Column: N.H. GOP hides real reason for surplus

Published: 8/1/2022 12:40:57 PM
Modified: 8/1/2022 12:37:48 PM

The Republican’s summer agenda is on full display in Greg Moore’s recent op-ed titled “Latest round of tax cuts for employers continues to drive state’s booming economy.” The model is simple: give false credit for New Hampshire’s surplus to the business tax cuts that Republicans gave to large, out-of-state corporations and call it a boon to the economy. What is missing in each of these pieces is any recognition of the federal funding that made this surplus possible and the programs that Republicans left on the chopping block during the last budget cycle.

We are thrilled to see New Hampshire’s surplus. But giving tax cut after tax cut to corporations was not the driving factor. The federal dollars secured for us by our Democratic federal delegation were. To cite a few examples:

■ Our federal delegation brought $50 million in federal mortgage assistance funding to New Hampshire through the American Rescue Plan.

■ They delivered $4 million through the bipartisan infrastructure law in order to clean up contaminated and blighted sites.

■ $23,347,272 from HUD to support affordable housing right here in the Granite State

■ $12,417,525 to support 12 New Hampshire health care providers that have experienced revenue losses and expenses related to the COVID-19 pandemic

■ $9,467,458 in federal funding from HUD’s Continuum of Care Program

The list goes on but the message is clear, without the millions of dollars brought into New Hampshire through the hard work of our federal delegation, the current surplus would not be possible. Not only that, once the federal money runs out New Hampshire tax payers will be left to offset the balance of the Republican decisions to offer relief to massive corporations over their constituents. Already, we have seen Republicans leave essential program funding behind, even with a budget surplus, in favor of corporate tax handouts. Programs like:

■ $100,000 for the Foster Grandparent Program

■ Nearly $5 million in catastrophic aid payments to hospitals

■ Over $20 million per year in municipal revenue sharing

■ $750,000 for congregate housing provided under the Medicaid waiver

Again, the list goes on. There were real efforts made this year by our federal delegation to ensure that New Hampshire families had the tools and services they needed to thrive under unprecedented circumstances. Many of those investments into our state will last for generations to come.

In the state Legislature, Democrats in the House and Senate fought for real, long-term tax relief legislation that would benefit individuals, families and businesses. Legislation like the Property Tax Relief Act of 2022, which was tabled by Republicans because they believed the money wasn’t there. Meanwhile, Republican legislators prioritized long-term tax breaks for corporations and one-time measures for their constituents. Measures that, once their “relief package” sunsets in 2023, will leave a $128 million gap that taxpayers will need fill.

Republicans have done what they set out to do and put corporations over people. Had they really wanted to help New Hampshire businesses, they could have invested right here at home. They could have followed Sen. Soucy’s lead and raised the filing threshold for the business enterprise tax again. They could have signed Sen. Whitley’s Modern Economy Act into law and provided funding for traditionally disenfranchised business owners. They could have passed SB 144 which would have expanded access to affordable child care and helped Granite Staters get back to work. Instead, they settled on a plan built from smoke and mirrors that will do nothing to benefit the people of New Hampshire down the road.

To our federal delegation, we thank you as always for putting the people of New Hampshire first. To our Democratic colleagues in the state Legislature, thank you for fighting for real financial relief, no matter the circumstances.

State Sen. Sue Prentiss (D-West Lebanon) represents Senate District 5 and State Sen. Lou D’Allesandro (D-Manchester) represents Senate District 20.

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