To The Daily Sun,
As the legislative session of 2014 begins, the buzz in the State Capital centers mostly on state revenues and budgets. One of the larger issues, is the surplus of $72.2 million. State Senator Jeanie Forrester, recommends ( LaconiaDaily Sun 1/4/14) that $15 million of the $72.2 million be transferred to the "Rainy Day Fund" as required by law. In my opinion, this is a logical move and makes sound business sense for two reasons:
1. It builds a good foundation for those times in which the state is faced with unplanned crises, and
2. he R.D.F. supports a favorable bond rating, not only the state, but the state's municipalities as well. Yet, according to the Josiah Bartlett Center for Public Policy, in years past, many politicians have lacked the will or more importantly the discipline to follow the law.
A case in point: Senator Hosmer of Laconia, a Democrat, in response to Senator Forrester's recommendation, dismisses the intent of the "law" and thinks the money should be available for the Department of Transportation for roads. However, according to the Granite Status News (May 20) and the Department of Transportation, the state is currently spending $600 million a year on roads and bridges — figure Mr. Hosmer conveniently leaves out of the discussion. Moreover, since the Rainy Day Fund was established in 1987, there have been six governors in office. Of those six, two were Democrats who removed monies from the fund. Gov. Shaheen withdrew $37 million dollars and Gov. Lynch pulled nearly $80 million from the fund to cover his huge budget deficit in '09. Gov. Lynch also raided the road toll fund of $8 million, money that could have been used for road and bridges. If Mr. Hosmer is so insistent on spending, and not following the law, perhaps he should contact former Gov. Lynch, and demand the money be returned to the road toll fund.
We already know, governor's and certain legislators have a penchant for disregarding the law and the state's Constitution, but the public, expects legislators to follow the law and act in a fiduciary manner that promotes good public policy.
Last Updated on Friday, 17 January 2014 01:02
To The Daily Sun,
Who wouldn't like a 4 percent increase in their pay scale? Is it a barebone plan? I certainly would love a 62 percent increase in the employer share of my health care. As a retired person, my Social Security COLA went without an increase in 2010 and 2011, and only in 2012 and 2013 did we get a modest increase of 1.5 percent. My pension has not seen a cost of living increase in over four years.
What about the taxpayers? I see no concern for us at the Belknap commissioners meetings, except from the convention delegates.Colette Worsman has always been front and center for we the taxpayers. I applaud her energy for lower taxes.
We the taxpayers should be shouting how can we afford this! Where will the money come from when our pockets are being emptied by increases in health care, food, gas, and housing. We should be calling the commissioner's office and voicing our concerns at 527-5400.
What about the taxpayers? What is happening in their family lives? Will the 4 percent increase with health care benefits effect their pocket books? Each town/city has seen its own tax increase. If you add them together, the percentage is extremely high. The budget in Meredith for example includes a increase of 1.25 percent for salary adjustments for all 72 employees, together with a step increase of 2.5 percent for 60 eligible employees. Property taxes are projected to increase 4.2 percent.
A statement by Ms. Deborah Shackett, Belknap County administrator: "Nominal wage increases included in this budget will not come close to making up for the decreasing take home pay for all employees over the past three years." My question to Ms Shackett is, do you really think the residents of Belknap County can be excluded from your statement?
I would like to address another issue, which is one of respect for one another and their opinion. Rep. Dennis Fields has been disruptive at the meetings. His insulting behavior toward the chairwoman of the delegation, Colette Worsman is unacceptable and unconscionable. Mr. Fields should come to the meeting with new ideas and a mind-conscious vision of how to solve problems, instead of insulting remarks. The meetings are about facts and data, not approval from the commissioners! The budget is not about small money or pennies as stated by Representative Gulick! We the taxpayers are the main source of the money, and this is not addressed by the commissioners!
Another alarming incident occurred when Colette Worsman greeted Commission Chair John Thomas, and said "Hey how are you?" His response was, "Go to Hell." This is unethical and unacceptable from an elected official! This is verbal abuse and an immediate apology should be expressed to Colette and printed in the newspaper! Voters please remember this in the next voting cycle.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 15 January 2014 12:33
To The Daily Sun,
Representative David Huot, in The Daily Sun, wrote a commentary on Medicaid expansion. In his colloquy, he attempted to demonstrate why the State
of N.H. should accept more federal money for Medicaid. However, Rep. Huot drifts away from explaining the real reason of not expanding Medicaid and in
doing so, faults the N.H. Senate and in particular the Republicans for the delay. However, Rep. Huot, as a learned jurist, knew or should have known, the U.S. Supreme Court in upholding the Affordable Care Act—stated "the Government cannot withhold Medicaid funds from the states, if the state(s) decide whether or not to implement the Medicaid expansion". Hence, the Medicaid money will be available when the state decides to accept the funds.
Furthermore, it strikes me as odd that Rep. Huot attempts to confuse the real intent of providing health insurance coverage and the need for Medicaid funding. For instance, he claims there are 58,000 citizens who can't afford health insurance. Yet, according to the N.H. Center for Public Policy, 34,000 of those 58,000 citizens already have private insurance. He further mentions, the regular consumer who buys beer and Dunkin' Donuts should do more of it. The reasoning: the more they spend, the more the meals and room tax contributes to the state's General Fund.
I think we can agree, most consumers and businesses alike, purchase medical insurance coverage with earned dollars, because they wish to. This has nothing to do with buying beer or Dunkin' Donuts, which brings us to the central issue of Representative Huot's commentary.
When David Huot was a judge — prior to his most recent foray into the political arena— he qualified for free medical and dental insurance. And at that
time, judges made no payment or contribution for this coverage. Somehow by a way of custom or design, this coverage was and is currently funded by the state's General Fund. Now it becomes clear, the reasoning for buying beer and Dunkin' Donuts.
In my opinion, it is one thing for Rep. Huot to suggest the current Medicaid system needs more money, but it is quite another, to be critical of Senate
Republicans who wish not to burden the state taxpayers with more debt, while Rep. Huot enjoys free medical insurance supported by all of the taxpayers.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 15 January 2014 12:28
To The Daily Sun,
Joe Kenney is the best and most qualified as successor to the Executive Council seat left vacant by the passing of Ray Burton. If you liked Ray, here's why you will love Joe.
Joe is a patriot who has served the country and the people of N.H. serving as a U.S. Marine Lt. Colonel and as a 14-year member of the state Legislature, six years as a senator and eight years as a representative. This experience provides him with the knowledge of the inner workings of the state government.
As a fiscal conservative, he will expose those who are big spending elected officials and provide honest evaluations and explanations of the actions of those who are supposed to serve and protect the people who put them in office.
Joe Kenney is by far the only proven quantity among those candidates from either party to qualify for a seat on the Executive Council.
Joe will be the peoples' representative.
Vote for what is best for N.H. and its citizens. VOTE FOR JOE KENNEY in the Republican primary on January 21st and in the general election against Mark Aldrich on March 11th.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 15 January 2014 12:09
To The Daily Sun,
I am proud to live in Alexandria, where residents mean what they say and say what they mean! We have been harassed by the threat of Wild Meadows Project for over a year now and we are still strong, and united, in our opposition. Last March, we voted against industrial wind turbines in our town. Apparently Iberdrola didn't take our vote seriously and has since submitted agreements to our selectmen, as well as filing with the SEC to move forward with the Wild Meadows Project. This past week, residents of Alexandria overwhelmingly rejected negotiating any agreements with Iberdrola. Why? Because we mean what we say and say what we mean! We didn't want the Wild Meadows Project a year ago, and we don't want it now!
Support vs. opposition in Danbury, Alexandria, and surrounding towns regarding the Wild Meadows Wind Project, being pursued by Iberdrola, is nothing new. Every project in every town, everyday, over many centuries has received support and opposition — that's the way it goes. However, every 3-year-old in America understands that MAJORITY RULES! Why doesn't Iberdrola understand this? Every registered voter had the opportunity to vote. They could choose to vote for the project, against the project, or not to vote; that is their right. Even a three year old understands the bottom line — MAJORITY RULES!
Last Updated on Wednesday, 15 January 2014 12:03