by Peter Somssich
The recent state budget and some individual bills, agreed to by both the N.H. Republican House and Senate and signed by Governor Sununu, but opposed by Democratic Representatives, are cruel and dangerous for the welfare of the residents of New Hampshire. Even if it was not intentional, that is the consequence of these actions.
Also, don’t be fooled! Tax cuts at the state level, result in lower revenues for the state to fulfill its obligations, resulting in down-shifting and in higher property taxes at the town level.
Because many of the social issue items included in the budget could not have passed on their own merits, a group of extreme Republicans insisted on including them in the budget. And, Governor Sununu agreed.
· Restricting women’s health choices by banning abortions after 24 months, with no exception for rape, incest or fatal fetal damage
· Requiring women who seek an abortion to undergo an unnecessary vaginal ultrasound at their expense
· Punishing doctors with up to a $7000 fine and possible imprisonment, if they violate any of the new abortion-ban provisions
· Rejecting badly needed dental benefits for N.H. Medicaid recipients (higher state costs resulting later)
· Reduction of Education Funding for most municipalities (higher property taxes)
· Banning the discussion of so-called “divisive language” (e.g. slavery, racism, white privilege, controversial historical events) by educators resulting in possible financial penalties for schools and principals
· Withholding state contracts from businesses that require employees to take training on topics such as “diversity and sexual harassment”
· Returning fines imposed on businesses that intentionally violated the Covid safety orders during the pandemic
· Big cuts for Department of Health and Human Services (higher property taxes)
· Suspending Municipal Grants and Revenue Sharing for Infrastructure projects
· A phony, and inadequate Family Medical Leave plan that is available to only a few
· Eliminating a loan repayment program for new medical professionals to work in N.H.
· Reductions in N.H. Family Planning programs
· Eliminating some requirements to buy and carry firearms
· Eliminate the N.H. Gunline for more thorough in-state backgrounds checks, resulting in additional danger for domestic violence victims
· Allowing the carry of loaded guns on ORVs (which Fish & Game Dept. considers dangerous)
· Restricting local municipalities from identifying no-gun areas in their towns
· Allowing gun owners to brandish a weapon when someone is on their property or when in a vehicle, if they feel threatened in any way
Tax Breaks for Rich, Protecting Corporations, Revenue Reductions for Municipalities:
· $10 million bailout of investors who lost money in the FRM Ponzi scheme
· Phase out of interest /dividends tax for everyone, regardless of income
· Increased funding for vouchers to private and religious schools, including home-schoolers (reducing public school funding)
· Blocking many enabling bills, that would allow municipalities to make local decisions even when no state funding is involved
· Protecting fossil fuel interests by prohibiting the Department of Environmental Services from discussing or taking part in any actions regarding low-carbon fuels
· Business tax reductions, primarily benefiting out-of-state large companies (higher property taxes)
· 25 percent of towns will see less state education aid (higher property taxes)
Let the Governor and your Republican Representatives know how you feel about this budget, now, and at next year’s elections.
Dr. Peter Somssich,
New Hampshire State Representative / Portsmouth