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Not one penny of HB-636 would be actually be spent on a veteran

To The Daily Sun,

This is the 34th of my reports on the House of Representatives in Concord. Last week we tried, unsuccessfully, to clear all the bills retained from 2017 for study. We almost succeeded. I want to concentrate on two, HB-628, the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and HB-636 that established a Department of Veterans Affairs.

The FMLA is a well-meaning but poorly constructed bill. In order to make the numbers work financially, half the number of people who would likely use the program were used in the calculations. Additionally, the employee can opt in or opt out at their discretion. To pay for FMLA a 0.5 percent payroll income tax was added and called “insurance.” And if that is not enough, 45 new state employees at $4.1 million per year must be hired to do the accounting. This is really a benefit that should be between the employer and employee. While I did not vote HB-628, the bill did pass the full House and will be heard by the House Finance Committee. If it survives it will proceed to the Senate.

As a 20+ year combat veteran, I believe there are improvements to be made for our veterans. However, HB-636 merely adds to the bureaucracy. Today there are three volunteer commissioners who do a good job coordinating veteran affairs. The various departments have services that are specifically tailored for veterans. A full-time, paid commissioner of Veterans Affairs will increase the cost and will become another agency that has the potential to grow to a $1M expense in added personnel and additional overhead. The VFW and American Legion opposed this bill but like FMLA and other bills, legislators do not want appear as mean spirited so they voted to pass the legislation. I voted against this because not one dollar will be spent on a veteran (unless one is appointed the ommissioner of Veteran Affairs).

 There are a few bills left from 2017 related to energy that should be interesting in the upcoming session. They address regulations that were added to our energy sector. While they do not reduce the rates (and in reality, increase them), the legislators will feel good if they pass. One will subsidize renewable energy. The law requires electric companies to buy from renewable sources like solar, wind, wet wood which are generate electricity at inflated prices. These costs are then passed on to you and me. There may be reasons for the rules, but common sense does not apply. For instance, by specifying the source as in wet wood, requires the loggers to obtain the wood from outside N.H. to meet the needs which leads to an even higher cost. Do you think that the rate payers should bear the burden of this imposed non-competition? We’ll see how it goes in the House.

Dave Testerman

Representative for Hill & Franklin

  • Written by Edward Engler
  • Category: Letters
  • Hits: 47

Perhaps we should be paying more attention to the contents of Dr. King's sermons

To The Daily Sun,

On Monday we celebrated Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King and his great efforts in bringing about civil rights for black Americans. In Tuesday’s newspaper there was one article published from Atlanta (AP) and until you get to the last paragraph there was nothing mentioned about the Rev. Dr. King's accomplishments. Instead the authors used the space to “criticize Trump, decry racism.” How does that honor such a great individual?

The Rev. Dr. King worked tirelessly his last years to create equality in our society for people of all color and race; to erase the unfortunate boundaries of black communities, black schools, black restaurants, black stores. Blood was shed on this journey but today I see activists who want black only dorms on college campuses or a day when white people aren’t allowed on campus. It seems to me they are working to segregate our society based on race and color once again; to undo the positive actions of those who sacrificed for their integration.

Though most often called “Dr.,” the Rev. Dr. King was first and always a pastor, and wrote many thoughtful and moving sermons. These are a few passages from one such sermon, "A Knock at Midnight," which may account, in part, for the turmoil we are faced with today.

Moral principles have lost their distinctiveness. ... absolute right and wrong are a matter of what the majority is doing. Right and wrong are relative to likes and dislikes and the customs of a particular community. We have unconsciously applied Einstein’s theory of relativity ... to the moral and ethical realm. 

Midnight is the hour when men desperately seek to obey the eleventh commandment, "Thou shalt not get caught." ... the cardinal sin is to get caught and the cardinal virtue is to get by. It is all right to lie, but one must lie with real finesse. It is all right to steal ... if caught, the charge becomes embezzlement, not robbery. It is permissible even to hate, if one so dresses his hating in the garments of love that hating appears to be loving. The Darwinian concept of the survival of the fittest has been substituted by a philosophy of the survival of the slickest. This mentality has brought a tragic breakdown of moral standards, and the midnight of moral degeneration deepens.

As we seek to lessen the racial divide in this country, perhaps we should be publishing and paying more attention to the lessons in Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King’s sermons.

Althea Dunscombe
Center Harbor

  • Written by Edward Engler
  • Category: Letters
  • Hits: 46