CONCORD – Following today’s announcement by the Community College System of New Hampshire Board of Trustees of a five-percent tuition reduction beginning in the 2014 fall semester, Governor Maggie Hassan issued the following statement:
“Making higher education more affordable for all of our families is one of my highest priorities as we work to build a stronger workforce that will lead to innovative economic growth. I applaud the leadership of the Community College System of New Hampshire for their decision to reduce tuition and their continued commitment to the success of our students. This important step forward for our workforce builds on the progress we made in last year’s bipartisan budget to restore investments in higher education in exchange for a tuition freeze.
“Our community colleges continue to modernize and innovate by developing nimble and cutting-edge programs, offering more online education options, and aligning their programs with the needs of the business community. Through these partnerships, we are developing a stronger workforce pipeline that can help existing businesses grow and attract new companies to our state, and we are helping students develop the skills they need for good jobs in the 21st century economy.
“I thank the Legislature for working with me last year in a bipartisan effort to provide the investment that helped make this tuition reduction possible, and I am grateful that CCSNH took this step to make higher education more affordable. I look forward to working with the higher education community, businesses, and legislators from both parties to continue our progress and ensure that New Hampshire’s workforce is the strongest in the nation.”
During roundtable discussion, Rep. Kuster was joined by New Hampshire women business leaders, female students, and other women who shared their stories and called for Congress to prioritize Kuster initiatives to improve the economic security of Granite State women
NASHUA, N.H. – On the heels of Equal Pay day, this morning Congresswoman Annie Kuster (NH-02) unveiled her new “Women’s Economic Agenda,” a plan for Congress to help level the playing field for New Hampshire women. A diverse group of female business owners and other women joined Kuster in unveiling her plan. These women shared their personal stories with Kuster, and underscored the need for leadership in Congress on issues that affect their ability to succeed in this economy. This morning’s event kicked off a series of roundtable discussions Kuster will hold to hear from women throughout the Second District during the next two weeks.
“It is astonishing that even in the 21st Century, women continue to make only 77 cents to the dollar of their male counterparts’ salary. We must prioritize initiatives that will help eliminate the wage gap between genders and encourage women to pursue successful careers during these challenging economic times,” said Congresswoman Annie Kuster. “Today, I unveiled my new Women’s Economic Agenda, which outlines a list of initiatives that Congress must pursue in order to level the playing field for Granite State women and support their full economic success.”
Kuster’s new Economic Agenda includes initiatives to address the wage gap between genders, the importance of a fair minimum wage, tax relief for working families, efforts to better support women entrepreneurs, the urgent need to invest in the education of our children from early-childhood through college, the need for women’s comprehensive reproductive health care, and the importance of job training and workforce development, among other issues. Participants in this morning’s event included local women who shared their personal stories and representatives from a variety of New Hampshire organizations who support efforts to bolster women’s economic success.
“I was so grateful to hear from the Granite State women who shared their own personal stories with me today. Their stories demonstrate the extreme need for Congress to prioritize the initiatives I outlined in my Women’s Economic Agenda, and it is on behalf of them that I will continue to fight for things like equal pay, access to childcare, more contracting opportunities for women business owners, and so many other issues that are crucial to the success of our women professionals.”
“Fair pay, access to childcare, workforce development, small business ownership and job training programs affect not only the success of women, but of every Granite State family. These are issues that we all must embrace in order to support the economic development of our great state. I’m so appreciative that Congresswoman Kuster is taking the time to fight for the issues that matter most to our women and our families back in Washington,” said MaryAnn Manoogian, Director of the Center for Women’s Business Advancement at Southern New Hampshire University.
As a member of the United States’ first all-female Congressional delegation, Kuster has worked to level the playing field and create equal opportunities for Granite State women since taking office. She is a cosponsor of the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would increase the effectiveness of remedies available to victims of pay discrimination on the basis of gender, and she has successfully pushed the President to issue executive orders to support fair pay for federally contracted employees. Kuster has also hosted a series of roundtable discussions with women business leaders from New Hampshire to hear directly from them about what she can do on the federal level to help New Hampshire women succeed in the workplace. These roundtables helped inform the crafting of her Women’s Economic Agenda. During the two-week April work period, Kuster will hold discussions with New Hampshire women from a variety of fields throughout the Second District, and she is committed to fighting for their best interests in Congress.
The private prison system is making massive profits by keeping people incarcerated.
The US has the largest number of people incarcerated per 100,000 than any other country in the world.
On top of all of that, CCA and other private prison companies are using inmates as cheap labor. They pay prisoners $.50 cents per day, while CCA is being paid $55 dollars a day to keep them incarcerated.
Privatization of the US Prison System. An Infographic from ArrestRecords.com
The reference links below:
The United States Congress took several votes last week on policies that will impact children and working families if passed.
After many weeks of debate and delay, the United States Senate passed a temporary extension of federal unemployment insurance. Retroactive to January 1st, the insurance would help the 2.3 million unemployed jobseekers who suffered the loss of this critical aid, which plunged families into even greater hardship. While an important first step, this measure now needs approval in the House of Representatives. The leadership of that body has no immediate plans to vote on it. They will act only if they hear from you. Click here to contact your Representative and tell him or her to vote to extend these crucial benefits. Type in your information and you will be patched through by phone to your Representative.
The House of Representatives voted 219-205 in favor of the budget resolution drafted by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan. This budget would dramatically cut programs that promote and protect the health, education, and safety of children, particularly those in low-income families. Fortunately, nothing further will happen with this budget. The Senate will not vote on it, and the spending levels for next year were set last December in a House-Senate agreement. The problem is that after this year, the mindless automatic budget cuts Congress calls “the sequester” will come back and attack Head Start, child care, K-12 education, and other vital programs again. Congress has big decisions coming up soon about whether to maintain or strengthen investments in children or cut them back dramatically. We will keep you informed on how you can help defend children.
The minority in the Senate blocked a vote on a measure to help address the reality that women are paid $10,784 less per year than men – enough to buy groceries for 92 weeks. Women are breadwinners in two-thirds of families and head more than 15 million U.S. households. When women and their families lose thousands of dollars in critical income each year, they have significantly less money to spend on food, gas, rent and other basic necessities. The consequences for America’s children and families are significant. We thank the 53 senators who voted for this. This issue will not go away.
Our Members of Congress are now on recess for two weeks. Please give them a call and ask them their positions on unemployment insurance, the budget, and equal pay.
GROWING UP GRANITE
There have been several pieces of legislation this session around EBT (Electronic Benefit Transfer) cards and cash assistance. I am not going to jump into the fray of what should or should not be allowable purchases with an EBT card. A House legislative subcommittee will soon be working on that issue.
I will, however give you some facts. In New Hampshire, needy individuals can receive both food stamps and cash assistance on an EBT card. In order to receive cash benefits through the State’s Financial Assistance to Needy Families program, you have to be either poor and blind; poor and old (over the age of 65); or poor and permanently and totally disabled.
The federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or TANF, program is available for those who only meet the poverty qualification. TANF can serve needy families for a maximum of 60 months, though the average duration in the Granite State is a little over 18 months. TANF is funded by both the federal and state governments. The maximum TANF grant for a parent with 2 children is $675.00 per month. According to the newest grant to rent report from the Division of Family Assistance, the average rent in NH for an apartment for a household of 3 is $726.00 per month.
So now imagine that you are a mom with two kids and you need to rely on TANF while searching for a new job because the company where you worked for the last 6 years just closed.
These are the realities of life on TANF and food stamps. There is no digging deeper to provide the extras for the kids. The Legislative Task Force to Study the Adequacy of the TANF Grant (HB1461) released these findings in November of 2007:
The Task Force determined that TANF grant levels do not provide adequate opportunities for many parents to get a fair shot at getting a job that enables them to support their children. The costs of housing, child care, food and transportation outstrip the ability of families forced to rely on TANF to pay for them. This makes it more difficult for parents to obtain jobs or to participate in training, education or other activities that would make it more likely they could leave TANF and to provide a safe, secure and healthy family life for their children while making this transition.
Children who live in poverty are often influenced by family stressors that others do not have. It should not be their problem to worry about where money is coming from for their next school trip or groceries next week and yet they do. This can humiliate them further if they are called out for wearing clothes that don’t fit them or are not the current “fad”, or made to feel different when they don’t have the money for school or sports activities.
While the support of friends is beneficial to children, the humiliation of peers pointing out what they are lacking can be devastating.
The effects of a child’s poor self-esteem can influence the quality of their education as well. If they are not feeling confident in their own abilities, it then can influence the outcome of their schoolwork and possibly their future employment prospects. This is one reason why the cycle of poverty in a family from generation to generation can be hard to break.
Before our legislators contemplate any changes to how needy families receive their benefits, it is my hope that they keep in mind that children are involved in the process. While they rightfully believe that they have a responsibility to use taxpayer dollars wisely, they also have a responsibility to act in the best interest of the children.
Congresswoman Annie Kuster Tours I-93 Construction Project and Calls for Increased Federal Funding for Infrastructure Projects
Kuster recently called on House Leadership to provide additional funding for the Highway Trust Fund in order to ensure projects like I-93 expansion can continue
NASHUA, N.H. – During a tour of the I-93 expansion project in New Hampshire’s southern tier, Congresswoman Annie Kuster (NH-02) called for increased federal investment in our roads and bridges. New Hampshire Department of Transportation Commissioner Chris Clement and New Hampshire State Senate and House Transportation Committee Chairs State Senator Jim Rausch and State Representative Candace Bouchard, among others, led the Congresswoman on the tour and stressed the importance of continued funding for infrastructure projects like this one.
Last month, Congresswoman Kuster wrote a letter to House Leadership urging that funding for the Highway Trust Fund, which funds projects like the I-93 expansion, not be allowed to run out. As it stands today, the Highway Trust Fund is scheduled to drop below a critical funding threshold by June of this year, which could delay payments to states for vital infrastructure repair projects.
“We must make repairing our roads and bridges a top priority,” said Congresswoman Annie Kuster. “Projects like the I-93 expansion not only help protect the safety of Granite State residents, they also provide better transportation options for our state’s workers, spur the economy, and create jobs. I call on House Leadership to work to quickly find a solution to fund the Highway Trust fund, which is so critical to projects like the one I toured today.”
Kuster went on to call on her colleagues in Congress to support general infrastructure investment in order to protect public safety and promote economic development in the Granite State and across the country.
The widening of a 20-mile segment of I-93 is one of the largest infrastructure improvement projects in New Hampshire history. Not only will the expansion project make the corridor safer for New Hampshire drivers, it is also creating many needed construction jobs for Granite State workers. Congresswoman Kuster believes that a robust, safe, and efficient transportation network is critical to protecting public safety, growing our economy, and creating jobs in New Hampshire, and she has been a staunch supporter of this project.