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January 25. 2014 1:57AM

House priorities: Where is the economy?

During the 2012 election, New Hampshire Democrats called New Hampshire Republicans "reckless," "irresponsible" and "extreme" and claimed that they had their priorities backwards. Democrats said they would focus on the economy and jobs, unlike Republicans, who focused on pet political issues. Well, let's take a look.

In the 2011-12 legislative session, House Speaker Bill O'Brien arranged the House calendar so that the first year of the session focused primarily on repealing previous tax increases, reducing regulations and passing a state budget without new tax hikes.He often delayed votes on bills regarding controversial social issues - abortion, gay marriage, etc. - until near the end of the two-year legislative session. That actually played into the Democrats' hands because those hot-button issues were in the news during the election year. New Hampshire Democrats have been in charge of the House for more than a year now. Three weeks into the second half of the 2013-14 legislative session, we can get a pretty good sense of their priorities. Those priorities are not exactly what voters were told they would be.The start of Democratic House rule in 2013 saw very little in the way of job-creating or economy-stimulating votes. Speaker Terie Norelli did manage to see that the House voted on bills to name the white potato the official state vegetable, allow assisted suicide and let legislators accept free lift tickets to Cannon Mountain. Once the governor's budget was released, the session was consumed with raising more state revenue and "restoring" cuts made by the previous Legislature, as promised during the campaign.

But that effort largely failed. Senate Republicans managed to keep spending down, and the House killed Gov. Hassan's top priority, expanded gambling.

So a lot was left for the second year of the session. What have been the priorities so far this year?

The 2014 session thus far has been consumed with bills to establish a state Obamacare exchange, expand Medicaid, allow license plate readers, legalize marijuana, let illegal aliens qualify for in-state college tuition rates, regulate title loan rates and label GMO foods.

This is hardly the job-creating, economy-stimulating agenda voters were told they would get.

House Democrats certainly have kept their promise to work hard to undo Republican tax and spending cuts and implement Obamacare. But they seem to have entirely forgotten about stimulating the economy and creating jobs.


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