As introduced House Bill 628 attempts to solve a problem that doesn’t exist to create a problem that didn’t exist. It framed a scheme for taxing income to backstop a medical family leave program so state government can create a new office to manage the tax. New Hampshire doesn’t have what most people think of as an income tax. But as originally designed HB628 would put into place the people and power necessary to add one which I believe is its real purpose.
A small army of activists has been working uphill against an establishment that seems hellbent on getting this passed despite any no-tax pledges and Republican registrations. So, far that effort has amounted to very little but the bill was recently amended.
One commenter on Facebook, speaking to the changes, noted that,
The amendment no longer has the state levy a tax, since it no longer has the state running a program. However, it would be a mandate on businesses, with the employee having the ability to opt out. That said, there should be no illusion that a) the amendment is still awful policy and b) there’s a good chance the House will reject the amendment and go back to the original bill.
It is a mandate on employers but not the state. You WILL do this, but we don’t have too.
All employers except the state and its political subdivisions shall provide family and medical leave insurance, provided that any employer participating in a self-insured plan or who is self-insured may opt out of family and medical leave insurance upon certification by the commissioner or authorized representative that the employer provides an equivalent benefit for its employees.
Employees can jump through hoops to avoid the mandate but employers cannot. Since most employers in New Hampshire are small business owners, the cost of adding this mandate will have to come from somewhere which means hours, wages, services, prices or staffing. Likely a combination of all of them.
Keeping that in mind, consider the findings the Bill’s authors use to justify this use of force against job creators.
The general court finds that disability insurance for non-work related employee health issues coupled with family and medical leave insurance will help New Hampshire attract and retain workers, including younger workers, will enable parents to bond with biological, adopted, or foster children, will help meet the needs of an aging population, will advance the health of New Hampshire’s workforce and workplace stability, and will enhance worker retention and productivity. The general court therefore finds that it is in the public interest to establish a system of disability insurance for non-work related employee health issues and family and medical leave insurance (FMLI) with benefits to be provided to qualified workers on a limited basis.
Big business must be smiling. They probably already have this or can absorb the cost while their smaller more agile competitors may struggle with it, some to the point of being pushed out of the market altogether.
And Insurance companies must be ecstatic. A Republican majority legislature and a Republican governor pulling a mini-ObamaCare in the Live or Free or Die State?
The General Court should find that the people can work these things out more effectively than 424 busybodies in the state legislature, which is true of almost every issue. Sadly, they feel compelled to ‘do something’ which too often means making life miserable and more expensive for job creators who have better things to do with their time, their money and their employees than try to satisfy another mandate from the ‘experts’ in Concord.
The next vote in the NH House is March 21st. The amendment sucks. The Bill itself sucks. Please reach out to your Reps and ask them to kill the whole thing.HB 628 amendment
Update: I had the wrong number of busybodies. Well, probably not, but I meant the legislature.