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This week, New Hampshire legislative committees in both the House and Senate heard testimony on two bills, including one which would make it a felony punishable by up to 20 years of imprisonment to knowingly use responsible investing (ESG) criteria when investing state funds. 

The New Hampshire House Committee on Executive Departments and Administration unanimously voted against recommending the bill for passage, while the Senate counterpart heard testimony from business leaders, the New Hampshire Retirement System, and teachers on the harmful consequences of passage.

As Marty Carlin, the representative of the NHRS said during the Senate hearing, the anti-ESG legislation would interfere with the NHRS’s financial obligation clearly stated in New Hampshire’s Constitution and the law to make the most money for the system’s members.

Unlocking America’s Future spokesperson Kyle Herrig issued the following statement:

“The diverse group of witnesses who testified against these bills this week shows the vast unpopularity of anti-responsible investing laws. Everyone, from teachers unions, to business groups, to the administrators of New Hampshire’s state retirement funds themselves, know that this is a bad bill, promoted by self-interested special interests who don’t actually care about the financial reality of Granite Staters. The House Committee’s choice to vote against the bill was a great first step to completely throwing out these bills with the garbage.”

Research has consistently shown that attacks on responsible investing, like the ones in New Hampshire, endanger the financial well-being of everyday Americans, especially in the form of higher taxes and lower returns on retirement savings.  

  • The Kansas State Division of the Budget projected reduced returns of $3.6 billion over 10 years for the Kansas Public Retirement System if anti-ESG investment restrictions were adopted. 
  • The Arkansas Public Employees Retirement System estimated they could lose $30-40 million each year due to an anti-ESG bill requiring public divestiture from institutions using ESG-related metrics. The Arkansas Teacher Retirement System estimated an additional $7 million in losses each year as a result of the legislation. 
  • According to the state’s Chief Investment Officer, the Oklahoma Public Employees Retirement System could face $9.7 million in taxes, fees and commission costs if it is forced to divest from BlackRock, Wells Fargo, JP Morgan Chase, State Street Corp, and Bank of America because of anti-ESG legislation. 
  • An economic analysis found that taxpayers in six states — Kentucky, Florida, Louisiana, Oklahoma, West Virginia and Missouri — could be on the hook for up to $700 million in excess interest payments if restrictions on sustainable investing are implemented.

  • A 2022 study found Texas’ anti-responsible investing laws would result in up to $500 million in undue interest over the first eight months of enforcement, costs which would ultimately be borne by taxpayers in the state.