Legislative Principles

In addition to the established Legislative Policy positions adopted by the New Hampshire Municipal Association membership, the following principles should guide staff in setting priorities during any legislative biennium:

1. Identify and oppose mandates that violate Part 1, Article 28-a of the New Hampshire Constitution.

2. Work to maintain municipalities’ share of state-level revenue sources (revenue sharing, meals and rooms tax, highway block grants, municipal bridge, state water and wastewater capital programs, and other state aid). Oppose proposals that reduce revenue unless there is a sustainable identified replacement source. Support efforts that make more sustainable sources for revenue.

3. Advocate to maintain and enhance existing local authority in all areas of local government.

4. Support legislation that provides greater authority to govern more effectively, efficiently, and flexibly at the local level, including local option legislation. If the legislature is considering adopting a program that is particularly controversial at the local level, support a requirement that a local legislative body vote is necessary before full implementation of the measure.

5. Support bills proposed by individual municipal members, except when they conflict with these principles or NHMA’s Legislative Policies.

6. Oppose mandated state exemptions or credits from local property taxes without substantial benefits back to municipalities.

7. Advocate for municipal representation on state boards, commissions, and study committees that affect municipal government and have non-legislative members.

8. Work cooperatively with other groups and associations to support efforts to improve the delivery of services at the local level.

9. Support municipal efforts toward effective regional and state cooperation and delivery of municipal and state services.

10. Advocate for local options for economic development and vitality in partnership, including public-private partnerships, with regional and state economic development goals to encourage the overall economic health and social well-being of New Hampshire.

11. Encourage clarity and the elimination of ambiguity in statutory language, especially in areas of decision-making authority.

The legislative principles are not in order of weight or priority. They each carry their own independent value and should be viewed in that fashion when used to determine NHMA’s position on a bill or policy.

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