Speaker Jasper explains budget deal to House members in email
NH Journal has obtained an exclusive copy of House Speaker Shawn Jasper’s email to House members describing the budget deal between Republican legislative leadership and Gov. Maggie Hassan. Read he’d Speaker Jasper’s email in full below:
For the past several months, since Governor Hassan first vetoed the state budget, both House and Senate leadership has met with the governor and her staff on a regular basis for the purpose of negotiating a plan to move New Hampshire forward. Today I am pleased to announce that we have reached an agreement that not only reaffirms the original House position, but also delivers a budget that best serves the interests of the people of New Hampshire.
Prior to voting on the governor’s veto, it will be necessary to take up a bill (SB9) that will include a number of items that were agreed upon as part of the settlement. Before making this agreement public, I felt it only appropriate that we make the details of SB9, which will be co-sponsored by House and Senate leadership, available to all House members. The actual wording of the bill will be sent to all House members later today.
Senate Bill 9 is contingent upon a veto override of HB 1 & 2. Only if the vetoes are overridden will SB9 become law. This plan gives New Hampshire a balanced, responsible budget after three months of relative uncertainty.
It contains the full tax decrease prescribed in HB 1 & 2, but their implementation is larger and faster. It will reduce the BPT in two steps, first in 2016 and 2018 to 7.9%, and reduce the BET in two steps, first in 2016 and 2018 to 0.675%. Both the BPT and BET rates will reach their lowest prescribed rate 1 year sooner than in HB2.
The business tax relief in SB9 represents the first rate cut to New Hampshire business taxes in 20 years. Tax relief realized through SB9 will benefit businesses employing 95% of New Hampshire private-sector workers.
The second set of rate reductions in 2018 are contingent upon meeting General Fund revenue goals, based on House Ways and Means General Fund revenue estimates. If the revenue goal is met, the additional rate reductions will take place as planned. If the revenue goal is not met, rates will remain constant, including previously enacted rate reductions. There are no provisions in SB9 to increase any tax rate at any time.
SB9 also funds the negotiated state employee contract. Due to savings realized by the continuing resolution the legislature is now able to say with confidence that we can fund the contract. The contract includes a 2% COLA on January 1, 2016 and a 2% COLA on January 1, 2017.
HB 1, HB 2, and SB 9 work together to deliver a balanced, responsible budget for New Hampshire that funds the state’s top priorities and delivers tax relief to improve New Hampshire’s business tax climate. In addition, we are able to fund our top priorities without raising or creating any tax or fee.
Based on input from House and Senate members throughout this process, we are confident that this proposal is something we can embrace, and fulfills our solemn duty as elected officials to craft solutions in the best interests of the people of New Hampshire.