My Pledge

I pledge to be fiscally responsible, protective of individual rights, attentive to local needs, supportive of families, and responsive to constituents.

Contributions may be made
c/o Andrew Robertson fiscal agent - PO Box 498 - Northwood, NH 03261 or online at ACT BLUE.

FB: Maureen Mann-NH House of Representatives Contact:

Monday, March 30, 2015

New Hampshire Fiscal Policy Institute Compares the Governor's and Finance Committee Republican's 2016-2017 Proposed Budgets

The NHFPI  analyzes NH fiscal policy. Their web site offers an exhaustive comparison of the governor's and Finance Committee's proposed budgets as well as analysis of other aspects of the NH economy.  Their Conclusion:

 “Compared to the Governor’s plan, the budget the full House of Representatives will consider this week would reduce investments in physical infrastructure, higher education, and other areas critical to New Hampshire’s economic future and would imperil services designed to protect the most vulnerable residents of the Granite State – the sick, the elderly, and the homeless.

Moreover, the House’s proposed budget, if enacted into law, would forego more than a quarter of a billion dollars in federal funds, including the loss of over $200 million in FY 2017 due to its failure to extend the New Hampshire Health Protection Program.

Finally, the House’s version of the FY 2016-2017 budget keeps New Hampshire on shaky fiscal ground over both the short- and the long-run; - See more at:”

Granite State Progress Exposes More Downshifting

House Finance Republicans Vote to Pass Costly Unfunded Voter ID Mandate on to Cities and Towns; Jeopardize Voter Privacy

In a party line vote, Republicans on the House Finance Committee voted to pass a costly and unfunded mandate on to cities and towns to implement the camera provision of the voter ID law. Amendment 2015-1103h eliminates the requirement that the Secretary of State provide each city and town the photography and printing supplies to implement the voter ID law. Each municipality will now be responsible for purchasing a camera, color printer, photo paper, and any other supplies necessary to comply with the provision of the law set to go into effect in September 2015.

“The House Republicans are passing a costly and unfunded mandate on to local towns and cities to implement an unnecessary camera provision of an already unnecessary voter ID law,” said Zandra Rice Hawkins, executive director of Granite State Progress. “It is clear from the hasty introduction of this amendment that sponsor Rep. Dan McGuire and the other Republicans who voted for it did not even take the time to read the current statute. McGuire told the committee that the state does not need to provide the equipment because cameras and electronic communication are already so common, implying that election moderators should just take a photo with a smart phone and email it to the SOS. However, the voter ID law specifically says the photo must be printed out in color and then the electronic copy immediately deleted.”

“If House Republicans want to change the voter ID law to an electronic record-keeping version, this raises real concerns over privacy. Under that scenario, moderators could use private phones and email accounts to transfer or store images of the electorate with no data protections whatsoever,” Rice Hawkins said.

Granite State Progress and other election protection advocates are calling for the New Hampshire legislature to eliminate the costly camera provision of the voter ID law, saving taxpayer dollars and preventing long delays at the polls.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Property Taxes: Down for the Big Guy, Up for the Rest of Us

  • A bill recently passed by the N. |
    A bill recently passed by the N.H. House that would change how utility poles are assessed in value and taxed could cost municipalities hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue, according to area local city and town managers. Photo by Rich Beauchesne/Seacoastonline

  • By Erik Hawkins
    Posted Mar. 29, 2015 at 2:01 AM

    CONCORD — A bill recently passed by the House of Representatives seeking to change the way that utility poles are assessed in value is raising eyebrows in municipalities across the Seacoast as city and town managers worry about fair taxation and a possible property tax revenue shortfall.
    According to some officials, towns and cities could lose thousands in revenue.
    House Bill 547 would change the definition of “replacement cost,” which is the current basis for pole assessments, to “the actual cost of the pole or conduit including the labor cost of installation less depreciation calculated on a straight-line basis for a period of 30 years with a residual value of no less than 20 percent.”
    The bill would enable telecommunications companies, and chiefly FairPoint Communications, to depreciate the value of their poles and conduits to 20 percent of their market value.
    “Straight line depreciation really has nothing to do with the actual market value of a pole,” said Dover City Manager Mike Joyal on Thursday, adding that most poles in Dover are more than 30 years old to begin with, and thus would have an almost negligible assessed value.
    “(The bill) seeks to unfairly reduce property taxes exclusively for the benefit of the private for-profit telecommunications industry while shifting that burden on to all other property taxpayers in the community,” Joyal continued. “It proposes to create an exception for how poles and conduits owned by telecommunication companies are assessed, which ultimately will allow them to avoid paying their fair share of property taxes based upon fair market value.”
    Joyal added that if the bill is adopted, it would amount to a loss to Dover of more than $900,000 in assessed value.
    Assessor Will Corcoran said in a letter to members of the New Hampshire House that the proposed assessing methodology “yields the lowest possible value of any methodology.”
    According to Corcoran, the bill would exempt 75 percent of the utility poles in Dover from property taxes.
    Exeter Town Manager Russ Dean has similar concerns. According to the town’s assessing department, the bill would amount to a loss of nearly $2.8 million in valuation in Exeter, and a loss in property tax revenue of between $73,000 and $105,000.
    The bill in its original form would have exempted utility poles completely, but Joyal said that, even as amended, the bill is far from a compromise.
    “That’s like saying that if someone tries to walk out of a restaurant without paying, and then offers to pay half the bill when he gets stopped, that’s a compromise,” he said.
    The New Hampshire Municipal Association has been outspoken in its opposition to the bill. The NHMA, in speaking against HB 547 before the House voted on it, called the bill “a giveaway of taxpayer money to a few influential businesses. It effectively gives certain for-profit businesses a property tax exemption simply because they want it. It is patently unfair and unconstitutional.”
    NHMA officials in a March bulletin following the House vote even asserted that many legislators who voted in favor of it were likely confused.
    District 18 Rep. Frank Heffron, D-Exeter, voted in favor of the bill, but told Seacoast Sunday last week that he was “confused” about the bill’s intent.
    District 36 Rep. Patricia Lovejoy, D-Stratham, one of the bill’s co-sponsors, said on Friday that after a long-standing moratorium on taxing utility poles ceased in 2011, multiple methods of valuation began to be used and resulted in confusing and unfair assessments from town to town. This legislation, she said, is intended to create a uniform methodology.
    “The Legislature sort of created this mess, and those of us who worked on this bill saw it was a way of cleaning it up,” she said.
    Poles and conduits owned by electric companies have been taxed by host municipalities since 1905. However, identical and sometimes the same poles owned by phone companies were not taxed. If poles were jointly owned by both types of utilities, the electric portion was taxed and the telephone portion was not.
    The law was changed several times and phone poles were eventually taxed in 1999, but exemptions were consistently renewed until July 2011, when a new state law took effect that ended exemptions for some utility companies, including gas providers and telecommunications companies. The change was supported by the N.H. Municipal Association, which issued a memo to member communities stating that elimination of the pole exemption would "result in a tax reduction for almost all taxpayers."
    However, the state Public Utilities Commission in an order dated Dec. 28, 2012, authorized FairPoint Communications to impose a surcharge on its Internet and phone customers based solely on new property taxes upon its poles.
    Lovejoy said that because under HB 547 poles would not be allowed to depreciate to less than 20 percent, “no pole is going to be useless.”
    Lovejoy is the only Democratic co-sponsor of the bill, which has eight other co-sponsors. Rep. Patrick Abrami, R-Stratham, is among HB 547's sponsors.
    The bill was voted “ought to pass” in the House on March 3 by a vote of 205 to 162, and will go to the Senate Ways and Means Committee for a hearing on Tuesday, March 31 at 9:10 a.m. in Room 103 at the State House.
    New Hampshire’s cross-over date is April 4, when bills passed by the House will be voted on by the Senate, and vice versa.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

New plans to restore some funding to DOT  include $50 million in cuts to renewable energy, increases to UNH tuition, cuts in state funding to school districts and local block grants for bridge and road repair.  See

Friday, March 27, 2015

House Budget Clears Finance Committee Again

Budget Clears Committee Again

An interesting article at NHPR. Attempts to restore some cuts to DHHS and DOT leads to further  cuts to education [UNH tuition up, adequacy funding to towns down], renewable energy and who knows where else. If you make the budget so confusing no on can figure it out does that avert the outrage?

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Why Turn Down Federal Money ?

Thought this editorial in the Keene Sentinel might be of interest.
By Martha Fuller Clark | Posted: Tuesday, March 24, 2015 9:46 am
 New Hampshire has historically seen a significantly smaller amount of your federal tax dollars returned to us in the form of services than we send to Washington, D.C. The right-wing has conducted the most comprehensive and rigorous research in this field and found decades of this state consistently funding projects in the South and in the Mountain West region.
So it was with shock that, after a week away, I returned home to work on the ever-growing pile of papers related to my work as a New Hampshire senator and found that my Republican colleagues evidently believe that D.C. does a better job of deciding how to spend our tax dollars than we do.
One of the first documents I turned to was a packet of requests to the House-Senate Joint Legislative Fiscal Committee to accept federal monies coming back to New Hampshire in the form of funding for a number of programs. This is typically a routine matter — the money is ours after all — but for reasons best known to them, members of the committee refused to accept at this time about $9 million for significant state programs. It appears that they are willing to risk losing that money to South Carolina or Alaska or New Mexico in an attempt to short-circuit the budget process and undermine a governor they couldn’t beat at the polls.
The items include, for example, 20 suits of protective gear or the new pumper truck that our tax federal tax dollars were going to pay for the Department of Safety. Implausibly, Senate President Chuck Morse has said we need to consider declining these funds lest the state have to pay for insurance for the truck, or to pay to fill its gas tank. I wonder what rationale drives rejecting funds to hire a full-time drug crimes investigator at a time when heroin abuse is at an all time high.
This is not the only manifestation of the N.H. GOP’s desire to let D.C. keep more of our money. Rep. Neal Kurk, chairman of the Joint Legislative Fiscal Committee, has expressed an unwillingness to fund the state contribution to the Medicaid expansion plan a bipartisan coalition of senators crafted last year. The state’s contribution, approximately 5 percent of the total cost of keeping coverage in place for 35,000 households that are now insured, is required under federal statute to continue this coverage and amounts to about $65 million. We have already reached fully half of those making less than $16,000 a year who are eligible. This demonstrates a willingness to consider putting the lives and health of our citizens at risk and turning their back on our most needy citizens. Perhaps Rep. Kurk can identify which states he’d like those funds to go so these families can consider relocating.
I find it hard to believe that New Hampshire’s Republicans, so vocal in their defense of states rights and local control, are now willing to let Washington, D.C., send millions of our tax dollars south and west to build schools and roads and fund first responders. Hopefully, moving forward, more reasonable voices will prevail in Concord.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Catastrophic Cuts to DHHS: Part Two

Many of the proposed cuts to DHHS are ‘penny wise and pound foolish’. Here is why:

Federal Funds: A great many DHHS programs receive matching federal grants. If we defund or underfund programs below certain standards that federal money is lost. [This is our money, paid by NH residents and businesses with their federal taxes. Currently NH receives less than $1 in federal funds for every dollar paid in federal taxes. Compare that to Mississippi and New Mexico which get back more than $3.]

Downshifting: Costs will be downshifted to our communities in two ways. According to NH law, certain social services must be provided locally. If the state does not contribute to these services the costs fall on the local taxpayer. 

Many people never consider the county portion of their property tax bill.  Cuts in state funding overall, and particularly to the county nursing home, means towns will pick up the slack or the services now provided by the county will be eliminated.

One Republican member of the committee commented when asked about county costs: I think most of the county delegations members will [vote for the cuts], they are not the ones that have to raise the money, it is cities and towns that will. ... and county budgets are such small portions of the overall tax bill they’re thinking no one will notice...when I say most I mean Republican members as this is how it will be sold to them.”

Pay Now or Pay Later:  Dismantling the Sununu Youth Center means youth with serious mental health and behavior problems will not get the help they need. Cutting mental health services at the state and community level means our fellow citizens will be denied services.  We can fund these programs now or we can pay the cost  of more prisoners later at a higher cost.

Unintended Consequences: Veterans are affected long term not just by cuts to the veterans home but by cuts to nursing homes, homeless shelters, mental health services, Meals on Wheels and similar services.



Union Leader…/20150317/NEWS0621/150319093

Nashua Telegram

NH Labor News

Nashua Telegraph
Conway Sun

NH Challenge


Sunday, March 22, 2015

Catastrophic Cuts to DHHS: Part One

Despite an improving economy, strong state revenues and low unemployment, the majority of the Finance committee of the NH House has proposed $180 million in cuts from current spending levels to the Department of Health and Human Services.  Cuts include $28 million in services to the mentally ill [while we hear “we don’t need gun control, we need more funding for mental health”], $26 million to nursing homes [despite NH facing a “silver tsunami”], $2 million and the proposed 25 beds to the state veterans’ home [thanks for your service],  and $30 million to services to the developmentally disabled.  This is the budget approved by a bipartisan vote in the Republican controlled Senate and Democratically controlled NH House in 2013.

What does all this mean to specific DHHS services and programs?  

The committee majority voted to discontinue funding for Medicaid expansion, which would leave 39,000 newly insured without health care.  Federal funding covers 100 percent of this program for the first three years and 90 percent thereafter.  The rate of NH uninsured at hospitals and health care providers has gone down, more people are accessing preventative and primary care, and health care jobs have increased. This decision also violates the MET agreement and could lead to additional lawsuits.

They voted to cut funding for Meals on Wheels, emergency shelters, homeless shelters, the veterans’ home, prescriptions drug benefits, Service Link, developmental disabilities, drug and alcohol abuse prevention, people with acquired brain disorder, county government,  Crotched Mountain Rehabilitation Center, nursing homes and mental health services.  

They proposed increases in fees for licensing child care providers and sought to remove oversight from DHHS.  Thy proposed higher taxes and fees to Nursing homes, already cut by $26 million, and added another million dollars in new fees for places like Hospice care centers.

According to Finance Division III Chair Neal Kurk, “The Finance Committee is not proposing these cuts lightly,”  but they are needed to balance the budget. Opponents argue that the cuts are “aggressive,” that the actions will “devastate the Medicaid program,” and that these cuts suggest that the state is in an economic crisis, when it’s not.

I am not arguing that no efficiencies can be made in DHHS. But the Republicans on Finance are not looking for efficiencies. They are not voting to fund the state,  lower property taxes, or care for our citizens. They are voting so they can say: “We cut spending” no matter the consequences to the people of NH. 

See next posting for some links on this  topic.