RAYMOND — Back in November 2010, the voters of New Hampshire mandated, by electing a super majority of conservative Republicans, the House of Representatives to: (1) promote economic development and create jobs; (2) cut state spending; (3) reduce taxes and fees; (4) return fiscal sanity to the state; (5) fix a state retirement system that was structurally deficient; (6) provide our children with an education based on excellence; (7) protect the personal rights and freedoms of its citizens; and (8) maintain transparency in state government.
To answer this mandate, the 2011-2012 Session passed many bills that became law. I am so proud to have been a part of this great team. We really accomplished a lot of good legislation. I will be giving you a compilation of our kept promises over the next few weeks.
Setting an example for our citizens by "living within our means":
HB-1 and HB-2 - a budget 11% smaller than the prior budget, reducing spending by over $1.2B and General Fund spending by $536M, or 18%, that included no new or increased taxes or fees. We reversed the past two terms budgets accounting gimmicks by passing a budget that does not bond any operating costs, or sell assets from one state agency to another to claim fictitious revenue, while using responsible revenue estimates.
HB-601 - The state returned $1M in ObamaCare funds back to the federal government with instructions to use the money for debt reduction.
HB-337 - Creates an education funding formula that maintains existing levels of aid to communities and allows additional targeted aid to needy cities and towns.
SB-146 - Requires for future state budgets, that state agencies submit budgets that actually reduce spending in addition to any request to expand state government.
Reducing and Reforming Taxes:
HB-1 and HB-2 - Eliminates the auto registration surcharge which was costing our residents and small businesses between $30.00 and $75.00 every year for each vehicle they registered, putting $90M back in our citizens' pockets.
SB-125 - To fulfill our commitment to reduce the highest business tax rate in the nation, new laws offer 10 forms of tax relief to employers to help them grow their business, including reforming the burden of proof for reasonable compensation, and doubling the carry-forward period for the Business Enterprise Tax (BET).
HB-2 and HB-229 - Two new statutes (laws) help our retailers, particularly those in state border communities, become more competitive and grow: (1) Eliminates the gambling winnings tax; (2) Repeals the most recent of the 4 tobacco taxes of the past 6 years.
HB-2 and HB-571 - The legislature cut a number of fees on: hotels, restaurants, motels, pet stores, fishing enthusiasts, those selling condominiums, and people getting married.
HB-605 - Directs the Business Finance Authority to establish an innovation business job growth initiative to promote investment for New Hampshire employers and to coordinate venture capital with start-ups statewide.
HB-242 - Increases the net operating loss carry-forward under the Business Profits Tax (BPT) from $1M to $10M, which reduces the tax burden on our businesses and makes our state more competitive in attracting and retaining employers
HB-518 - Extends the research and development tax credit encouraging businesses to continue to innovate, expand, and create new jobs.
HB-1418 - Expands the BET exemption 33% and indexes the exemption for inflation. The BET is a payroll tax and reducing it provides a strong incentive for employers to create good, new jobs here. With this change, 1/3 of New Hampshire businesses will not pay BET, and most of these will no longer have to incur the expense of filing, and eliminates the tax on Internet services.
HB-1221 - Allows businesses to apply BET credits quarterly, instead of annually. against their BPT, which will allow faster growth investments by New Hampshire's small businesses.
SB-97 - Cities and towns that are impacted by fire or other major acts of nature are now eligible for community revitalization tax relief to allow for the repair or rebuilding of damaged structures.
SB-372 - Establishes an education credit against the BPT for businesses that contribute to scholarship organizations that award scholarships to be used by students to defray the educational expenses of attending an independent school.
SB-326 - Eliminates the taxation of trusts under the interest and dividends tax to encourage more trust formation in NH.
CACR-13 - Puts a constitutional amendment to ban any new taxes on personal income on the ballot in November, where, if it is supported by 2/3rds of the voters, a prohibition on income taxes will become part of the State Constitution.
I will continue with the new laws next week. Enjoy the weekend.
(Editor's Note: NH State Representative Mike Kappler can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)