The following is a statement from the House Republican Alliance on the version of the state budget that came out of the Senate last week:
The House Republican Alliance Tri-chairs are committed to assuring the citizens of New Hampshire that a Constitutional budget is passed out of the New Hampshire legislature. We urge our colleagues in House Finance to carefully examine amendments made to the budget while in the Senate.
We fully supported the budget, as passed by the House, as fiscally conservative and balanced. Senate amendments have added unnecessary spending and programs and we feel further explanation is needed.
Of particular concern is the Family Medical Leave Insurance (FMLI) program. As written, the language appears to give the Commissioner of Administrative Services little to no fiscal boundaries as the program is developed. Our Constitution discourages delegation of legislative duties.
The FMLI program is not fully developed, and proposals would still need to be requested. One of the few details available mentions payroll deductions and taxes on premiums for all except state employees. This makes quite clear that this is a plan paid for by “taxes on incomes.” However, state employees will have no such need to pay the premiums, state taxpayers will be picking up the expense. Note that no appropriation for this program was found in the budget.
Statutorily proposed to take effect on October 1, 2022, one wonders what plan or provision exactly will be put forth. This measure appears rushed and incomplete as it heads to the Governor and Executive Counsel for action or approval. This is not the responsible financial stewardship our constituents expect from us.
“ We were open to the possibility of reaching a compromise regarding FMLI. We were hopeful of finding a free-market-based solution for those who would like to have access to such an insurance product. This proposal lacks sincerity,” remarked Rep. Mike Sylvia.
“ This program violates both our Constitution and party platform in too many ways to get HRA support. As much as we’d like to pass a strong Republican budget, this piece is a serious threat,” said Rep. Peter Torosian.
Rep. Deb Hobson says, “When I think of New Hampshire, I think ‘No Income Tax! Not Now. Not Ever!'”