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House Republicans: Democrats’ Plastics Bills A Slippery Slope

CONCORD – House Republican Leader Dick Hinch (R-Merrimack) issued statements relative to a series of bills that have hearings before the House Commerce committee on Thursday.

HB 1194, establishing a surcharge for certain single use plastics. 

“This is just another effort by Democrats to force businesses to nickel and dime consumers,” Hinch said, ”Last year we labeled similar bills as a bag tax. This is nothing more than a bag and cup tax. My concern is how many more aspects of daily life in New Hampshire will Democrats want to mandate or add a fee to. Will we see a bottle deposit and solo cup fee next?”

HB 1472, restricting the distribution of plastic straws. 

“This is the same overreaching bill that House Democrats passed last year, which died in the Senate,” Hinch said, ”Requiring businesses to not offer straws unless the consumer specifically asks is a ridiculous mandate. Not even California’s straw law goes as far as this bill does. If there ever was a straw that breaks the camel’s back, this type of nitpicking legislation just might be it.”

HB 1564-FN, prohibiting the use of polystyrene foam. 

“Businesses have been transitioning away from polystyrene on their own and don’t need the government to come in and regulate them. Consumers should be able to decide if they want to do business with an establishment, and if they are against foam, they can go elsewhere,” Hinch said, “If you don’t want your Puritan chicken tenders in a polystyrene container, go down the road to the other chicken tender place, and maybe the Puritan will get the message. Polystyrene waste is a tiny and dwindling portion of our overall wastestream, and we should be concentrating on tackling more important issues.”

HB 1508, relative to paper receipts.

“If this bill’s goal is to reduce paper waste, I have a recommendation. Democrats should stop filing all of these bills that will go nowhere,” Hinch said, ”We’ve seen a litany of bills seeking to reduce waste this term, but the only waste I see too much of is wasting our time with these bills and the paper they are printed on.”

House Republicans Shocked by Electronic Device Sales Tax

CONCORD – House Republican Leader Dick Hinch (R-Merrimack) issued a statement relative to the public hearing on HB1492, a Democrat sponsored bill which establishes a tax on the retail sale of certain electronic devices. The bill, as introduced, would impose a 4.3% sales tax on a long list of items including:

  • Television sets and related equipment
  • Video games and all related play systems and equipment
  • Smart watches and similar products and related equipment
  • Computers and related equipment, including desktop computers, tablet computers, laptop computers, printers, scanners, faxes and all related hardware and software
  • Cell phones and smart phones and related equipment therefore

“This is a sales tax. This is a sales tax on products that families and businesses use everyday that will cost us millions,” Hinch said. “This is a sales tax on many productivity and learning tools and it will make these tools less affordable to low income families and small businesses. If this were to become law, who’s to say Democrats wouldn’t expand it to cover even more products or eventually all products? I’m confident that this bill will be short circuited by a governor’s veto. They’ve spent the last year and a half trying to pass an income tax, I guess it’s no surprise a sales tax is next on the menu. This is such a crazy idea, I can’t believe it was even introduced. If they pass this bill, it will be another a fine kettle of fish for New Hampshire.”

House Republicans Concerned About Politically Motivated Cuts to DOJ Litigation Request

CONCORD – House Republican Leader Dick Hinch (R-Merrimack) and Fiscal Committee member Rep. Lynne Ober (R-Hudson) issued statements following the denial of a request by the Department of Justice for additional funds to cover litigation costs. The Joint Fiscal Committee voted along party lines to give the department less than half of its original request, with Democrats voting in favor of the cut.

“Democrats have turned the Fiscal Committee into a partisan political machine. There was a time not long ago where the Fiscal Committee put politics aside and quietly and responsibly did the work it needed to do to ensure state government operated smoothly,” Hinch said. “Now at nearly every meeting, Democrats appear to savor pulling the rug out from under agency heads with whom they disagree, and in this case, jeopardize critical funding for DOJ to carry out its duties. You’d expect these types of political stunts out of Washington, but New Hampshire deserves better.”


“The AG provided thorough history of previous similar requests from the department to cover litigation costs and his request was justified and necessary for his department to meet its obligations. Never before has Fiscal denied the AG money for litigation. No matter what party was in power. No matter if they agreed with pending litigation or not. This was pure partisan politics,” Rep. Lynne Ober stated after the meeting. “The Department has $120,000 in invoices coming related to completed work on the mental health settlement, and Democrats have essentially told him he’ll need to prioritize his obligations, and risk default. The AG has duties to uphold in defense of the state and paying related bills. The Fiscal Committee has put politics ahead of responsible government in this instance.”

House Republicans Appalled By Democrats’ Abandonment of Education Dollars

Concord – House Republican Leader Dick Hinch issued a statement following the Joint Fiscal Committee’s vote to deny an item that would have allowed the Department of Education to accept more than $10 million in federal funds for the purpose of expanding charter school opportunities for New Hampshire students.

Republicans on the committee voted unanimously against the motion to deny the grant.

“For years, Democrats in the legislature criticized Republicans for, in their words, leaving federal money on the table for the expansion of entitlement programs,” said Hinch. “Now we see them leaving money on the table for something as fundamental as education. They claim funding public school is one of their top priorities, and charter schools are, in fact, public schools. Their bias and short-sightedness are putting children across the state at a disadvantage.”

“There are many communities in this state where there is only one option for education,” Hinch continued. “For the students who may not be thriving in that environment, charter schools provide another option for educational success. Quite frankly, it’s embarrassing that Democrats are playing politics with thousands of children’s education opportunities, and leaving children behind, rather than help all children in our state succeed.”

“I think we need to recognize the successes our existing charter schools and the fact that there is demand for them throughout the state in places where they don’t currently exist. It is wrong, and partisan, to deny these funds,” Fiscal Committee member Rep. Ken Weyler (R-Kingston) stated during the discussion on the item.

House Republicans Vote to Hold Democrats Accountable on $800 Million Energy Tax

CONCORD – House Republican Leader Dick Hinch (R-Merrimack) issued a statement upon the approval by the House of Representatives of HB735, relative to carbon pricing.

 “This would have been the largest tax increase in New Hampshire history, yet House Democrats let this bill live for an entire year. They let their members on the Science committee work on and amend it. They must have thought it had merit. They apparently just figured out that voting for an $800 million per year energy tax was probably not how they want to enter an election year so they tabled it, rather than take a stand on it. Republicans wanted to vote to shoot this thing down, which is what it deserved, to say the very least.”

 “No other state has this type of egregious tax. Testimony from experts said that this would raise the price of gas by over one dollar per gallon, affect heating fuels by a similar steep hike, raise electric costs, and affect every aspect of our economy in a severely negative manner,” Hinch said. “It would disproportionately hurt the poor, elderly, and those living in rural parts of the state. It would drastically increase energy costs for local governments that would necessitate property tax increases.”

House Republicans Vote to Protect Consumers and Businesses From Mandatory Bag Tax

CONCORD – House Republican Leader Dick Hinch (R-Merrimack) issued a statement upon the approval by the House of Representatives of HB559, relative to point of sale bags. The bill passed by a vote of 205-158.

“I’m beginning to think that Democrats trying to turn New Hampshire into the most highly taxed state in New England. A bag tax? That’s what this is. We are now turning to taxing consumers $.10 to $.50 per single-use plastic or paper bag,” Hinch said. 

“There are better ways to help consumers make informed decisions other than forcing stores to charge consumers ten cents per bag. This is nothing more than a heavy handed mandate to address a problem that state officials have disclosed does not exist. It’s a slippery slope, and I can only worry that we will see a plastic bottle tax, a plastic straw tax, or a coffee cup fee next.”

House Republicans Concerned Over Bill Permitting Restrictions of Consumer and Business Choice

CONCORD – House Republican Leader Dick Hinch (R-Merrimack) issued a statement upon the approval by the House of Representatives of HB102, relative to municipal ordinances regarding the use of plastics. The bill passed by a vote of 215-151.

“Did Democrats not learn just a few months ago that this dog won’t hunt? By passing this bill and others like it, they are continuing their assault on businesses and consumers in New Hampshire. Bags are not the enemy, nanny-state regulations like these are. Allowing towns to essentially ban plastic and paper bags opens the door to so much more government overreach. Next thing you know you’ll have to bring your own coffee mug to Dunkin in the morning in some towns,” Hinch said.

“Small businesses turned out in droves to oppose this bill and others dealing with taking choices away from them and consumers. Sure, this may look like enabling legislation, but it can potentially disable a business’s ability to make decisions that best suit them and their consumers. What happened to personal responsibility? If consumers don’t want to use these bags, there are already plenty of alternatives they can use without increasing the cost burden on small businesses.”

House Republicans Stand Against Job-Killing Legislation

CONCORD – House Republican Leader Dick Hinch (R-Merrimack) issued the following statement after the House voted 212-155 to pass HB731, relative to the minimum hourly rate which would ramp up New Hampshire’s minimum wage to $15.

“The result of years of Republican control in Concord are crystal clear. A record number of granite staters are working, wages are rising, and we have one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country. Rather than embracing the successful policies of Republican leadership, Democrats seem content to repeatedly try to undermine New Hampshire’s economic progress by mandating a 100% wage hike for some,” said Hinch. 

“New Hampshire employers know best when it comes to compensation of their employees and we should continue allowing them to make those decisions. This bill would harm those entering the workforce looking for entry-level jobs and our family owned small businesses more than anyone. House Republicans will continue to stand strong against this job-killing legislation.”

House Republican Leader Reacts to Passage of Bill Eliminating Medicaid Expansion Work Requirement

CONCORD – House Republican Leader Dick Hinch (R-Merrimack) issued the following statement after the House voted to pass HB690- FN, removing the work requirement of the New Hampshire granite advantage health care program.

“The passage of this bill stripping the work requirement from New Hampshire’s Medicaid expansion program is another action taken by Democrats and their allies in the legal community trying to undermine the policy. Not even two years ago, the work requirement was the proud accomplishment of a bipartisan agreement that included plenty of reasonable exemptions. Republicans remain committed to including incentives for beneficiaries that help them get to a place where they no longer need assistance. I’m disappointed that House Democrats have decided to totally abandon this common sense policy.”

House Republicans Vote Against Democrats 3rd Attempt at Income Tax This Term

CONCORD – House Republican Leader Dick Hinch (R-Merrimack) issued a statement upon the approval by the House of Representatives of HB712, relative to a mandatory family and medical leave insurance program funded by a 0.5% tax on wages.

“New Hampshire has never had a tax on wages. We know we can provide family and medical leave coverage on a voluntary basis without a tax on wages. The governor has a plan, and we can support that concept. Democrats insist that the tax on income that they included in SB1 and HB2, which were both vetoed by the governor, is their one and only solution. They have taken family and medical leave hostage, and the ransom is an income tax. It’s unfortunate that they will not work with the governor to get a plan in place that gets the job done without siphoning dollars from everyone’s paychecks to pay for it.”