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For N.H. to grow & prosper we need to follow lead of Ohio & Wisconsin

To The Daily Sun,

The Wall Street Journal has published recent articles exposing the economic problems in states like Illinois, New York and Connecticut. It claims that one party rule by liberal Democrats has squeezed the middle class through increased spending and taxation, while giving those entrepreneurs and other residents possessing economic alternatives, the ability to relocate elsewhere to friendlier economic circumstances, resulting in low growth economies and tax proceeds for those states.

I grew up in Connecticut and spent 25 years of my career in suburban Chicago. Forty years ago Connecticut offered a tax haven to New York. It had no state income tax and the sales tax was around 5 to 6 percent. Property taxes were considered relatively high. 

Today the Legislature wants to raise the income tax to almost 7 percent, the sales tax rate of 6.35 percent may be expanded to most services and contain provisions for municipalities to add an additional portion. The state levies a "death tax" on estates over $2 million and imposes an occupational tax on many occupations including a $565 fee per year on the opportunity to practice law in the State of Connecticut. It is no wonder that at a recent reunion at the University of Connecticut School of Law, many of my classmates lamented that they were losing clients to lower-tax states like Florida.

Illinois is similar. Forty years ago, Illinois levied a 3 percent flat rate income tax rate and the sales tax was around 5 percent. Over the years, Illinois gave "home rule" taxing authority to various municipal levels of government, with the result that the current 6.25 percent state sales tax rate is over 10 percent in the city of Chicago and around 8.25 percent in surrounding counties, plus additional "sin" taxes on alcohol and gasoline. Meanwhile, the Democratic-controlled Legislature raised the income tax rate to 5 percent two years ago to close the budget deficit, without cutting spending and ran out of money the next year. All the while property taxes in Illinois were considerably higher than the national average and it also has a "death tax".

I'm proud of New Hampshire's motto of "Live Free or Die". It symbolizes and emphasizes individuality, self-reliance and the Golden Rule. I'm sick and tired of many on the left who think that ever-increasing spending on big-government social programs is a legislative imperative, regardless of accountability or effectiveness. They also seem to misunderstand simple economics that when you tax or regulate something, you get less of it.

They also seem to misunderstand the role of individual incentives. When the Democratic Legislature raised the cigarette tax five times in fours years by 350 percent, revenues increased only marginally. Now, Republican legislative proposals to cut business taxes to incentivize business and economic recruitment in New Hampshire in a effort to make the State more economically attractive, are met by complaints of favoritism and class warfare.

I want our state to grow and prosper and we need to follow the examples of John Kasich in Ohio and Scott Walker in Wisconsin, who each cut taxes, raised revenues and balanced budgets without tax increases. Let's take the shackles off small business and the job creators with a pro growth agenda. Otherwise we risk losing our "advantage" and wind up like Connecticut, New York and Illinois.

Richard R. Gerken


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Think about how you can help our veterans & Camp Resilience

To The Daily Sun,

What did you do this weekend? Among other things, I went hiking with my dog, had breakfast at Kitchen Cravings with family members, flirted with a woman via text, did some yard work, and ate ice cream while watching reruns of "Bones" on Netflix. The biggest gifts of the weekend, and life as a United States citizen in general, is that I had the freedom to choose what I wanted to do and who I wanted to do it with. So what did you choose to do? How did you exercise your right of freedom, your right of choice?

Interestingly, as a veteran, I often forget the price of these freedoms. What is the cost of my ability to choose to eat ice cream at 4 p.m. on a Saturday afternoon and zone out to Netflix? Most people are pleasantly ignorant to the fact that since the inception of the United States and the drafting of those documents that give us freedom to choose, that young men and women have put their lives on the line to secure and keep those rights. The U.S. has its faults, but look abroad and you might come to the same conclusion that despite some shortcomings, we have it pretty good here in America.

Since 9/11, more than 2 million men and women have served in the military. Near 80 percent of those have served in a combat zone or actually been in combat. They fight for our security. They fight for our rights. They fight for the security and rights of the oppressed and disadvantaged throughout the world. It's noble, but there is a cost.

About 50 percent of those who saw combat come home with psychical, emotional, or psychological injuries. Combat trauma is epidemic among many of our returning military personnel and veterans, including all past wars/conflicts. The Veterans Administration (VA) is overwhelmed, understaffed, and underfunded and in areas like the Lakes Region, it is difficult for veterans to find and access the help they need. Often, veterans live with their scars of combat for up to 10 years prior to getting the help they need.

Think of this: This weekend while you were enjoying your liberties, each night there were approximately 50,000 homeless veterans sleeping on the streets. Sixty prior service members committed suicide. Dozens went to jail as a result of a negative reaction to post-traumatic stress disorder. More veterans are unemployed than the general segment of the population. And where is the help they need?

Many programs exist at the community level to assist veterans. These programs focus on psycho-social issues as well as problems with reintegration. Emotional coping strategies and life skills training is vital for returning veterans.

One such program is Camp Resilience, run by the all-veteran, non-profit organization The Patriot Resilient Leader Institute (www.PRIL.us) in Gilford. Camp Resilience provides psycho-social and educational retreat programs for combat veterans. This month, camp Resilience already ran a program at Gunstock Mountain Resort with 16 participating veterans, and later this month a four-day Veteran Equine Retreat is scheduled for June 24-29.

How can you help? If you know a veteran or are a veteran that would benefit from these programs, please contact PRLI for more information (603-520-3989). You can also help support veterans by sponsoring a veteran to participate in the program or donating to PRLI.

To donate by mail, send checks to: The Patriot Resilient Leader Institute c/o Bank of New Hampshire 62 Pleasant St., Laconia, NH 03246. Your donation to this 501(c)(3) non-profit is tax deductible.

So, thinking to next weekend and what you will be doing with your free time and free choice ... while you are thinking about that, there are United States citizens in a war zone right now, putting their lives on the line. There are homeless veterans. Today alone another 20 will take their own lives. While they are all dealing with the horrors of war, we are here, comfortable. Many of those who fight this week will be emotionally and psychically scared veterans in the coming months, joining the ranks of already suffering veterans. Help support those who defended the ideals of freedom and democracy.

Dave Ferruolo, MSW
Psychotherapy & Behavioral Health
Health First Family Care


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