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On their agenda: NH SENATE DEMOCRATS WANT TO ROLL BACK BUSINESS TAX CUTS.

Members of the newly elected Democratic majority in the NH Senate say they want to freeze business tax cuts--including those that just went into effect--increase the minimum wage and mandate payroll deductions to pay for family and medical leave under their majority as the new legislative session begins.

Each of the initiatives has a bit of a twist intended to make them more palatable to business, and possibly Republican Gov. Chris Sununu.

The Democrats--who also have a majority in the House - announced their "Granite State Opportunity Plan" in December.

The business tax bill--which will be introduced by Sen. Lou D'Allesandro, D-Manchester, would suspend the business profits tax rate at 7.9 percent, the rate it was before New Year's, when it went down to 7.7 percent. (Under previous legislation, it would eventually go down to 7.5 percent in 2021.) The business enterprise tax rate would remain at 0.675 percent instead of going down to 0.6 percent and eventually dropping to half a percent.

The Senate proposal would differ significantly from one from Rep. Susan Almy, D-Lebanon, chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, and backed by House Speaker Steve Shurtleff. Hers would repeal all previous BPT tax cuts, meaning the tax rate would return to 8.5 percent, but leave the BET alone.

Under the Senate bill, the money saved would be distributed to towns and cities, with the expectation that they would use it to lower property taxes. Many small businesses pay more in property taxes than they do in business taxes, said Senate Majority Leader Dan Feltes, D-Concord.

Other proposals from Senate Democrats:

* A paid family leave bill would be similar to one that passed the Republican-controlled House last year, but failed in the Senate after Governor Sununu objected to it. It would impose a payroll tax deduction of .05 percent on private employees. That would go into an insurance program that would pay workers about 60 percent of their salary for 12 weeks so they could care for a sick relative or child, or to recover from an illness themselves.

* Increasing workforce development and job training funding by using money from the state unemployment insurance funds

* Protecting some aspects of the Affordable Care Act - such as preexisting conditions and Medicaid expansion - by loosening work requirements and increasing rates to some Medicaid providers

* Increasing the net metering cap fivefold, allowing larger businesses and municipalities to get credits for generated renewable energy that is returned to the electric grid. Governor Sununu vetoed a similar bill last year.

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Title Annotation:IN BRIEF
Author:Sanders, Bob
Publication:New Hampshire Business Review
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 18, 2019
Words:423
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