THIS SESSION of the New Hampshire Legislature was such a disappointment.
It was to be expected that the Republican majority and Governor Chris Sununu would have fiscal differences with the Democrats. However, the focus on re-cutting corporate taxes in favor of large foreign companies, after previous rounds of corporate tax cuts, has been an eyebrow. In addition, Republicans decided to give wealthy residents of the state a gift by lowering interest and dividend taxes and decided to abolish them entirely within two years.
Will Republicans ever care as much about homeowner property taxes as they do about big corporations and the rich?
It was also expected that the so-called Freedom Caucus, made up of the far-right members of the Republican majority, would try to impose their radical ideas on their peers. What was not to be expected was that most Republicans, including the leadership, would give in to the radical members so easily.
When six members of the Republican caucus claimed the 2020 election was a scam and demanded that the results be canceled, there was a collective shrug from the leadership. Oh, there was a mild disagreement, but no formal effort to censor or even blame it. Spokeswoman Sherman Packard was too busy withdrawing Democratic MP Rosemarie Rung's committee assignment because he thought she was overly critical on Twitter of a New Hampshire police chief who had participated in the January 6 protests in Washington.
It was sad to see Republicans adopt the agenda of a group of lawmakers so far removed from the mainstream. I thought there were 25 Republicans who would be willing to take a stand against the extremist takeover and to refuse a majority for the worst bills.
Not correct. The Republicans only cared about the expansion of the "Stand your Ground Defense" in New Hampshire. They had already made it harder and harder to prosecute gun crimes by enacting laws that allowed someone to use lethal force in self-defense even when they had the opportunity to safely retreat. At that meeting, they expanded that law to include a right to self-defense if someone shoots out of a car.
Just hope you and your loved ones aren't in the line of fire if the bullets fly while you run errands because Republicans are turning our state into the Wild West.
If only Republicans loved the First Amendment as much as they loved the Second. Instead of extending protection, they voted to censor and threaten educators. I don't know how they expect teachers to have a discussion of white racism in the United States without using the words “white” and “racism”, but they seem to be expecting it.
The New Hampshire Republicans supported a strong public education system. No more. Instead, they have surrendered to those who support the siphoning of funds from public schools to send to religious and private schools. They are introducing a voucher system that sends thousands of dollars per student to private schools.
Private and religious schools already receive public support for their facilities through exemptions from property tax. Now we have to support their operating budgets with the property taxes we have paid. Here's a better idea. If Republicans insist on taking over private schools, why not reverse the business or interest and dividend tax cuts to pay the extra subsidies instead of using property taxes? Using taxpayer money on private schools is still a bad idea, but not forcing homeowners to pay even more subsidies to these institutions?
Then there is the criminal law against voting. The Republicans, with the support of Governor Sununu, will now force any woman who has had an abortion to have a medically unnecessary ultrasound. They will also force women to continue late pregnancies even if the fetus cannot survive after birth. Contrary to what Republicans would have us believe, these trials are rare and heartbreaking for families.
There's not enough space to list all of the Republican stupidities (like allowing armed weapons on snowmobiles – who saw this coming?). It was a disappointing session because our legislature, our governor and our state should be better.
Kathy Sullivan, from Manchester, is the former chair of the New Hampshire Democratic Party.