Hansen off base regarding business tax remarks
To the Editor:
I strongly disagree with statements made in the press recently by Amherst Rep. Peter T. Hansen. He implied that business taxes are too high in New Hampshire and blamed Democrats for slow job growth.
Rep. Hansen cited figures that business taxes are 60 percent of total revenues in New Hampshire as compared with 35 percent in neighboring Massachusetts. That’s not surprising since Massachusetts total revenues are greatly inflated by income and sales taxes that do not exist in New Hampshire. These figures say nothing about the actual business tax burdens.
The tea party mantra that taxes should be reduced across the board does not make sense in New Hampshire. We are fiscally conservative already because of our overall tax structure and volunteer legislators that don’t get paid enough to cover their expenses. The mindless reduction in the New Hampshire tobacco tax driven by Republicans in 2011 backfired in a decline of $20.1M in revenues during it’s first fiscal year of operation.
Tea party Republicans took control of our legislature in 2010 after saying they were “laser focused on job creation.” Instead they crafted a large number of bills promoting social re-engineering, cutting medical services, reducing education curriculum requirements and cutting the UNH budget by 40 percent, consolidating power at the State level at the expense of our towns, instituting voter ID and bringing loaded guns and stand-your-ground laws to the streets. After this “bait and switch,” we threw a lot of them out of office in 2012.
U.S. businesses which pay wages that would improve the New Hampshire economy often complain about lack of a skilled workforce and poor infrastructure as reasons for locating elsewhere. Hopefully, improvements to I-93, recently approved by Governor Hassan, will address some of the infrastructure issues. But NH needs to figure out a way to attract and retain more college educated people that can provide the needed skills including the entrepreneurial skills to start new businesses here. This will not be accomplished by slashing education budgets.
From his voting record, I conclude that Rep. Hansen’s main interests are: (1) Making sure that loaded weapons can be carried anywhere in public and used to apply deadly force with civil impunity to defend oneself or anyone else the shooter “thinks” is in mortal danger, (2) Controlling female reproductive rights, (3) Making it more difficult for some students, poor and disabled citizens, and seniors to vote and (4) Opposing foreign education programs and the UN. He also voted for making mandatory references to elements of the Magna Carta (originally issued in Latin in 1215 A.D.) whenever individual freedoms are discussed in New Hampshire legislation. I don’t see an emphasis on creating new jobs here beyond a temporary increase in gun shops.
You can examine Peter Hansen’s voting record and how he is rated by various organizations at the website smartvote.com. His ratings from outside conservative groups that spend a lot of money trying to influence our elections are stellar. But his ratings from the NH Business and Industry Association are pathetic. Understandably, NARAL Pro-Choice New Hampshire, that specializes in protecting a woman’s reproductive rights and access to healthcare, rates Rep. Hansen’s voting at 0 percent.
In 2013, Rep. Peter Hansen was featured in New Hampshire and national media because of a crude reference to women he made during a discussion of stand-your-ground legislation. Many businesses are run by women these days. That widely distributed comment is not likely to encourage them to move to NH.