RAYMOND — Being slammed with questions following our new Governor’s presentation of her proposed budget, my first response was: “As the House staff was removing the special guests’ chairs from the front of Reps. Hall, I went down, and asked 3 of them individually, “Did you see a ‘Santa Hat’ laying around here? “No Why”, each one replied. I told them, in my opinion, the presentation was like a child’s Christmas Party, with all the gifts the governor wants to give away, at our taxpayer’s expense.
I am beside myself with the numerous tax increases in her budget, and what effect it will have on our low-income, hard working families, and small business employers in our state. This budget proposal is just plain unrealistic.
In order to improve the local economy, it’s imperative that we continue to make our state more business friendly. The Governor’s budget aggressively targets small businesses and blocks the good tax relief we were able to put into place last term, which intended to promote job creation, and has already started working.
Two years ago, we were able to balance the budget without expanded gaming revenue, by putting forth reasonable and conservative revenue estimates, while making some tough decisions, we were able to live within our means. Now the Governor wants to spend more.... Yes, suggesting a one-time $80M (million) license fee base on something that currently is against New Hampshire state law, and to the best of my knowledge, has never seen a bill that passed in the House. What a dream... Yes, she has Republicans that will support her, but she also has both Democrats and Republicans that will oppose her. Once such a venture is up and running would be one thing, but gamble on an $80M license, is just poor judgement.
Before anything could get off the ground, we would need: a new “Gaming Commission” in place; a bid process to ensure equal opportunity for all vendors; bidding on any locations; full development plans, including buildings and site work; and etc. You can’t just take the license money, say thank you, and forget about it, can you???
Immediately after the House Public Works & Highway Committee met on February 21st, HB-617 was voted on as Ought to Pass as amended (OTP-A), sending it to the full House floor. The House Republican Alliance (NHHRA), of which I am a member, blasted this vote as anti-family and anti-business. This bill would increase the state’s tax on gas from the current $0.18 per gallon to $0.33 per gallon over a 3 year period - that’s a 15-cent hike, or 83%.At a time when families and businesses are struggling to pay their bills and make ends meet, nearly doubling this gas tax is a crushing blow.The NHHRA will be actively opposing HB-617’s passage on the House floor and welcome your support. Please call your State Representative now, and tell them to vote Inexpedient to Legislate (ITL) on HB-617 when it comes to the House floor.
(Editor’s Note: NH State Representative Mike Kappler can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)