By Len Turcotte (former NH State Representative):
Here we go again, another Family Medical Leave Insurance (FMLI) bill proposed by liberal NH Democrats (HB712). Never comfortable or satisfied with the idea of the private sector providing market-rate policies, Senator Feltes and a slew of Democrat legislators want to implement a new 0.5% tax on income disguised as an insurance premium.
As with last session’s nearly identical legislation, the current iteration mandates that almost every employee in the State of NH would be forced to participate. Also like before, it conspicuously exempts public employees (that is so they can negotiate the “benefit” into their contracts and possibly having taxpayers pick up their premiums as well).
Last session, fearing a backlash to this tax, the bill was amended to make participation optional. This made the original, fiscally unsustainable bill even more so and it eventually failed in the Senate.
During the past session, I sat as a member of the Labor Committee and was privy to the days of testimony and documentation pushing this socialist program. Senator Feltes (a prime sponsor at the time) and others failed to comprehend the majority of the language contained in their own bill, as well as the supporting documentation.
More troubling, he and other sponsors were unable to grasp the basic fiscal math that made this unsustainable on its own. That, or they were simply ignoring the obvious while peddling what their “constituents” wanted, regardless of the taxpayer’s exposure. Additionally, the sponsors even failed to listen to the testimony and heed the dire, fiscal warnings of both their own paid consultants and the public agency employees who would be responsible for its administration.
Eventually, and most likely in very short order, what would occur should this bill become law, is much the same as happened with Obamacare. Initial promises and cost/benefit predictions will be impossible to meet requiring either an increase in the tax’s percentage or more likely, all NH taxpayers picking up the tab for underfunding. Back to the basic math point, you simply cannot have an entitlement program that allows one to put a mere couple hundred dollars into the system while then taking out benefits in the thousands. Yet, here we are once again.
The Governors from New Hampshire and Vermont recently announced a bi-state FMLI program administered by the private sector. Without even knowing the details of the Governor’s yet announced plan, Feltes and liberal Vermont legislators have publicly decried the proposal as a “stunt” and “inadequate.” Translating these statements, democrats abhor anything where the private sector is involved. They despise the idea that those who believe they are entitled to paid leave, should have to finance that time off by themselves, through premiums or otherwise. And they especially want you and I, the taxpayers, to completely subsidize their socialized entitlement.
New Hampshire does not need to burden our citizens with any more tax-draining, fiscally irresponsible social programs. The negative financial impacts of Obamacare, Medicaid expansion and the State’s severely under-funded public pension plans are burdens enough.
Since the Democrats hold slight majorities in the House and Senate this term, we can expect the FMLI legislation implementing a new tax to reach the Governor’s desk.
Governor Sununu, make sure your veto pen does not run out of ink. Len Turcotte – Former NH House Representative, Barrington