City of Concord v. New HampshireAnnotate this Case
Petitioners the City of Concord, the County of Belknap, and Mascenic Regional School District, appealed superior court order that denied their motion for summary judgment and granted summary judgment in favor of the State. The New Hampshire Retirement System (NHRS) is a tax qualified pension trust for certain public employees. The petitioners, on behalf of themselves and similarly situated municipalities, counties, and school districts, filed a petition for declaratory and injunctive relief, and damages in superior court, naming the State of New Hampshire and NHRS as respondents. The petition alleged that section 52 was an unfunded mandate that violates Part I, Article 28-a of the New Hampshire Constitution. Both the petitioners and the State moved for summary judgment. NHRS took no position on the constitutionality of section 52, but filed a separate motion for summary judgment, arguing that it was an improper party and that the New Hampshire Constitution and RSA 100-A:15, I, forbid it from using NHRS trust funds as the source of any monetary compensation to the petitioners. The trial court denied the petitioners' motion for summary judgment, granted the State's motion for summary judgment on the merits, and, accordingly, did not reach NHRS's motion. The petitioners appealed, arguing that the trial court erred in granting the State's motion for summary judgment, and maintaining that section 52 is an unconstitutional unfunded mandate. The Supreme Court affirmed: "[t]here is also no indication that the amendment was designed to delegate to local governments effective control over the establishment of the state budget and appropriations. Indeed, to interpret the amendment in such fashion would bring it into conflict with Part II, Article 2 of the State Constitution, which confers 'the supreme legislative power' of the State on the House of Representatives and the Senate. Without a far more explicit indication that the people intended such a substantial alteration of fundamental legislative power, we decline to read Article 28-a in this fashion."