NASHUA BULLETIN                        March 6th2015


Welcome to the Chamber's weekly legislative newsletter, The Advocate!  With the start of the new year comes the start of NH's state legislative session.  For those of you who have been active with our Chamber for a while, you already know to expect this legislative newsletter in your inbox each week. It provides a recap of what happened in Concord each week, and previews what is coming up in the following week that pertains to various business interests. We hope you find this weekly publication informative, and a great way to stay attuned to what is happening in Concord that impacts southern NH's business community!


Senate Approves BPT and BET Reduction Bills (SB 1 and SB 2)

Yesterday, NH businesses had some encouraging news when the Senate approved SB 1 and SB 2, the bills that are designed to reduce the BPT and the BET (SB1 reduces the BPT in phases from 8.5% to 7.9% through 2019, and SB 2 brings the BET down to .675% in the same time frame). These bills have become something of a political football, and almost immediately after the vote was taken Governor Hassan came out with a statement questioning how the state would replace the revenue lost through the reductions in business taxes flowing from these bills. The supporters of the bills, however, remain confident that conservative rates of economic growth will fill that gap (hence the phased-in nature of the cuts) and that the state needs to create incentives that will attract and retain businesses, especially in an environment which (as we know from experience and from what we heard at our legislative symposium in January) is not as business-friendly as some would like to think.


Next stop for these two bills is the Senate Finance Committee.

Tax Credit Bills Also Get Senate Nod (SB 201, SB 215, SB 217)

The Senate also took a look yesterday at three tax credit bills: SB 210, which increases the annual limit on the new investment tax credit from $5 million to $8 million; SB 215, which would create an option to receive the R&D tax credit through a direct rebate; and SB 217, which would establish a new job creation tax credit. All of these were passed by a voice vote, but they were then laid on the table before they were sent to third reading (the mechanism which would send them over to the House). This means that these will all be wrapped into the discussions on the state budget, which will be in the Senate by early April.

House Labor Nixes Credit Check Prohibition (HB 365)

Should employers be allowed to conduct credit checks of employees? That question has been considered several times by the legislature over the course of the past few years, and each time the legislature has declined to create any prohibition on the practice (a practice that seems to be exceedingly rare in any event). This week, the House Labor Committee spent close to an hour debating the merits of this year's installment. Supporters of the bill argued that employees deserve privacy. But opponents reminded their colleagues that (consistent with what the Chamber has been saying) these sorts of decisions are best left to the employer, and that in any event it is unlikely that an employer will go to the trouble of paying to have such a check done except in circumstances where such a check is truly necessary. At the end of the debate, the Committee voted 11-8 to recommend that the bill be killed, and that is the likely outcome when the bill reaches the floor next week.

In Other News...

March came in like a lion for many legislative committees this week, especially on the House side. The House Commerce Committee, for instance, had almost 60 bills to vote upon.


Among the committee votes taken this week, the House Labor Committee decided that the full House should kill HB 600, a bill opposed by the Chamber. This one would have created new sick leave mandates on employers. As Rep. Keith Murphy told the Committee during the debate before the vote, this bill would cost employers hundreds of millions of dollars. Across the hall, the House Science & Tech Committee unanimously rejected HB 252, which if passed would have prohibited the divestiture of Eversource (the new name for PSNH) assets (this on the heels of divestiture bills over the past few years that would have required divestiture). The Committee correctly concluded that this issue is better left to the PUC. Finally, in the "nothing-new-under-the-sun" category, Right-To-Work is back, but the bill (SB 107) failed to gain passage in the Senate yesterday, with the Senate deadlocking 12-12. While the Chamber philosophically recognizes the spirit of this bill, we also recognize that the political and practical dynamics of this issue will very likely prohibit the issue from ever becoming law in NH.  This will come up again later in the session, as there will be similar bills coming over from the House. 

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Devine Millimet

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Febraury 20th, 2015
Febraury 6th, 2015 
January 30th, 2015 
January 26th, 2015
November 5, 2014
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