CONCORD – House Republican Leader Dick Hinch (R-Merrimack) offered statements following House Rules Committee Action on Wednesday where House Democrats denied the ability for a Republican bill to come forward that would eliminate the possibility of business tax increases in the coming year. The committee also voted along party lines for a Democrat supported timeline for completion of House business, which Republicans said lacked clarity and bipartisan input.
On disagreements on a timeline moving forward, Hinch offered the following assessment.
“Republicans have a roadmap forward. We have a realistic and comprehensive set of dates for deadlines that we believe meets the needs of a thorough legislative process,” Hinch said. “We are not here to obstruct and we agree that the people’s work needs to be addressed. But we are here to ensure the spirit of bipartisan cooperation, the spirit of the rule the House adopted in March, is not pushed aside during this pandemic.”
Hinch continued, “Republicans have a number of concerns about the proposed schedule in the Democrat plan, such as a very quick time frame for public hearings on Senate bills, when the House has little experience in running virtual public hearings. The House held its first remote public hearing on a bill yesterday, and there were several concerns brought to my attention about its function and execution. Asking us to process dozens of bills on this platform in a matter of a week or two seems like it would cause problems. In addition it skips long established steps in the process including committees of conference.”
Pertaining to Democrats’ rejection of Republicans’ business tax relief proposal Hinch offered the following remarks.
“By not allowing this simple modification to have an up or down vote by the House is the same thing as Democrats saying that they are OK with increasing taxes on our struggling small businesses by as much as 12.5% during a global pandemic and economic recovery,” Hinch said. “By rejecting this proposal, Democrats may have decreased our economy’s ability to bounce back quickly, and prolonged the time it will take for our small businesses to recover.”
“The Speaker and Majority Leader said that they believe this is not urgent, and can wait until 20201. My message is that we cannot wait. Our businesses cannot wait, “ Hinch continued. “The rate is scheduled to change on January 1, well before legislation could be fast-tracked through the House and Senate. Businesses are making decisions now and will be through the rest of this year based on the prospect of that rate change. This affects their hiring decisions this year. This affects their ability to purchase capital equipment this year. To ask businesses to ‘wait and see’ if the legislature does something in 7 months doesn’t make sense,” Hinch concluded.
“Democrats love taxes. This is a demonstration that they are willing to pursue higher taxes even in the worst of times for many businesses. It’s like kicking them when they’re down.”
The motion to recommend the Democrats’ schedule passed by a party line vote of 5-4.
The motion to deny introduction of Republicans’ business tax relief proposal passed by a party line vote of 6-4.