Democratic House Speaker Norelli’s plans for growing the economy, as stated in her column in the Jan. 5 New Hampshire Sunday News, involve more taxpayer-funded spending, more regulations and costs imposed on New Hampshire employers, higher taxes and unnecessary expansion of government and its intrusion into our daily lives.
Republicans have a different way to grow the New Hampshire economy, encourage job creation and keep youth in our state. And it doesn’t involve you paying more taxes.
At the top of Speaker Norelli’s list is expanding Obamacare in our state, and she will impose it on the Legislature again, right away, this Wednesday. You may remember that the option of expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act was left up to the states by the U.S. Supreme Court, and nearly half of the states in the nation have rejected it. Those that have accepted it have seen their costs skyrocket well beyond projections. An academic study by an MIT economist showed that participants in expanded Medicaid dramatically increase utilization of expensive emergency rooms, while health outcomes don’t improve.
To expand Medicaid under Obamacare now, knowing that cuts to Medicaid reimbursements have already repeatedly been on the table, puts our state in precarious financial position — now and especially in three years when the federal government forces us to pay 10 percent. Since this is estimated at $40 million per year but will undoubtedly be more, the government will need to raise significant additional taxes on New Hampshire residents and businesses. This will not help our economy.
The Speaker also states her goals of increasing the minimum wage and increasing restrictions on the hiring decisions of employers. Raising the minimum wage will have a major and disproportionate impact on small businesses, the backbone of New Hampshire’s economy. This will have the effect of reducing hiring and growth, not increasing it. Since the minimum wage is generally paid to young workers, this will hurt, not help, those who are looking for entry-level jobs the most.
The Speaker also wants to use every penny of the $15 million surplus from last year, instead of shoring up our woefully small state rainy day fund. If our “crystal ball” revenue projections for some reason don’t pan out, or if we have a major catastrophe in our state, how will we pay our bills and take care of people who really need our help?
House Republicans have a different approach. We believe that now is certainly not the time to be raising taxes or expanding Obamacare. Instead, we will focus on making the economy better and health insurance more affordable for all people. We can do this by offering more choices for customers, fewer mandates, and fewer barriers. Many of the people who would be covered with Medicaid under Obamacare are already eligible for heavily subsidized insurance through the federal exchange.
New Hampshire House Republicans will continue our efforts to ensure that everyone has excellent employment opportunities by fostering a vibrant business climate — one that eliminates excessive and unnecessary regulation, encourages responsible business success, makes us more attractive than other states and protects taxpayers by reducing wasteful spending.
We know that when we do this, we grow the economy, can pay for necessary government services and help those most in need without raising taxes.
Rep. Laurie Sanborn, R-Bedford, is the House Republican policy leader.