THE LEGISLATIVE session is only a month old and already my Democrat colleagues have begun an assault on New Hampshire businesses and taxpayers.
Doing this when New Hampshire has the lowest unemployment in the nation, growing wages, lowest poverty and one of the highest per capita incomes does not make sense.
Republicans, led by Gov. Chris Sununu, can be proud of this economy as we lowered the taxes on job creators, lowered worker-compensation costs, eliminated the tax on electricity and repealed burdensome regulations. As rapidly as they can, Democrats are trying to undermine the strong economy we created.
A top priority is their paid family leave bill and it seems like some lobbyists in Concord are afraid to call the funding mechanism what it is: an income tax. Page two of the bill could not be more clear stating that the employer may “withhold or divert no greater than 0.5 percent of wages per week per employee.” That is 0.5 percent of a worker’s income that will be withheld from his or her paycheck every week and sent to the government for this program. When the government requires a percentage of wages to be withheld from an employee that is an income tax.
Some workers may want this benefit, but if given the choice, how many others would rather keep that 0.5 percent of their income in their pocket? The people hurt most by this legislation are the ones who are already struggling to make ends meet, mandating that money be withheld from their paycheck to pay for a service they may not need or want.
An expense this size must have an independent actuarial analysis to affirm the solvency of the program, but so far, this has not been completed. The only study cited was done by an organization that supported paid family leave before they conducted the study, leaving their conclusion questionable at best.
The fact that the legislation gives the Commissioner of Employment Security the unilateral authority to raise the income tax on employees or limit their benefits is evidence enough that the financial stability of the program is already in question. It is also problematic to give one unelected state official the autonomy to raise taxes on every working Granite Stater without legislative authority.
Senate Bill 2, a job training program, has just as many problems as paid family leave. However, without a deeper dive, most of us would not realize that it robs the Unemployment Trust Fund of an additional $4 million, triggering a tax increase of $13.4 million. Only in government does increasing taxes by $13.4 million to spend $4 million make sense.
Employers need workers and job training programs are one way to train a workforce, there is no debating that. This is why Senate Republicans supported the current funding of $84.5 million in job training programs in the current budget, a budget every Senate Democrat voted against.
Every year $2 million is added to the Business and Economic Affairs job training fund, but they do not spend the appropriation they currently receive.
In fact, the starting balance for 2019 was more than $5 million dollars, more than 2.5 times their appropriation.
It does not make sense for the state to risk the financial stability of the Unemployment Trust Fund in order to increase funding to a program that has a growing balance.
The Unemployment Trust Fund exists to assist workers when they lose their jobs. New Hampshire has record high employment, record high wages, and an economy that is second to none in the region. We should be increasing the Unemployment Trust Fund when times are good rather than short changing it before the funds are needed most.
The last time the Democrats held power in Concord they raised more than 100 taxes and fees and went on a spending spree creating an $800 million hole in the budget that took years of fiscal restraint to fix. Countless taxes had to be repealed to fix the broken tax code including the LLC and camping taxes. We are just one month into a new session and it looks like Senate Democrats are trying to break their previous new tax records.
By going on spending sprees for unnecessary government programs, the Democrats are limiting our ability to solve real problems in the state such as the mental health and substance abuse crisis or funding at DCYF.
Senate Bill 1 and Senate Bill 2 are just for starters. Right around the corner are higher business taxes, capital gains taxes and more mandates on small businesses.
At this rate, when Democrats are done our economy will have gone from the best in the nation to record high unemployment and massive revenue deficits — like the last time they were in control in Concord.