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Please support continuation of statewide network of ServiceLink Centers

To The Daily Sun,

In 2013, the Winnipesaukee Public Health Council was developed to advocate for improved health outcomes and better coordination of services among public health partners. The council is comprised of community leaders representing multiple stakeholders from the towns within Belknap County, Franklin, Hill, Danbury and Northfield.

Representatives include leaders from municipal government, health care, social services, first responders, faith, planning, business, education, public health, elder services and citizens.

The council has identified priorities health issues in the region (based upon local health assessments). These priorities include:

— Access to health care.

— Assistance in navigating through the health-care system.

— Substance misuse.

Much progress has been made to ensure that all citizens have access to affordable health care. The New Hampshire Health Protection Program has provided health care access to people, many who have never had insurance before. Health literacy is provided through primary care practices and other programs to improve individual and community health outcomes. Community Health Centers (FQHC), provide the critical safety net with state support for those with very low income and social determinants of health compounding their personal health-care needs.

These improved outcomes will benefit individuals, families and assist in the economic vitality of our community. Please support the continuation of the New Hampshire Health Protection Program (NHHPP), and the funding of community health centers.

Navigating the health care and social service system can be a daunting task. Helping individuals and families identify their needs and assist them in connecting with services and supports are vital services for our citizens.

This is especially true in individuals/families seeking long-term care services. In a region that is getting older, these services are a lifeline, part of the safety net preventing more costly institutional care. Please support the continuation of the statewide network of ServiceLink Resource Centers.

Our family, friends and neighbors are reeling from the growing trend of substance misuse. Prevention treatment and recovery services are scant and are unable to service the growing demands for care. The impact to individuals, families, communities, and to our local economy is extensive. It is critical that we provide the services and supports needed to change the course of the lives of our citizens with addictive disorders. Please support the continuation of the New Hampshire Health Protection Program and support a substance use disorder benefit to those individuals on regular Medicaid for FY2017.

The collective result of the massive changes to the safety net would result in down-shifting to the local town services fire, police, welfare, which are already struggling with their own budgets. Not only will this be a burden to the county, it will not be a solution for the people affected. We know that in the past, down-shifting has resulted in no-shifting and the needs of the community members will not adequately be served.

As you know, the N.H. General Court Committee of Conference is currently addressing the FY2016-17 budget which will hopefully begin on July 1. We know how important these programs are to our community and hope that you will support them.

Thank you for your service to our community and for your attention to these important matters.

Members of the Winnipesaukee Public Health Council

Marge Kerns, Geoff Ruggles, Linda Ferruolo, Jim Wells, Ed Drury, Susan Smith, Melissa Lee, Richard Silverberg, David Emberley, Jane White, Jacqui Abikoff, David Emond, Susan Wnuk, Tim Kerns, Karen Grzelak, Kirk Beattie, Mckenzie Harrington-Bacote, Alida Millham, Shanna Saunders, Rich Crocker, Sally Minkow, Justin Slattery, Barbara Normandin, Dr. Jean Petterson, Jeff Hayes, Astha Joshi, Deacon Russ Morey, Margaret Labrecque, Robert Lucas


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New taxes don't raise revenue as much as proponents say they will

To The Daily Sun,

This letter is in response to Robert Joseph Jr.'s letter in Wednesday's Sun.

Mr. Joseph, after reading your letter in its entirety I have to say that, on the face of it, it sounds logical even, though to me it appears to be driven more by emotion rather than reality.

Your solution to the funding problems you have outlined is nothing new. I've been hearing that as a solution to New Hampshire's funding problems for decades, yet here we are in 2015 and the state is still solvent, still able to provide services, though maybe not to the level that will satisfy you.

Your solution, a sales and/or income tax, has been used in many other states to solve funding problems. All kinds of claims for problems these taxes will solve have been made, running from, "It will lower the property tax/school tax burdens being faced by our residents," to "We'll be able to adequately fund all kinds of programs our residents need," to "These will allow us to reduce taxes in other areas" as well as many others along those lines.

The only problem I have found with these promises is that every single one was false. In every state that has imposed such taxes to solve perceived funding problems none of the benefits that were promised appeared, at least not for very long. Every single time the flood of those new revenues ended up being used for purposes other than for those used to promote the new taxes and the original problems remained.

One problem I have with broad-based taxes, specifically income taxes, is that it is far too easy to jack them up to almost confiscatory levels. We've certainly seen that, even here in the Northeast. The other problem is that income tax revenues are volatile, again as many states have found out to their dismay. When the economy goes into recession, so do income tax revenues.

While sales taxes may appear to be a more viable alternative, they can adversely affect retail sales when it becomes less advantageous to shop across the border, meaning in a state like New Hampshire, than staying home and shopping there. This was aptly illustrated when Connecticut raised its sales taxes to 6.25 percent (and for some items 7 percent) and people started crossing the border into Massachusetts to shop because the sales tax there was only 5 percent. Connecticut didn't collect nearly as much in tax revenue as projected.

Increasing or adding new taxes to raise more revenue is a short term means of increasing revenue, but in the long run it doesn't raise as much as proponents believe they will. If you really want to see an increase in state revenues the best solution is to do everything possible to expand the state's economy. That always does more to expand tax revenues than slapping yet another tax (or taxes) upon the public and is far less onerous and burdensome. That's where our state government should be focusing its efforts.

I can say I might support a sales and/or income tax, but only under these three conditions:

All such revenues would be mandated by the New Hampshire Constitution to specific purposes and any of those revenues being allocated to the municipalities would not be under the control of the Legislature, governor, or any state agency. This would prevent the use of such funds to extort municipalities into performing certain actions or instituting programs that aren't in the best interests of their residents, keeping the state out of local spending issues. All such funds would be "no strings attached."

The tax rates could not be changed without a supermajority (two-thirds or four-fifths) vote of the House and Senate, and such increases not to go into effect until the biennium following such a vote, requiring another amendment to the state Constitution.

The Business Enterprise Tax and Business Profits Tax would be repealed and could not be reinstituted in any form unless the income/sales tax were repealed, also defined by an amendment to the state Constitution.

Unless those conditions were part of such a tax scheme, there's no way we should ever consider it, period. Since it is unlikely that those conditions would ever be met, in my opinion, there's no way I would even condone such taxes. (Yes, that's why I laid out those conditions above as I'm pretty sure they would never make it through the Legislature as constitutional amendments, and hence, never be on a the state ballot to the voters decide.)

Government should always be held in check by making sure it does not have the funding it always believes it should have. (It always wants more). It is one of the only ways to make sure it doesn't expand beyond the bounds of common sense or to become so big and inertia-laden that it can no longer perform the functions it is supposed to in an efficient and effective manner.

We have numerous examples of what happens when revenue sources are expanded without tight restrictions on those revenues: More taxes, higher spending, and nothing to show for any of it other than bigger and less effective government.

Dale Channing Eddy


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