To The Daily Sun,
This is the 34th of my reports on the House of Representatives in Concord. Last week we tried, unsuccessfully, to clear all the bills retained from 2017 for study. We almost succeeded. I want to concentrate on two, HB-628, the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and HB-636 that established a Department of Veterans Affairs.
The FMLA is a well-meaning but poorly constructed bill. In order to make the numbers work financially, half the number of people who would likely use the program were used in the calculations. Additionally, the employee can opt in or opt out at their discretion. To pay for FMLA a 0.5 percent payroll income tax was added and called “insurance.” And if that is not enough, 45 new state employees at $4.1 million per year must be hired to do the accounting. This is really a benefit that should be between the employer and employee. While I did not vote HB-628, the bill did pass the full House and will be heard by the House Finance Committee. If it survives it will proceed to the Senate.
As a 20+ year combat veteran, I believe there are improvements to be made for our veterans. However, HB-636 merely adds to the bureaucracy. Today there are three volunteer commissioners who do a good job coordinating veteran affairs. The various departments have services that are specifically tailored for veterans. A full-time, paid commissioner of Veterans Affairs will increase the cost and will become another agency that has the potential to grow to a $1M expense in added personnel and additional overhead. The VFW and American Legion opposed this bill but like FMLA and other bills, legislators do not want appear as mean spirited so they voted to pass the legislation. I voted against this because not one dollar will be spent on a veteran (unless one is appointed the ommissioner of Veteran Affairs).
There are a few bills left from 2017 related to energy that should be interesting in the upcoming session. They address regulations that were added to our energy sector. While they do not reduce the rates (and in reality, increase them), the legislators will feel good if they pass. One will subsidize renewable energy. The law requires electric companies to buy from renewable sources like solar, wind, wet wood which are generate electricity at inflated prices. These costs are then passed on to you and me. There may be reasons for the rules, but common sense does not apply. For instance, by specifying the source as in wet wood, requires the loggers to obtain the wood from outside N.H. to meet the needs which leads to an even higher cost. Do you think that the rate payers should bear the burden of this imposed non-competition? We’ll see how it goes in the House.
Representative for Hill & Franklin
- Written by Edward Engler
- Category: Letters
- Hits: 47