Chuck Morse: Republicans are focused on issues important to Granite StatersBy CHUCK MORSE
September 21. 2018 4:07PM
SINCE ESTABLISHING legislative majorities and the corner office, Republicans have consistently delivered on their promises and have made New Hampshire a better place to live, work and raise a family. For starters, we have balanced the budget and increased funding for priorities while also cutting taxes to help grow New Hampshire's economy.
The current budget increased funding to fight the opioid epidemic by 64 percent, added resources to fight the mental health crisis, and made critical reforms at the state agency responsible for caring for our most vulnerable children. That same budget also increased funding for the developmentally disabled waiting list by $57 million, repealed the electric consumption tax to help all ratepayers, and tripled the state's Rainy Day Fund to a balance of over $100 million.
Sadly, our Democratic colleagues in the Senate failed to support these key reforms and funding priorities for New Hampshire.
In addition to protecting Granite State taxpayers while helping those most in need, we have increased access to education, as towns across the state will have the opportunity to receive funding for full-day kindergarten for the first time in state history. A new scholarship program has been established to help reduce student debt for New Hampshire students attending New Hampshire colleges. We have also sent $29 million to local school districts for infrastructure projects with $10 million of that dedicated to improve security in schools. Education reforms have been a result of Republican leadership from Gov. Chris Sununu and the Legislature.
Despite Democrats pushing for full-day kindergarten for years without a funding source, a majority of Senate Democrats voted against full-day kindergarten for children, a disappointing flip-flop on the issue.
Under Republican leadership, $36.8 million has been returned to cities and towns for road and bridge projects and $30 million was appropriated to more quickly address the state's red-listed bridges.
New Hampshire's strong economic growth and high quality of life are not just talking points. The results speak for themselves. US News and World Report and USA Today consistently rank New Hampshire as a top state for economic opportunity, second best in K-12 education, first overall for child well-being, the third-best state to raise a family and fourth overall for quality of life. And New Hampshire currently has the lowest unemployment rate on record.
Last week, the New Hampshire Senate Democrats laid out their legislative agenda for the upcoming session. Despite the rhetoric in their press conference, all of the evidence would lead Granite State voters to believe that Senate Democrats will revert to the same failed policies the last time they held legislative majorities.
When the Democrats were in charge in Concord, they implemented or increased over 100 taxes and fees. This included the disastrous LLC income tax on small businesses and raiding the state's Rainy Day Fund as a tool to close a projected $800 million budget deficit of their own making. Instead of fostering economic policies to promote growth and job creation, Senate Democrats raised the cost of living during the worst recession since the Great Depression resulting in higher taxes, over regulation and putting the state in a shaky financial position.
Democrats in Concord have sponsored legislation to increase capital gains taxes, business taxes, gasoline taxes, taxes on your paint, and even to paddle a canoe. The last budget they wrote downshifted costs to cities and towns causing a spike in property taxes.
While Senate Democrats at best ignored the problems at the Division of Children Youth and Families, Republicans have repeatedly led on this important issue. Republicans supported a budget that added case workers at DCYF, established the Office of the Child Advocate, and reformed how reports of abuse and neglect are maintained to further protect children. Instead of supporting these robust reforms at DCYF, Senate Democrats disappointingly voted as a block to oppose the budget to score political points.
Senate Democrats can outline all the free handouts they want that sound great for their campaign clips and literature, but the Republican majorities have delivered the results Granite Staters have been looking for. A Republican Senate will live within our means, continue to make New Hampshire more attractive for businesses, attract higher paying jobs, and will always protect taxpayers. The difference is clear.
Republicans have delivered on our promises and will continue to make New Hampshire the best place to live, work and raise a family.
Chuck Morse, R-Salem, is President of the New Hampshire Senate.