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My Turn: The wrong priorities

For the Monitor
Published: 7/3/2021 8:00:06 AM

It’s said your choices reveal your priorities and the choices in the state budget signed into law last week by Gov. Sununu set forth the priorities of the Republican majority. The state budget is about more than cutting taxes and spending. It’s about the kind of future we want for our state and its citizens. Unfortunately, the budget is a reverse Robin Hood where the state is giving enormous tax cuts to rich citizens and wealthy out-of-state corporations, while ignoring our neediest.

Who benefits from this? Rich investors. This budget includes $10 million of taxpayer money, our hard earned dollars, to reimburse the reckless investors who got caught up in the Financial Resources Management Ponzi scheme. These investors failed to do their own due diligence before investing millions of dollars in a get rich quick scheme. Now they blame the state for their losses and expect the state to reimburse them. Nowhere in this county have taxpayer dollars been used to reimburse Ponzi scheme investors. This misuse of our tax dollars will be the first public payoff to Ponzi investors.

But there is more, a windfall for a small group of rich investors. Within the budget is the elimination of the Interest and Dividends Tax. Nine out of every ten dollars of this tax reduction will flow to the top 20% of earners and half of the benefit will go to just 209 taxpayers, the top 1% of income earners. If Republicans wanted to benefit small investors, they could have simply raised the threshold where tax is owed. What a gift to the wealthy!

More good fortune is ahead for large corporations. The reduction in the Business Profits Tax flows to a small group of mostly out-of-state corporations. A mere 5% of the filers pay 95% of the BPT and just 76 filers pay half of all the BPT. The majority would have you believe that business tax cuts are how we grow our small in-state businesses. The reality is that small businesses are not the real beneficiaries, and this tax cut is not going to make or break any business. This reduction in our main source of revenue is nothing more than a giveaway to large donors and a talking point in the next election.

Meanwhile, the priorities in this budget ignore the basic needs of thousands of our citizens. The $5 million a year being spent to reimburse reckless investors could be used to provide dental care to Medicaid recipients. Money could have been sent to cities and towns to lower the education property tax, to invest in infrastructure, or to address many other unmet needs. Despite cutting hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue and finishing the year with $161 million in the Rainy-Day Fund, Republicans stated that they just do not have the money.

The state budget is about priorities. This Republican budget prioritizes 209 large investors. It prioritizes 76 large corporations. It prioritizes large political donors. It prioritizes Republican talking points. All while playing reverse Robin Hood with our tax dollars. These are not the priorities or the future that Democrats would choose for our state.

(Mary Beth Walz is a NH state representative. She lives in Bow.)

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