House Republicans React to Committee Approval of Budget Bills

CONCORD – Today Republican Members of the House Finance Committee offered the following comments in reaction to the committee recommendations on HB1 and HB2, bills dealing with the State budget and appropriations. In separate votes, the committee voted 14-8 to send the amended versions of HB1 and HB2 to the full House.

Rep Gene Chandler (R-Bartlett), House Republican Leader

“I’d like to thank the Republican members of the House Finance Committee for their tireless efforts in looking out for the taxpayers of our State. Republicans have fought for a more affordable, more efficient and more accountable state government, but being in the minority, we don’t always win. The majority party, unfortunately, has created a budget that overspends, expands government and adds taxes and fees on our already over taxed families and businesses. This is not the right direction for New Hampshire. House Republicans will continue to bring attention to what we believe are better ways to help our citizens and our economy.”

Rep. Neal Kurk (R-Weare), House Finance Ranking Republican

“This budget is balanced on unrealistic revenue estimates and gimmicks that simply put off the day of reckoning. It includes over $70million in increased taxes that will hurt the economy and job creation. It spends 10.2% more money than the previous state budget. When the economy is growing at 2% per year, at best, and the government is growing at 5% per year, we should have a real concern about where this budget will lead our State. It’s unaffordable and sets us up for failure both in the near future and in future biennia.”

Rep. Lynne Ober (R-Hudson), House Finance Member

“This budget cuts entirely the state’s aid for school construction for the next biennium. School building aid is vital to the safety and well being of students across the state by aiding local districts in building and renovating our aging or over crowded education facilities. The previous legislature saw the benefit of state aid for these projects. The Democrats on the committee apparently would prefer to grow our state government rather than aid localities in building 21st century facilities for our children.”

Rep. Ken Weyler (R-Kingston), House Finance Member

“This budget unfairly targets charter schools by issuing a moratorium on them and also ends the education opportunity scholarship program. By stifling charter school innovation and taking away school choice options from needy families,  it’s clear that the Democrats are looking to protect failing public schools and continue their tradition of ceding to public union interests.”

Rep. Karen Umberger (R-Intervale), House Finance Member

“I find it unbelievable that the Democrats on House Finance would vote to cede nearly all legislative discretion and allow the Governor to sweep millions of dollars out of dedicated funds to cover a budget deficit. This could affect as many as 300 state programs or agencies that rely on dedicated funds including Fish & Game, State Parks, Enhanced 911 System or even unemployment compensation. Responsible budgeting starts with transparency. This is a terrible precedent to set. When people buy into these funds via a fee or license, they expect that those dollars be used for that purpose. Why have dedicated funds if the Governor can use them as an ATM?”