Statement of Kate Epsen
Executive Director, New Hampshire Sustainable Energy Association and
NH CleanTech Council
On NH House of Representatives Vote Today to Raid
$51 Million from NH’s Renewable Energy Fund
Today’s 219-161 vote in favor of the amended HB 2 to raid $51 million, along with a second amendment (210-170) to take another $1.3 million from New Hampshire’s dedicated renewable energy fund is abhorrent, short-sighted and will hurt thousands of towns, businesses and citizens across the state. This raid, and others, will go on record as one of the largest takings in state history. This is not a budget our elected officials can be proud of, nor is it likely in accordance with our state constitution.
This raid on the dedicated renewable energy fund will have devastating effects on our economy, threatening thousands of jobs and depriving towns and businesses much-needed assistance to lower their energy costs, lower local property taxes, and keep our energy dollars here in NH’s economy.
House leadership has turned its back on its own public pledge to create a sensible budget for NH without raiding dedicated funds, using accounting gimmicks, or by raising new taxes. Raiding the dedicated renewable energy fund will strip ratepayer funds intended for cost-saving and job-creating energy projects, thereby creating a hidden energy tax.
This move will hike everyone’s future energy bills and deprive NH of hundreds of millions of private capital dollars that are leveraged into our state because of this successful fund. This action is a serious mistake that we trust the Senate will correct by honoring their on-record commitment "to protect the integrity of dedicated funds such as the Renewable Energy Fund as we begin to craft New Hampshire's next two-year budget." (Union Leader 1/1/2015)