NH House Rep. J.R. Hoell (r) Merrimac, is sponsoring legislation in 2016 (HB 1686) which would repeal the the community heritage investment program.
For those not familiar with this program more commonly known as LCHIP ( Land and Community Heritage Investment Program) it " is an independent state authority that makes matching grants to NH communities and non-profits to conserve and preserve New Hampshire's most important natural, cultural and historic resources. Through this investment Program every $1 in resources brings back more than five times local, private, federal funds, and helps to secure NH's greatest business advantage: The quality of life and traditional values of our state."
According to the Methodology contained in the analysis of the bill " The New Hampshire Land and Community Heritage Investment Program (LCHIP) and Treasury Department state this bill repeals LCHIP, the LCHIP trust fund, the LCHIP administrative fund, and LCHIP's funding mechanisms effective July 1, 2017. Funding for the trust fund comes from the $25 surcharge applied to recording fees collected by county register of deeds. This bill requires all funds held in the LCHIP trust fund to lapse to the general fund on June 30, 2016. "
LCHIP has been funded since 2008 with the fees charged on four types of documents that are recorded at all the County Registry Offices across the state. These $25 fees generate about $4,000,000 per year and held in a Trust Fund at the New Hampshire Department of Treasury. Since 2000, $37M has been invested with 315 gants in 151 communities ( including Moultonboro) , conserved over 268,000 acres of land, preserved or revitalized 180 historic structures and leveraged more than $245M in funding from other sources.
LCHIP works by providing a funding mechanism to at no cost to the state’s general fund, to preserve what are really our greatest advantages. Why throw it away for $4M in revenue? We should not continue to raid designated funds to balance the state budget. We pay fees to support those funds, and we should not have to question whether that money is going towards its stated purpose.
If you feel as I do that this bill is shortsighted and will cause much more harm than good, please contact the NH House Finance Committee where the bill currently resides and voice your opinion.