POLITICAL REFORM

Voting In NH Beco...

The House of Representatives voted 191-162 to pass SB 3, legislation that eliminates the domicile affidavit and adds over 350 words to the voter registration form used within 30 days of an election.

I voted against this bill, understanding clearly why no town election officials were in favor of this complication to our election laws.

House Democratic Leader Steve Shurtleff (D-Penacook) said, “Today’s vote in support of SB 3 was a partisan sabotage of the election process that will do nothing but confuse and intimidate new voters. This legislation adds over 350 words to the registration form that new voters will be required to read, and swear to understand, with the pressure of a growing line behind them at the polls on Election Day.”

“Requiring voters to read and comprehend an entire essay at the polls is unnecessary, intimidating, and only complicates work of election officials who will be tasked with helping voters understand the registration requirements.”

“No local election officials testified in support of this bill because the current process works well. SB 3 is an illogical solution in search of a problem that will increase bureaucracy and expenses on local taxpayers.”

“This legislation was clearly designed to placate those who buy into President Trump’s discredited assertion that fraud cost him the popular vote in New Hampshire. Leaders from both parties denounced those assertions, and as we know from the reports released following every single New Hampshire election, voter fraud is not an issue in our state.”

“Our election officials deserve support for the hard work they do preserving the integrity of our elections. Advancing the myth of ‘voter fraud’ is not only disrespectful to those who enforce our laws, it also threatens the confidence in our First in the Nation Presidential Primary.”

POLITICAL REFORM

State Budgeting S...

New Hampshire revenues are $100 million ahead of projections according to the New Hampshire Department of Administrative Services. This is good news for our state, but I’d like to dig a little deeper into what this means, and how important it is to produce accurate and reliable projections.

The House and Senate make budget and spending decisions based upon what they believe are well vetted revenue projections, but these become politically driven. When the majority party produces unrealistically low revenue numbers the budget becomes balanced at that low number.

According to State Senator Dan Feltes of Concord, if the NH Senate numbers were used and followed, we could have had more funds available to combat the heroin and opioid crisis, send more education aid back to our communities, increase aid to help strengthen our roads and fix our red-listed bridges, and potentially lower tuitions costs for New Hampshire students at our university and community colleges systems, which are among highest in the nation.

We could have done all of this, without raising taxes, and still had a strong surplus to put away in the Rainy Day fund according to Senator Feltes.

No economist, liberal or conservative, has said that the business tax cuts, in effect for such a short time, have led to these revenues. It’s simply not credible to now declare that the revenues are a direct result of the business tax cuts, he says.

Reform is needed, and politics should be removed from the revenue projection process as much as possible. It is time for more independent, unbiased approach to revenue forecasting in our budget process.

Senator Feltes recommends that we put in place a revenue estimator position within the non-partisan Legislative Budget Assistant’s office. This position would not have direct communication with legislators, except at publicly-notices hearings. They would be free of political influence to offer the most accurate revenue projections for Legislature to consider.

Starving the government through politically motivated budget decisions is not a sound way to operate.