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Leave policies: Senate Finance makes sense

April 22. 2018 7:10PM

Finally, someone at the New Hampshire State House can read a calculator.

The Senate Finance Committee last week, on a 4-2 party line vote, recommended against passage of House Bill 628, a bill that would establish a state-backed family and medical leave program.

If passed, the plan would be insolvent almost immediately. The House passed the bill despite a pile of evidence showing it wouldn’t work, and rejected an alternative plan from the House Finance Committee that would have shifted the program to private sector insurance companies.

During the last recession, the state’s unemployment insurance fund teetered close to bankruptcy, forcing the state to impose a series of costly surcharges on employers. It took years before these taxes could be rescinded.

Should the unsustainable family leave program falter, lawmakers would face three unappealing options: Cut the promised benefits, force employers to pick up the additional costs, or put New Hampshire taxpayers on the hook.

Gov. Chris Sununu supports a family and medical leave program, but not the half-baked scheme in HB 628. Democrats are accusing him of walking away from a campaign promise. But Sununu never promised to sign an insolvent system into law.

Democrats are unwilling to compromise on a private-sector program. They would rather use family leave as a campaign cudgel against Sununu.

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