CONCORD, NEW HAMPSHIRE – Today, the House of Representatives approved the Committee of Conference report on House Bill 2, sending the budget bill to Governor Sununu’s desk. Following the vote, House Democrats release the following statement:
“It is said your choices reveal your priorities, and the choices in HB 2 sets forth the priorities of the majority.” Said Representative Mary Beth Walz (D-Bow). “HB 2 is more than about cutting taxes and spending. It is about the kind of future we want for our state and its citizens. Unfortunately, HB 2 is a reverse Robin Hood where the state is giving enormous tax cuts to rich citizens and wealthy out-of-state corporations, while ignoring our neediest.
This budget includes ten million dollars of taxpayer money to reimburse the reckless investors who got caught up in the Financial Resources Management Ponzi scheme. Meanwhile the priorities in this budget ignore the basic needs of thousands of our citizens. The five million dollars a year being spent to reimburse reckless investors could be used to provide dental care to Medicaid recipients. Money could have been sent to cities and towns to lower the education property tax, to invest in infrastructure, or to address so many unmet needs.”
Representative Amanda Toll (D-Keene) added, “House Bill 2 is the most regressive budget that New Hampshire has ever seen when it comes to reproductive health and rights. It includes mandatory, medically unnecessary, and intrusive ultrasounds and a cruel abortion ban that criminalizes doctors and includes virtually zero exceptions. It also drastically underfunds family planning providers. I know firsthand that no one — especially politicians in Concord — should interfere with this intensely personal decision between a pregnant person and their doctor. But that’s exactly what this budget is trying to do: prevent pregnant people from getting the reproductive health care they need. This is an anti-choice budget that will ban abortion at 24 weeks with no exceptions for rape or incest.
Representative Debra Altschiller (D-Stratham) added, “The Committee of Conference report on House Bill 2 is rooted in distrust of the reproductive healthcare facilities in our state. Despite the insinuation in the bill, there are no state funds being used to subsidize abortions, either directly or indirectly. None. House Bill 2 adds an unclear and un-funded compliance requirement to facilities already awarded state contracts. The informal fallacy present in this section presupposes that reproductive healthcare facilities are inherently non-compliant with their use of state funds, a baseless supposition. Despite all of the accusations and outrage, these facilities have proven themselves to be trustworthy stewards of our state dollars.
This section of House Bill 2 is a threat to reproductive healthcare providers in New Hampshire. It holds these providers hostage to a protocol designed to fail and endangers the healthcare of thousands of patients who need safe, affordable access to reproductive healthcare.”
Representative James Murphy (D-Hanover) added, “This budget contains escalating and progressive revenue cuts which will harm not only our current citizens but future generations to come. Several taxes for businesses and individuals are cut in this budget to the benefit of the largest multinational corporations and the wealthiest individuals in the state. These tax cuts will ultimately result in higher property taxes or diminished services, or both. In keeping with New Hampshire’s regressive education policies, proposed lower education funding, revised distribution formulas and a one-time change in the statewide education property tax will disproportionately and negatively impact property-poor districts.”
Representative Alexis Simpson (D-Exeter) added, “My background as a pastor and campus minister has meant that I’ve worked with people at their hardest times. I’ve sat with them and listened to them in the most critical and challenging life experiences that any of us could face. Over the years doing my work, I have learned a deep respect for the complexities and immense challenges of what it means simply to be human. I can assure you that, there is no such thing as a one size fits all, solution. House Bill 2, which includes a policy to ban abortion after 24 weeks with almost no exception, criminalizes doctors and health care providers, and mandates unnecessary ultrasounds early in pregnancy is a dangerous attempt at one size fits all legislating. Those who support this budget with this abortion ban believe they know better than doctors and grieving parents.”
Representative Katherine Rogers (D-Concord) added, “House Bill 2 contains an unprecedented, inappropriate, and extreme abortion ban. This ban is extreme for several reasons. It contains no exception for fatal fetal diagnoses. This means that if a pregnant woman learns in a routine OBGYN visit at 24-weeks that the fetus has a lethal form of skeletal dysplasia, meaning that the bones of the fetus are actively breaking and that the fetus will suffocate after birth, that pregnant woman cannot access abortion. This abortion ban has no exception for rape or incest. House Bill 2 would also mandate ultrasounds before an abortion. Mandating medical tests are out of line with medical guidelines and certainly doesn’t align with the New Hampshire values of privacy and freedom. Lastly, this abortion ban would criminalize healthcare professionals with the prospect of 7 years in prison and fines upward of $100,000 if they fall outside a statute of the law which was written sloppily and at the last-minute during conference of committee meetings.”
Representative Dave Luneau (D-Hopkinton) added, “The voucher program stuffed in House Bill 2 is the most expansive voucher program ever proposed in the country. Nearly three-quarters of New Hampshire’s 190,000 students in public, private, and home schools would be eligible to sign up for an education savings account – and receive a check in the amount of four-five-six thousand dollars through the state’s education trust fund – the same fund that provides grants to our public schools. Students already in private schools and home schooled are eligible for that big check.
This proposal for “Education Savings Accounts” exposes the state to more than $70 million a year in new costs, mostly going to kids who already go to private schools. That’s $70 million from the education trust fund not going to public schools. $70 million not going to help underfunded schools. $70 million not going to property tax relief.”