Governor Sununu’s Budget Package
On February 14, Governor Chris Sununu delivered his budget proposal to a joint session of the House
& Senate. In his proposed budget he includes another $30 million for the “InvestNH” program “to bring
hundreds more units online quickly to help address the lack of available units”.
His budget also renews the state’s investment in housing by appropriating $25 million to the affordable
housing fund, which provides low-interest loans and grants for the construction, rehabilitation, and/or
acquisition of housing intended for families or individuals with low-to-moderate incomes.
The proposal also includes a new “Historic Housing Preservation Tax Credit”, which would provide eligible
properties statewide new tool that incentivizes reuse for housing development. Businesses or contributors
who invest in an eligible property would receive a tax credit equal to 65% of their contribution to the project that could be used against their business taxes. The program is capped at $5 million in tax credits annually.
N.H. House Special Committee on Housing
In addition to the Governor’s efforts, N.H. House Speaker Sherm Packard has appointed a special committee on Housing, intended to help increasing housing inventory in the state. The committee won’t have bills referred directly but will help look at legislation through that lens. Specific focus areas include government imposed barriers and property rights, translating to loosening regulations.
NHRLA Priority Legislation:
SB26 relative to asbestos actions. This bill seeks to introduce transparency into asbestos-related law suits
when claims have also been filed against an asbestos trust, several of which were set up at the time the
asbestos manufacturers were declaring bankruptcy. Currently a trust claim may state that the asbestos
exposure was a result of the plaintiff working on a particular job site, whereas the civil action may claim that the plaintiff purchased materials containing asbestos from a retailer. These are conflicting claims from the same plaintiff and would be discovered with greater transparency, without which the retailer’s involvement may be eliminated, but only after expenses legal bills have been incurred. NHRLA’s goal is to prevent members from being dragged into a legal proceeding frivolously and incurring unnecessary legal bills.
Opponents, primarily trial lawyers, claim the bill is unnecessary as these lawsuits do not happen in New
Hampshire. Opponents also were successful again in convincing veterans’ groups that the bill’s enactment
would mean they lose rights and the ability to achieve compensation, which proponents of the bill dispute.
The opponents also pointed out to the committee that no specific NHRLA members were identified in
our testimony. Though NHRLA did not demonstrate that New Hampshire members have been dragged
unnecessarily into a lawsuit, we have several months to gather information to present to the committee. If
you have been brought into an asbestos lawsuit, please share about your experience by emailing the NHRLA Government Affairs Coordinator, Nicolina Schonfarber, at email@example.com.
The proponents, having a late start on the bill, were able to convince the committee that the bill is worth
further consideration. The Senate Judiciary Committee decided the bill should be “re-referred” to committee, meaning essentially, they have extended the deadlines on the bill and will keep it until late fall or early winter when they will send the bill out with a recommendation for action by the full Senate in January 2024.