To The Daily Sun,
We have a crisis, budget cuts are essential, times are hard and we'll need to lay off half of the Department of Transportation. Now that we have your attention, we can make all these troubles go away with an 8 cent-a-gallon addition to the gas tax. This is the storyline being sold by Governor Hassan and Speaker Jasper. Would you like to hear the truth?
The deep budget cuts that the Speaker refers to are simply the same old scam they use in Washington D.C. The governor's proposed budget increases spending by $1 billion (roughly a 10 percent increase). So, the deep cuts would be a reduction in the increase proposed by Gov. Hassan.
The Speaker seems to think the people of the state will accept an increase in what he is calling a "user fee" or "road toll". This tax increase is not needed. A tax on gas is particularly hard on the hard-working citizens with the lowest incomes. This is what is called a regressive tax. Those with higher incomes can easily afford it, but those with the least will struggle to make ends meet.
This is a manufactured crisis targeting much needed infrastructure (roads and bridges) simply so that you might not notice the grand increase in spending presented in the governor's budget. Speaker Jasper is carrying water for Gov. Hassan, perhaps that was part of the deal he made with the Democrats to become their Speaker. As I type this, he is marching a bad budget bill through the House, and those who dare stick to their principles will be removed from committee assignments.
Many constituents have written me to remind me of something I know very well. Our problem is spending, not a lack of taxes.
Rep. Mike Sylvia
Belknap District 6
Last Updated on Wednesday, 25 March 2015 09:34
To The Daily Sun,
There are no words that can describe my gratitude to all the folks at the Laconia VFW Post all their effort they put into the recent fundraiser held to benefit me during my present medical condition.
I cannot thank everyone enough for all of their hard work throughout the night and organization of this event. This is such an amazing community we live in and it's been this way for many years — always coming through for people and families in need, and I just happen to be the focus of the night this time.
I feel very blessed for all of the love and support I have. The true healing is in holding people in your hearts with good intention. There were so many donations from family, friends, business owners from all over the Lakes Region and beyond it was overwhelming. I didn't even get a chance to take them all in, but I felt and saw the result. I'm forever grateful. I love you all. Thank you.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 25 March 2015 09:27
To The Daily Sun,
At Tuesday night's Belknap County Commission meeting, the commissioners heard a proposal to build a 64-bed Community Corrections Center (CCC). After listening and asking questions, they voted to find and hire an architect to create schematic drawings. Using the drawings, the cost of building the project can be determined and the money raised. Based on what it cost to build a similar facility in Sullivan County, the commissioners hope that the cost will be in the neighborhood of $7 million.
As we've heard before, this presentation argued that the therapeutic and educational programs associated with the new CCC will reduce recidivism. The former superintendent of the Sullivan County Jail was at the meeting to confirm that programs do, indeed, have this effect — if they are done properly with skilled professionals providing services to the right inmates.
The last time the commissioners attempted to contract for schematic drawings, the state representatives on the Belknap County Convention blocked them. Hopefully, our representatives will stand behind these commissioners this time and support the project. Every time they delay they only guarantee that we are going to have to pay more down the road.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 25 March 2015 09:24
To The Daily Sun,
A state representative responded to my opposition to the proposed gas tax hike letter to the editor via e-mail and I thank him for the included editorial written by Richard Barry. The piece asserts that 20-plus years ago the state took 18.2 percent of all money spent on gasoline for itself. The reasoning being that since the cost of gasoline went up, the amount of tax paid should go up proportionally. The piece further supports the need for additional taxation by asserting that the volume of gas purchased in New Hampshire has decreased for a number of reasons: more fuel-efficient cars, more hybrid cars and people are driving less. Tax raisers lament that without an increase in the fee, the amount of revenue the gas tax provides actually goes down each year. To which I say, it should.
We do not need a gas tax hike. We need less governmental spending and an increase in disposable income for the people who live here. The article fails the logic test. The largest reason the price of gas went up is that the Secretary of Energy tried to force it up to $7 a barrel for political reasons. The price rise was uncoupled from inflation and general pricing. And if we are buying less gas because we are using more efficient vehicles which are lighter they wear out the road at a lower rate. And if we are using less gas because we are traveling fewer miles then we should require less highway maintenance due to less usage. And if we are traveling fewer miles it is because we are poorer and doing less business. And if we are using other fuels then we should be getting the highway taxes from those other fuels not from gas. What we have here is a lack of legislative perspicacity.
A different state representative responded by explaining that without a gas tax increase the choices are: no snowplowing on almost all roads, many bridges closed, or in the alternative we can implement a 50 percent increase on car and truck registrations. Now that's leadership — make a straw man argument. Base the argument on false assumptions and make tax increase answer the only alternative. Please.
We all have budgets in which spending level is determined by income available, not the other way around. When we want something that is beyond our means it goes on the wish list. We must prioritize our spending. New Hampshire should, too.
The New Hampshire state budget is all smoke and mirrors. The state matches authorized spending to expected revenue. The system is laughable, constitutional, but laughable. There's no accountability or sense of personal responsibility to the results. That's why New Hampshire is the 49th fastest growing state in the nation, young people don't stay here and businesses don't come here.
Sorry, the time to tighten the belt is now. It is time to decide what's nice and what's necessary.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 25 March 2015 09:19
To The Daily Sun,
After seeing what happened at the March 16 Alton selectmen's meeting, I feel compelled to write this letter.
Loring Carr put a motion to restrict all public input to subjects that are on the agenda for that meeting. The vote was 4 to 1 to pass the motion, with Mr. Wittmann the only "no" vote. When I questioned this rule change I was told that public input was a privilege, not a right, and could be taken away at any time.
Starting immediately, we, the citizens of Alton, must write a letter to the town administrator to get permission to speak on subjects other than what is on the agenda.
"Public participation in the board's regular meetings is a privilege that the board has adopted in order to assure that persons who wish to appear before the Board and bring matters to its attention may be heard."
This statement is written in the rules governing selectmen's meetings from the town website. I feel it is our right and duty to speak. It should not be a privilege given by the people we elect to represent us. If we do not have the right to free speech, what do we have left?
I feel it is time for the citizens of Alton to call for a public meeting of Selectboard to change this statement from privilege to speak, to right to speak on any subject.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 24 March 2015 10:42