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Jun 22, 2016 6:08 PM

NH1 Exclusive: Hassan signs biz tax cuts; explains last year's veto

NH1 News Political Director

MANCHESTER – Gov. Maggie Hassan says that two business tax cut bills that she ceremonially signed into law on Wednesday reaffirm “that New Hampshire is a great place for businesses.”

“Senate Bill 239 simplifies the tax filing process for all of New Hampshire’s businesses, adopts the most updated federal internal revenue code for the application of the state’s business profits tax. So yes we are firmly in the 21st Century,” Hassan said at a signing ceremony at Scribe Software, a data integration and application integration company based in the Millyard.

The governor added that Senate bill 342 “addresses the so-called phantom tax.”

“It changes a very unique provision of the New Hampshire tax code to give businesses more flexibility and encourage capital investment in our state,” Hassan continued.

The governor vetoed similar legislation last year.

Asked in an exclusive interview with NH1 News what’s changed from 2015, Hassan said “last year a bill to repeal a very unique aspect of our tax law was done at the very last minute of our legislative process without a public hearing. And as a result there were real concerns that it wouldn’t work the way we wanted it to, and again the public needed to be involved in the process.”

“I’m very pleased that after that veto, when I said that I wanted to pass a law like that but we needed to make sure it really would work, the Society of Certified Public Accountants, along with our legislators, along with our staffers from our revenue department, all worked together to bring forward a really thoughtful bill that will work and that will do what businesses need to really be part of a 21st century economy and will help attract capital and businesses to the state of New Hampshire.”

Asked if higher state revenues were also part of the equation, Hassan answered “certainly we are seeing healthier economic growth in revenues and that’s critically important. But really it’s very important whenever you make a change like this to have the input of people like the Society of Certified Public Accountants and the public to make sure that complicated legislation is going to work the way that you intended to.”

In a statement, Americans for Prosperity New Hampshire State Director Greg Moore said “we are glad the Governor has completely reversed her position on demanding tax hikes in order to fix flaw in our tax code that we costing us economic growth.”

Top State Senate praises State House

Earlier, state Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley (R-Wolfeboro) complimented state House of Representatives Ways and Means Chairman Norman Major (R-Plaistow) and state Rep. Patty Lovejoy (D-Stratham) for spearheading the legislation.

“Patty and Norm did an awful lot of the heavy lifting to make sure that both of these bills were ready to go,” Bradley said.

He joked that he and state Sen. Donna Soucy (D-Manchester), who was also at the signing ceremony along state Sen. Lou D’Allesandro (D-Manchester) “had a friend who thought it should have been more the Senate way, but really, the House way worked.”

Hassan, a former state Senate majority leader, explained to the audience that “you may not have known it here, but you just saw a little bit of history. For those of you who don’t follow legislative relationships, you just heard a senator tell the House that they did it better than the Senate.”

“That does not happen very often,” the Democratic governor said to laughter.

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