappointing they chose to move forward on this while the House is in recess, rather than let members vote on the motion. To me, this demonstrates they have no interest in getting any Republican votes or input on the committee of conference report.”

Background:

In 2015, Rep. Wallner (D-Concord) was appointed as a member of the committees of conference on HB1 and HB2, with Reps. Eaton (D-Stoddard) and Leishman (D-Peterborough) as alternates.

In 2017, Rep. Wallner (D-Concord) was appointed as a member of the committees of conference on HB517 and HB144, with Reps. Eaton (D-Stoddard) and Leishman (D-Peterborough), Almy (D-Lebanon), and Rosenwald (D-Nashua) as alternates.

None of these Democrat conferees or alternates had supported the House version of the budget bills in prior votes on the House.

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