Plan to lower state business tax sparks first partisan spat of legislative session

CONCORD – A Republican plan to lower business taxes sparked partisan bickering today, particularly after the state Senate Democratic leader sent an email blast asking for contributions for his caucus’ political action committee by criticizing the proposal.


The NHGOP pointed out that Sen. Jeff Woodburn ignored in his email the fact that one of his own caucus members, Sen. David Watters, D-Dover, is the lone Democratic cosponsor of the plan.


On the first day of legislative committee hearings on bills, the Senate Ways and Means Committee held took testimony on Senate Bill 1, to lower the state’s Business Profits Tax from 8.5 to 8.25 percent as of Jan. 1, 2016 and to 8 percent on Jan. 1, 2018. After the hearing, the Senate Democratic Caucus PAC sent out an email signed by Woodburn saying, “Earlier today, Republican Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley (the chief sponsor) proposed a bill that would blow a $40 million hole in the budget, so that multinational corporations can get a tax giveaway. Can you believe it?


“Instead of focusing on expanding opportunity for all, they are focused like a laser on how they can give tax breaks to big businesses,” the email said. “These tax giveaways mean big cuts that will threaten our infrastructure, schools and healthy communities. Common sense, critical services help grow out businesses and strengthen our communities. We need to be improving these services to provide economic opportunity for everyone, not cutting them so that large out of state corporations can get a tax giveaway….Let’s not start off the new year with old tricks.” The email asks for contributions.


Gov. Maggie Hassan opposed cutting business taxes during her successful reelection campaign against Republican Walt Havenstein. She charged that Havenstein’s proposed tax cuts would have blown a $90 million “hole” in the budget.


Neither Watters nor Woodburn responded to requests for comment tonight, but the chairs of each political party traded charges.


NHGOP chair Jennifer Horn said, “It’s clear that Governor Hassan and Senator Woodburn are completely out of touch with the concerns of New Hampshire’s business community when even liberal Democrats like David Watters are bucking their efforts to block commonsense tax relief. Governor Hassan’s opposition to this bipartisan legislation exposes her extreme views and her unwillingness to support bipartisan efforts to create jobs.”


NHDP chairman Raymond Buckley responsed, “Jennifer Horn is just recycling Havenstein’s failed plan for big business giveaways at the expense of New Hampshire’s middle class families. New Hampshire voters rejected Havenstein and his agenda.”

Author: John DiStaso

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