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Bill would increase New Hampshire unemployment benefits

Unemployment benefits in New Hampshire could increase for the first time in more than a decade under a proposal legislators will consider next year.

New Hampshire Employment Security has recommended a change that would come at no additional cost to employers, who finance the benefits through a per-employee tax paid into the unemployment trust fund. Officials say that fund has rebounded from the strains it faced during the recession and could now absorb an increase in benefits. The increase would be the first change to unemployment benefits since 2002.

A bill proposed in the House this year would make the recommended changes. Rep. William Infantine, one of the bill’s sponsors and a member of the Advisory Council on Unemployment Compensation, said the increase is appropriate. The Manchester Republican said the “very, very small” increase was necessary to keep benefits consistent with other New England states.

The proposed increases would vary, depending on an individual’s annual income before unemployment.

Individuals receiving benefits are placed in tiers depending on the income they earned before unemployment, said Dianne Carpenter, director of the unemployment compensation bureau. The increase for each tier of benefits would range from less than 1 percent to more than 11 percent.

New Hampshire Employment Security said the increases were targeted at helping individuals with annual earnings between $11,000 and $37,500. That amounts to a weekly benefit increase between $3 and $25, according to the agency’s proposal.

Employment Security Commissioner George Copadis said in a statement that the time is right to increase benefits.

“Considering we have been able to provide relief to the business community by removing the surcharges needed to rescue the trust fund during the last recession and the trust fund has rebounded and is performing well and is projected to continue to perform well, we feel it is only fair and appropriate to support increasing rates that have not been touched in over a decade,” he said.

New Hampshire took several steps in the last four years to save the fund. As it faced a potential deficit, surcharges on the employer tax were imposed in 2009 and 2010. They have since been eliminated, as the trust fund reached its targeted benchmarks. The fund had as little as $15 million in 2010; Carpenter said it now has $250 million.

Infantine said the proposed changes should be viewed in the context of those efforts.

“New Hampshire was extremely successful doing this,” Infantine said. “In fact, I was told at the national level it was referred to as the ‘New Hampshire solution’ when other states were trying to figure out what to do when they were having the same trouble.”

The unemployment advisory council voted this month to recommend the changes.

Sen. Andy Sanborn, a member of the advisory council, did not attend the meeting but said he would have voted against it.

“On one hand we’re surcharging the business community for the funds, and then we’re talking about giving an up to 11 percent pay increase in the benefits,” said Sanborn, a Bedford Republican. “That’s just not in the cards right now.” The tax surcharges Sanborn cited are no longer in effect – one was eliminated last fall, and the other was cut at the beginning of 2013.

Sanborn added that it was most important to encourage job creation.

“My No. 1 focus is trying to make sure that everyone has a good job,” he said. “And that should be our state’s focus.”

Gov. Maggie Hassan supported the proposed benefit increase in a press release from New Hampshire Employment Security.

“Considering the health of the trust fund, increasing benefit rates for the first time in over a decade will help those searching for employment and their families while providing an important boost to our economy as unemployed workers purchase essential goods and services,” Hassan said in a statement.

Rep. Jeffrey Goley, a Manchester Democrat and the bill’s primary sponsor, could not be reached yesterday.

Infantine is the only Republican sponsor of the bill, which he hopes will not become a partisan issue.

“Some will definitely use this as a political ploy to show, ‘Look at what we’re doing for the working man,’ ” he said. “That’s garbage. This is appropriate and it has nothing to do with politics, Republican or Democrat.”

(Laura McCrystal can be reached at 369-3312 or or on Twitter @lmccrystal.)

Legacy Comments40

to Carson below..."So how do you fix the 21st centuries version of the production line, without the people.???"...Start making the stuff for the production lines???? Good idea??

To get back to the issue of unemployment. I was an IT Manager up to 2009 and there were 8 people in my dept. From 2004 up to 2009 it dropped to 3. We managed approx 1400 desktops and 5 server farms. Through layoffs and attrition our users stayed the same but with automation and remote software we could handle the work with 3. So 5 positions were lost not due to funding issues but because of streamlining. Sure losing 5 jobs is not a crisis but this same thing was happening in IT across many industries, costing thousands of jobs. These are jobs that won't return. Manufacturing was hit even worse by automation. They to are jobs that won't be back. So it is not just slackers being let go or people that don't want to work. The jobs were already going, only the bursting of the housing bubble brought home the problem with a huge thud. This is an issue that can't be fixed by partisan politics. We have been letting technology replace us and we can't just say enough, stop. So how do you fix the 21st centuries version of the production line, without the people. Yes, they always said technology would make our lives easier and give us more time for what we want. Nobody told us that would mean more time to find work.

Sail often makes valid issues. They go unanswered for the most part. The economy is very rarely discussed by the left. Basically they ignore what is going on in regards to the ACA, the taxes included in the ACA, small business issues because of this administration, and why the business climate has been stagnated. We also never chat about this administration's programs that have failed, how much money has been wasted on green energy, and what it will cost the middle class in regards to the ACA. We also have different opinions about what income level is middle class. Tillie is not snide in my opinion, she basically goes after anybody that dares to question President Obama's policies. When she does, she very rarely discusses the issues. Just accuses the person of being horrible. She even admitted she likes doing that, reads only news that agrees with her, and when folks call her on it, she goes ballistic. The tactic is deliberate, put folks on the offensive with the hope they will respond emotionally. I do not agree with a lot of what the Reps have done, basically they have fallen for the traps the left have set for them. Both sides are acting likes kids on a playground saying I know you are but what am I.

Ballistic? I always know when I have hit a nerve when the right wingers get personal. You guys don't just question Obama's policies, you question his motives, call him names, (socialist,etc) and get downright rude and disrespectful even to his office. I do not just read news that agrees with me, I just refuse to read right wing propaganda like Fox or now even the WSJ which is just a Murdock offshoot. Why watch junk?

If I could suggest something.....I read you accusing people of being "personal" but in all honesty, I am not sure if you realize it but your responses get very personal. Just saying.

You all just take yourselves much too seriously. We are all just spitting in the wind. No one is going to change their politics or way of thinking because of something posted here. We all just want to scream louder than the other guy.

Untrue..I have changed how I viewed or thought about several issues because of something posted not. What's that called again????

Basically Tillie you believe that this President should be given a pass and not judged on his performance, and how his performance impacts us, the economy, taxes, etc. Calling someone a socialist is nothing more then stating someone believes in big government. You would be hard pressed to prove this President is not all about big government. As far as what you read or watch, obviously you are under the impression there is no left wing propaganda. There are some folks who go too far with the judgment of President Obama, that was also the case with Bush. The difference is that Bush had no protective cover from the media, President Obama has the media covering for him at every turn, he happens to be black, and the fact that he is black has been used to silence folks who disagree with his policies. Personal attacks. enemies lists, and calling folks names as opposed to discussing the issues, does nothing but divide us even more.

I have noticed in the past, many of these right wing posters never seem to read past the headline before they start posting their outrage.

And I've noticed you left wing posters do not read the entire comment before you comment...

Actually I plead guilty to that. Sail or Ista for instance. When you read one of them you have read them all. Mr. Haas I find incoherent and most of r/w pposters seem to go completely off subject just to make anti Obama points, which I just skip over. Nothing new there. You just like to write quick zingers with no point to make, but mostly they are interesting to read and rebut.

Not sure how to respond to that comment. I don't think that it is about "anti-Obama". About half of the population does not agree with Obama policies and agenda. Do you expect people to remain silent and allow him to run ramshot over their wants, desires, beliefs. Politics consumes us today and here is my analysis. Democrats were out of power for 8 years and their attacks on Bush mirror what is going on with attacks on Obama now. When the party out of power gets back in, they take things to the extreme. Democrats this time are trying to quickly dismantle society as we know it. Our economy has been in the tank for 5 long years and regulations, policies, rhetoric and a press that carries the water for the Left is not helping with the situation. When times get desperate, people get desperate and they start to accuse others of being selfish, greed, etc. If you always do what you have always done, you will get the same result. Obama and Democrats can't see the forest for the trees in that regard. When have you successfully rebutted a point on here. You criticize others but have little to offer beyond pat talking points from the Democrat playbook and offering snyde comments and attacks on others. Until this changes on both sides, there is little hope for any unity in this country.

Snide remarks are in the eye of the beholder. I am a Democrat so obviously I use Dem points as you use Republican (or right wing) talking points. See I think big money, like the Kochs and the Citizen United decision are dismantling American Democracy. We have survived civil war, dishonest Presidents, war, depression, even the loss of First Amendment rights under the red scare, but I don't think we will survive the buying of our democracy by big money.

I am sure you meant to say, part of our economy has been in the tank. As in the middle class. The wealthy have been amassing wealth with narry a hic-cup. Our congress has done nothing but wage a non stop partisan war, everything except addressing issues that matter. Big money is having a hay day putting us at each others throats telling us who we should blame. You say half the population does not agree with Obama, so what, what about the other half. Did I miss the memo that picked your side to be in charge? This letter was about those that are unemployed and a small rise in benefits not about who is to blame. For the record, a snide attack on SAIL doesn't count, he hasn't raised a valid issue or point since day one of Monitor comments. You are at least coherent even tho I seldom agree with you.

In order for a reader to judge for themselves the validity of GCarsons's comments here is a MUST READ :

Very good article but after reading it I still don't buy his conclusion completely. The author made a statement that - "When a Democratic Congress passed the president's massive $800 billion stimulus bill, seven-eighths of the total went to transfer payments like Medicaid, food stamps and sending a check to millions of Americans who do not pay income taxes." Well examining the line item expenditures of the bill I came to a total of slightly more than $204 billion or 1/4. I stand by my belief that the rich have been getting richer while the middle class bears the brunt. There is not enough space here to make a detailed rebuttal and I don't think I could do it justice. But I want to tip my hat to you, this is the kind of debate I like, no name calling, no insulting Obama and none of the usual canned cliches. I do agree with the following theory. "The rationale for ARRA was from Keynesian macroeconomic theory, which argues that, during recessions, the government should offset the decrease in private spending with an increase in public spending in order to save jobs and stop further economic deterioration."

Clarification - when referencing tarp, the author stated that 7/8 went to a particular purpose, I believe it was closer to 3/4 of the total.

The Columbia study shows that Messrs. Ohanian and Hagopian's research is hardly an outlier. The Congressional Budget Office released a study that came to a similar conclusion in October 2011. I think I will choose to disregard your back of the envelope math.

1) CBO:Top 40% Paid 106.2% of Income Taxes; Bottom 40% Paid -9.1%,Got Average of $18,950 in ´Transfers´, 2) Government redistributed more than $2 trillion in income from the top 40 percent of American society to the bottom 60 percent in 2012, top 1 percent shouldered nearly half of the more than$2 trillion. ...... No serious student of Economics can tell you that Keynesian economic theory works. In fact, a wealth of actual data compiled from countries that have tried the failed theory - PROVE it does not has that NObama BIG Govt Trickle up plan been working for ya?

Good read Sail! You made your point.

It was a good read with a decided right wing slant. The writer was in no stretch of the term unbiased. I still fail to see anything that dispels my belief. I don't think a venture capitalist and fund manager with close ties to the GOP is actually a source for the final word on the topic. I don't need a rich Harvard grad with all of his partisan accolades to tell me what I see every day. Or to tell me how we got to where we are. I also am unable to so easily point my finger and say which party is to blame. For the record that would be all politicians.

I agree with you that ALL politicians are to blame as they are self engratiating, ego centric, small minded for the most part and only interested in keeping their hold on their job, power and authority. It is time that we limit terms and demand that politicians serve the people and not ideology. I was listening to an interview with Marco Rubio on CNN and the interviewer was asking him why he took a certain position against the Republican majority. His response was that he represent the "people" who elected him. The host was shocked that he took that as more important than standing with his party. Rubio did the right thing.....the press thinks that was shocking. What does that tell you?

Itsa, I'm pretty much on the same page with you and GCarson with regard to this. The higher up you go, the more beholden politicians are to those who bankroll their campaigns. This is true on the Left AND the Right. I don't know if term limits would solve that because the next crop of candidates would still owe fealty to their financial backers.

Candidate hustling votes asks the farmer how many kids he has......Got six says the farmer......Are they all good little democrats – he asks......Five of them are but my oldest boy….he’s got to readin

TYPICAL democrat solution. = does nothing to solve the unemployment problem. Responsible Republicans elsewhere have offered a "Relocation benefit" to help them move to where jobs actually can be found. That is the kind of responsible legislation you get from Republicans - solution based legislation - not the more of the same BIG GOVT knows best failures shown in the democrats record

careful what you ask for - last report I saw NH was raked as 9th lowest in unemployed. Shall we expect an influx of unemployed people? In reality these programs were nothing more than getting the people out of one state with a bus ticket and pushing them on to another state. Is that really what you call solving the unemployment problem.

this is a NH Bill and even moving from Newport to Portsmouth to find a job is unattainable for many stuck in the liberal progress economic failure rut

Correct Sail, Democrats should look to North Dakota.

Why are we looking at ND, because they have half our population, lower than average pop with college degrees or is it their lovely climate? Curious as to why? I had friends stationed at Minot and they knew cold.

That 3 letter word

Because if we harvested our natural resources, this would recover our economy: Wal-Mart workers are making upwards of $20 per hour. All other skilled workers are earning 6 figures.

GCarson. There have been some newsworthy changes occurring in miracle turnaround of fortunes in ND - do you really need us to name one?

Not necessary, I did not get the context of the reference. Itsa, your mention of WalMart wages and skilled workers wages are factors that can be specific to size of the pool of workers. When you compete for workers you normally have to pay more. The biggest single factor in the miracle of ND is tied to it's oil fields. Even though Texas has an oil based economy their wages are kept low due to the size of it's work force. Unfortunately, NH has no oil, we have tourism, conversely ND has as much tourism as we have oil. So the miracle of ND is a comparison not unlike apples to oranges. Not to fault ND by any means, but we have 147 people per square mile, ND has 11.7 per sq. mile. Better description of their miracle is oil.

You missed my point. My point is that when you harvest our natural resources, employment follows. However, the EPA, Sierra Club, progressives, Democrats, etc. do not encourage this. If we want to be energy independent, we need to harvest our natural resources now and if companies want to participate we can require them to spend half of those profits on alternative energy research. My point is that if we encourage the private sector and cut back on some regulations, the workforce will flourish.

I don't suppose you noticed who sponsored this bill, his reason extensively quoted in the story.

Why, I believe it was a Responsible Republican

two more LIDV that dont know what a RINO is. I can also bet the farm that neither have in their entire lives actually set foot in the Legislative Office Building for a hearing of a bill.

You'd lose that bet. And I do know what "RINO" means.

If you re-read the article I believe you will notice in print the following FACT : Rep. Jeffrey Goley, a Manchester Democrat and the bill’s primary sponsor...... Infantine is the only Republican sponsor of the bill....hence = RINO.. the forum is open you and nellie to post an apology for your insults

I applaud the move to increase benefits. I'd also like to see a provision that modestly increases the reserve fund year by year until it reaches somewhere around 500 million.Dropping to 10 million is way too close to nothing. Perhaps it's time for new benchmark numbers for it. There is a sound way to accomplish both goals, and reasonable people should be able to find the means to accomplish it.

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