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CONCORD, NEW HAMPSHIRE – Today, the House of Representatives approved the Committee of Conference report on House Bill 1, sending the budget bill to Governor Sununu’s desk. Following the vote, Representative Mary Jane Wallner (D-Concord), Ranking Democrat on the House Finance Committee, released the following statement:

“House Bill 1 simply does not meet the needs of our constituents or our state. Cuts to vital programs and services will negatively impact citizens most in need in our state. Irresponsible tax changes that favor large, out of state corporations and the wealthiest in our state will force our towns and communities to increase property taxes.”

Representative Marjorie Smith (D-Durham) added, “House Bill 1 underfunds preventive health care like contraception and cancer screening, reduces the family planning line from previous budgets, and does not take into account the loss of federal funds due to the Tile X gag rule. Despite the claims that no funds are cut, there is a cut of $3.2 million for the entire family planning network – a network with the shared mission to provide quality, affordable services to all Granite Staters, regardless of income or zip code, including rural areas which we know are underserved.”

Representative Sharon Nordgren (D-Hanover) added, “One of the most pressing issues brought to forefront over the last year and a half is homelessness. This budget does not give adequate funds to DHHS to support the youth rapid rehousing program that addresses teen homelessness. We should be funding and expanding rental assistance and supportive services for our constituents who are experiencing homelessness, not leaving them out in the cold.”

Representative Josh Query (D-Manchester) added, “House Bill 1 significantly underfunds the Family Planning Program, which covers birth control, cancer screenings, and STI testing and treatment to patients all over our state. This program is about being proactive, breaking down barriers to access, and ensuring coverage for over 15,000 Granite Staters who may have lower incomes, be uninsured, or may be underinsured.

Last April, at the height of the pandemic, I was unknowingly exposed to the HIV virus. I was underinsured, unemployed, and at this point in the pandemic, we had no idea how much longer it would rage on. If Planned Parenthood had not been able to help me cover the astronomical cost of the medication I needed, I could say, almost with certainty, that I would be HIV positive. Planned Parenthood saved my life. No one should have to decide between crippling debt or potentially life threating diseases. This budget threatens the existence of the Family Planning Program.”

Representative Tom Buco (D-Conway) added, “Historically, our state has administered a financial aid program which appropriates grant funding to municipalities for water pollution control projects. When the state makes a commitment to a municipality the municipality incurs debt and builds expensive water pollution control projects. However, when the state reneges on its commitment, then the local property taxpayer must make up the difference in debt payments. House Bill 1 fails to fund 132 projects across the state, pushing the bill back down to local communities and property taxpayers.”

Representative Mary Heath (D-Manchester) added, “Under House Bill 1 as passed today, a quarter of all New Hampshire communities would receive less in state education aid in each of the next two fiscal years than they do at present. Most of those communities have property values well below the state average and will forced to shoulder an even heavier load in educating the children of our state. Rather than moving New Hampshire closer to creating a funding system that ensures every school has the resources it needs to provide an excellent education, this budget will leave many students and communities further behind.”

Representative Kate Murray (D-Newcastle) added, “The one thing this budge is most assuredly to do is raise property taxes. The supporters of this budget will tell you that this budget will lower taxes, but they are talking about business taxes. What they don’t say is that to offset the reduced revenue our towns and communities will need to increase local property taxes. Even businesses will overall pay more because they also pay property taxes. It is not the New Hampshire way for the legislature to make life harder by increasing taxes, and yet that is what this budget will do through irresponsible and misplaced tax cuts to out of state businesses while leaving behind every single property taxpayer.”

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