To The Daily Sun,
Recently, State Representative Peter Spanos submitted a letter to the editor in which he professed to have concerns about the poor and working poor and the fact that they are over-taxed, having to pay for such things as health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. I am pleased that Republicans have concerns for the less well-off and am equally pleased that Representative Spanos does not want to see those who are less able to have to pay high taxes. Perhaps then, he feels that it is the more fortunate in our society who should be paying a greater percentage. Or maybe not. He supports the "trickle down" theory of economics — a theory that says a cut in taxes on the wealthy will benefit everyone. He also does not believe that society, through government programs, should assist the poor and working poor. He voted for a budget in committee and on the floor of the House that cut funding for Meals on Wheels, ServiceLink, homeless shelters, substance abuse programs, developmental disability services, Lakes Region Community College, and would have cost the city of Laconia hundreds of thousands of dollars in education funding. If that weren't bad enough, he voted to raid funds for renewable energy ($50 million) and completely wipe out the state's Rainy Day Fund ($9 million). His votes were fiscally irresponsible and had his priorities become law, our economy and all the citizens of New Hampshire would have paid dearly —especially those whom he seemed in his letter to be so concerned about.
When it comes to the ACA and New Hampshire's Health Protection Program, early results clearly indicate that it is working. Contrary to Rep. Spanos's assertion of its "debilitating effect" on our economy he should note that our unemployment rate now is 3.6 percent and our economic growth for 2014 was tied for highest in New England and greater than the national average. Without the New Hampshire Health Protection Act, employers and families would continue to pay the hidden healthcare tax that resulted from excessive numbers of uninsured. Moreover, the New Hampshire Hospital Association has provided data that indicates that with more people having insurance, free care is declining and for the first time in 50 years overall healthcare spending has slowed.
Simply lowering business taxes will not energize our economy. Nor will it benefit many businesses (except perhaps Planet Fitness). Look at how this economic theory failed in now nearly-bankrupt Kansas and Louisiana! This tax policy will certainly continue to reduce the limited resources we have to address our heroin and mental health crisis, our transportation infrastructure and public safety, to name a few. The less the state can to do to combat these challenges, the more these costs are down shifted to local communities. After all, the needs do not disappear simply because the funding for the programs is cut. The reality is our property taxes will continue to rise because of the increased cost to police departments, fire departments, jails, etc. This down-shifting will be a drag on our economy and we will find ourselves in a fiscal crisis similar to Kansas and Louisiana.
I support Governor Hassan's veto of the budget. Even though this compromise between the Senate and the House version is much better than the original House version, more work needs to be done. I hope legislators can forge a compromise that is based on facts and puts the people of New Hampshire ahead of partisan politics.