To The Daily Sun,
The governor's veto of the New Hampshire budget is one of the most harmful acts within the chief executive's prerogatives. When the governor vetoes the budget, state agencies are thrown into turmoil. Without an authorized spending level they cannot know what level of activity they can support. As a result of this increased uncertainty (risk), restrictions on spending must be put into place reflecting the range of potential budget outcomes. The governor's decision making is ignorant of the basics of economics. Further, it illustrates a lack of capacity to grasp the harm inflicted on the people and employees of the state.
The state budget exists as a component part of New Hampshire's economy. To the extent that the state budget grows the other three components of state gross domestic product (GDP) are restrained. When state government spends more, the state must tax more because New Hampshire's constitution requires the budget to be balanced. When the state taxes more the people and businesses of the state have less money in their pocket to spend for the things they desire to consume; they have less money available to produce products for export and they have less money available to invest in their future.
Of the component parts of GDP, investment is the most important. It drives GDP both when the investments are made and as a multiplier effect in future periods through improved productivity. Each of the other components have an effect in the current period only. Investments in new enterprises are a catalyst to new hiring which boosts consumption through wage payments from investment profits. Impediments to investments, which a veto of the state budget is, are a drag on the economy. The fiscal unknowns as a result of the uncertainty of the state budget ripple through the spending of all businesses and personal budgets.
Last Updated on Friday, 10 July 2015 08:15
To The Daily Sun,
The Sanbornton Old Home Day Committee invites all community members to attend the Sanbornton Old Home Day festivities on Saturday, July 25, starting at 9 a.m. in the Sanbornton Town Square.
This year's events cater to all ages and interests, including a car show, various demonstrations such as maple syrup making, blacksmithing and wood cutting, local homemade ice cream and other food vendors, Mohawk Trail Riders equipment display, and more.
As part of its summer reading program, the Sanbornton Public Library will also be hosting famed storyteller Odds Bodkin in the Town Square at 11 a.m. Be sure not to miss the Old Home Day Parade, starting near the library at 3 p.m.
There's something for everyone at this day of family-friendly events. We look forward to seeing you there.
Audry & Justin Barriault
Last Updated on Friday, 10 July 2015 08:11
To The Daily Sun,
It is universally acknowledged that care at home is preferable and far less costly than care in a facility. In New Hampshire, the average cost of maintaining a Medicaid recipient in their own home is about $18,360 per year while the average cost of care in a nursing home is about $44,000 per year. So, keeping Medicaid-eligible people at home in New Hampshire makes economic sense. The formula works as long as there are willing home-health providers in the community. And that is where the problem arises.
Community-based home health agencies have been paid the same rate to provide service under the Medicaid "Choices for Independence" (CFI) program for the last six years — and even longer for some types of service. This has occurred in spite of the fact that the state was ordered to review and amend rates yearly following a legal settlement. Nevertheless, the rate revision has occurred only once — in 2009. Since then, agency costs to provide care have risen steadily. The increasing difference between agency cost to provide care and the state payment for care has caused a number of New Hampshire agencies to question whether or not they are financially able to serve CFI clients.
Some agencies have already elected to discontinue serving the CFI program altogether because they simply cannot afford to lose so much money and continue to service the broader needs of their communities. Many more are considering this option.
As the state budget debate commenced, home health agencies learned that the Bureau of Elderly and Adult Services reported significant unspent funds in the CFI line item that should have been used to fulfill the state's obligation to its Medicaid population. Instead, these unspent funds were planned to be used elsewhere. Ultimately, home health professionals worked with the budget committee to appropriate a portion of those funds — $1.8 million — back to the CFI budget line. This portion was earmarked for a retroactive supplemental payment. Additional funds were appropriated for a 5 percent prospective rate increase to service clients under CFI — consistent with state rules.
The current state budget impasse places these appropriations in limbo. While the budget debate continues and the state engages in its "continuing resolution", agencies are faced with the question of whether or not they can afford to continue staffing or accept new CFI clients at a financial loss.
The irony is that every case that does not get picked up by a home health agency ends up in a far more costly health-care facility at higher expense to the state. That is wildly inconsistent with our economic interests and our stated values concerning home-based care. The clock is ticking. But nothing in this debate is helpful to individuals in need of care. When the Legislature and the governor meet again to negotiate the budget, we want this issue to be in their minds.
Margaret Franckhauser, RN, MS, MPH
Central New Hampshire VNA & Hospice
Last Updated on Thursday, 09 July 2015 09:10
To the Daily Sun,
The Lakes Region Scholarship Foundation has been working hard over the past few months preparing for the annual scholarships to be awarded. Each spring the board members review and rate hundreds of applications submitted. Then donors are invited to participate by making recommendations for their awards. Presentations are made to current graduates at local high school award ceremonies and others are notified by mail.
Who would have thought, back in 1956, that this idea, started by a small group of concerned citizens and supported by just eight local civic groups and businesses, would blossom into the remarkable organization we have today. From that small start in 1956, with awards totaling just $2,650 to 16 recipients, we have grown so that this year we awarded in excess of $311,400 to 305 local students from 232 donor funds. A total of $162,750 was awarded to 159 incoming freshman, and $148,650 to 146 upperclassmen.
Our official 60th anniversary will be Feb. 16, 2016. This year marks six decades of scholarships being awarded through the Lakes Region Scholarship Foundation, bringing the total awards given to more than $5.2 million, helping more than 4,600 students from 1956 through 2015.
All this help and money for our local students comes thanks to the generosity of about 525 donors over the years. We, however, are merely the conduit. It is the generosity of so many local people that makes all of this possible. Many of our scholarship funds are memorials set up by families when a loved one passes or by individuals in advance of their death. Each memorial tells the story of a special person. Someone who is no longer with us, but is still helping those they have left behind.
Other scholarship funds come from civic groups and area businesses, all investing in the youth of our local communities. And then there are the thousands who have contributed to specific memorial funds or special fundraisers.
Paulette Loughlin, President
Lakes Region Scholarship Foundation
Last Updated on Thursday, 09 July 2015 09:04
To The Daily Sun,
There has been a lot of conversation lately about Memorial Park and the condition it is in.
As with most things in the city, waiting for the money to be available is the reason some things take longer to get done than others. Prioritizing is always my guide to what we can spend and where we can spend it.
Memorial Park has been waiting for a long time to brought up to speed as was Wyatt Park and all our parks, and I am happy to be able to bring you up to date on what we have done this year and what we are doing this coming year.
This past budget we appropriated $14,000 for bleachers. They have been purchased and we recently signed an agreement to pour the concrete slab to hold same. We should see this taking place within weeks.
This past budge also approved $25,000 for repairing and resurfacing all five of the tennis courts at Memorial. This was done last Fall and completed with minor touch up work this Spring.
This coming week, the council will pass a budget that contains $28,000 for an irrigation system for the baseball field. This should go a long way to bringing the fields back.
All this is good and at the same time some of our other parks have needs similar to these, and we will be addressing them as quickly as possible.
The important thing to remember is: Laconia has 15 parks, 5 beaches, 4 site parks, a Riverwalk, WOW trail and other City owned properties, all needing attention, and in time when funds are available, they will be used to maintain and improve out great park system. The best way to get something done is to keep in touch with your city officials, your councilor. Don't give up. Keep pressing.
Ward 4, City Council
Last Updated on Thursday, 09 July 2015 08:56