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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There will be no 8.75% county tax increase

Many of you saw the County Manager statement on the proposed budget. Let me offer a rebuttal. No, there is not going to be an 8.75% county tax increase. If you’re new to this process, you should know that this is normal and happens almost every time. Sullivan County runs a pretty tight operation, accomplishing much with less than other counties have to work with. The County Manager and Commissioners administer it. They are right to express concern about how tight the finances are, and advocate for more. The Delegation (made up of your State Representatives) are your advocates in this process. It is after all, your money. Every budget cycle, the proposed budget is higher than what eventually passes. Let me explain the reference that was made to the undesignated fund balance. The county has a policy of keeping around $2.5 million dollars in reserve, and that makes good sense. Over the years, county officials have argued that this number is insufficient. My response has always been “fair enough, present a business case for increasing the amount and then change the policy”. Since this has not happened, my position has always been that if there is one dollar more in that account than there should be, you get it back. We’ve been able to increase some programs and make some improvements without raising the tax rate because we had that money to use. That is what “structural deficit” means. The budget exceeded the incoming revenue. There are two ways to fix a structural deficit. You can increase revenue (raise taxes) or reduce spending. Which would you like us to do? We do after all, work for you. If you want to provide input to your Representative, you can find contact information at http://www.sullivancountynh.gov/index.php?n=delegation

There will be a public hearing on June 12 regarding the budget and I urge you to attend. You will have an opportunity to tell us what you think. Place: Newport, NH – 243 North Main Street, Louis Thompson Community Room, Sugar River Valley Regional Technical Center

Representative Steven Smith
Chairman, Sullivan County Delegation
Sullivan County District 11
PO Box 624, Charlestown, NH 03603
603-826-5940

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Memorial Day

Every Memorial Day, I struggle to find some worthy to say. I fail. What is worthy of the thousands who have given their lives to keep us free? What is worthy of the families with an empty chair at the dinner table, or someone missing from family pictures after their ultimate sacrifice? This year, let me simply say thank you. We are eternally grateful that through your sacrifice, we live free.

arlington-national-cemetery

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