"Lord, the money we do spend on Government and it's not one bit better than the government we got for one-third the money twenty years ago."
Democrats oppose HB 335 and oppose HB 354, which would have reduced the Business Enterprise Tax, because they think with higher tax rates they will get more money for them to spend. They don't realize that slightly lower taxes now can encourage more businesses to open or expand in NH, thus increasing tax revenue in the future.
HB 370 would repeal school choice for lower income families. The current Education Tax Credit allows businesses to donate money to a scholarship organization, and then take a partial credit against their business taxes for their donation. The scholarships are targeted toward families with below-average income. Recipients can send their kids to a public charter school, to a different public school, or to a private or parochial school.
Democrats proposed HB 370 to repeal the Education Tax Credit. For a party that claims to believe in a woman's right to choose, the Democrats oppose a woman's right to choose what school to send her children to. They think the government should make that choice for her, based solely on her zip code, not on what is best for her children. They claim that the program costs money that should be spent on public schools, but the fiscal analysis shows that repealing the program will actually cost the state money.
The repeal probably will pass the House on a party line vote. If you believe in lower income families having more choice about which school is best for their children, there is still time for you to contact your Reps and ask them to oppose this bill.
The week of February 19-22, there will be another 113 public hearings, and the House will vote on 74 more bills. Here are some of the more interesting hearings:
Tuesday, 2/19 10:30 in LOB (Legislative Office Building) room 201 - HB 617, increasing the gasoline tax and registration fees. Anyone who wants to testify can just show up and sign in, then wait your turn.
Wednesday, 2/20 9:15 LOB 102 - SB 183, repealing photo ID for voting.
Thursday 2/21 10:00 in Representatives' Hall, HB 290 and then HB 609, both having to do with carrying firearms. They obviously expect a very large turnout to have scheduled Reps' Hall instead of a normal LOB committee room.
HB 290 would prohibit unlicensed persons from openly carrying a pistol or revolver in a public building. The sponsors clearly don't understand this simple truth: law-abiding citizens obey the law, criminals ignore the law. Criminals don't openly carry weapons; they carry concealed without a license. This bill would take defensive weapons away from the good guys and do nothing to take guns away from the bad guys.
HB 609 would allow the voters of each school district to authorize licensed school employees to carry a concealed weapon on school property. We all hope that the occasion will never arise where a criminal intent on mass murder makes his way into a school, but if the unthinkable happens, would you want a licensed school employee to be able to stop the murderer? This bill does not mandate concealed weapons; it lets the voters of each district make that decision. This is local control as it should be. One other point - some bad guys will be deterred just by the thought that some adults might be armed, even if in fact nobody is actually armed.
In the coming weeks we will learn more about Governor Hassan's proposed budget. Already it is apparent that her revenue estimates are unrealistically high. Legislators will have to make some hard spending choices that she avoided making.