To The Daily Sun,
Two years ago at the polls on election day, one of my opponents said that I was an anarchist. I wasn't offended, but I have to ask, compared to what? Our country, as we are taught in school, operates on the rule of law. We are not the subjects of monarchs, and we shall not be ruled by the whims of petty tyrants. If this is indeed a nation ruled by law, should not those laws apply to all equally?
On Aug. 28, Belknap Superior Court Judge O'Neill issued a preliminary injunction against the Belknap County Board of Commissioners, described by the Laconia Daily Sun as "unequivocal." The language of the statues related to county budget appropriations is quite clear, and where the authority lays to make appropriations is just as clear. RSA 24:14 I-a. states "In this chapter, an appropriation means an amount of money authorized for a specified purpose by the legislative body." That is the law. Are your county commissioners above the law?
The commissioners didn't like the constraints of the law so they fabricated their own interpretation of the statute. Furthermore, they spent hard-earned taxpayer dollars to find lawyers to back up their opinion related to appropriations. You might wonder why they would take this matter to court and spend more tax dollars defending such a ludicrous position. The answer is simple. They are not paying the attorney's bill. You are.
One of the last arguments posed by the commissioners, through their attorney, was that the people of the county would be able to hold their elected officials accountable via the upcoming elections. While it is true that the people will get an opportunity to rearrange the composition of the Board of Commissioners and the County Convention, I must ask, does that equate to accountability? Damage has been done to the taxpayers of Belknap County. At the very least large sums of money have flowed to lawyers which will not go toward improving our jail, or nursing home, nor will it pay for health insurance. Will an election restore all that wasted money? I don't see an elections as holding politicians accountable.
Accountability can be found in the statutes if you follow RSA 24:15, "Exceeding Appropriations. – I. No county commissioner, or elected or appointed county officer, shall pay, or agree to pay, or incur any liability for the payment of, any sum of money for which the county convention has made no appropriation, or in excess of any appropriation so made...", which leads to RSA 24:16 which reads: " 24:16 Penalty. – Any violation of the provisions of the previous section or of provisions of RSA 29:8 shall subject the person or persons so violating to the provisions of RSA 661:9, providing for removal from office. A petition of 5 resident taxpayers of the county may be made to the superior court for such removal or for removal for official misconduct."
It is clear that the Commissioners have violated 24:15. Are there five resident taxpayers willing to step up and demand true accountability from their County Commissioners? I'll step forward as one.
State Rep. Mike Sylvia
Last Updated on Tuesday, 02 September 2014 09:16
To The Daily Sun,
Russ Dumais is an especially qualified candidate to represent Gilford and Meredith in the N.H. House of Representatives.
Russ is a long-time resident of Gilford and lifetime resident of the Lakes Region. He has successfully served several terms on the Gilford Board of Selectmen. He has been a long-term member of the Laconia Airport Authority. He served eight years as a member of the N.H. Water Supply and Pollution Control Commission. He has been a successful local businessman.
In addition to years of living civic responsibility and public service. Russ has a reputation for common sense and solving problems.
This is an important Republican primary. I hope you will join me in supporting Russ Dumais on Sept. 9.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 02 September 2014 09:05
To The Daily Sun,
Nowhere is the one-dimensional thinking of the left better revealed than when discussing minimum wage laws. By advocating greater government control over the exchange of labor and wages, liberal thinkers ignore not only the coercive nature of minimum wage laws but also the unintended effects of using a blunt instrument to manipulate complex economic systems.
The pro-side of the minimum wage debate is dominated by people who don't acknowledge the reality of the market. They want to believe that changing one variable won't affect other variables — or at best are selective about the variables they choose to focus on. Wages are just one component of employee compensation, and compensation costs are integral to pricing and business planning. Changing one variable changes them all as the system achieves a new equilibrium.
So while it might feel good supporting an increase in the hourly rate of a person working hard to support a family, methods and outcomes matter. Setting aside the liberal fallacy that people don't move up and down the income ladder — today's minimum wage earner is not necessarily tomorrow's — what we can predict is that the labor market will compensate for the higher costs imposed upon it.
Asian Weekly reported recently about a Seattle suburb raising its minimum wage to $15 per hour. A hotel worker admitted that while the increased wage seemed good at first, she and her fellow employees had lost their 401k, health insurance, paid holidays and vacations. No more overtime, free food, or free parking. Her employer didn't have the luxury of passing along higher wage costs to customers, so it offset the mandated increase in wages by reducing benefits. Unless you're willing and able to pay substantially more for a wide range of products and services, employers will do what they can to maintain price points.
Proponents of increasing the minimum wage tend to gloss over the fact that price sensitivity and cost of living are not the same everywhere. Profit per employee differs markedly within and across industries, and costs of living are very different in Nashua, Laconia, Wolfeboro, and Berlin. How can a one-size-fits-all minimum wage make any sense given that reality?
It doesn't make sense, but politicians of a certain stripe think they sound "caring" when they promote such policies. They know they'll never be held accountable for the consequences. It's easy to create a political ad showing a few people ostensibly helped by getting raises. It's much harder to counter with the jobs that weren't created, the people not hired, the extra hours not worked, the loss of non-wage benefits, or the businesses that chose not to expand. Those are the effects that manifest themselves after the politicians' sound bites are printed and the cameras are turned off.
Professor Mark Perry, an economist at the American Enterprise Institute, calls minimum wage laws "coercive government-mandated price controls" that give politicians and government bureaucrats greater control over the lives of ordinary citizens. He ended a recent essay by asking, "If you're willing to allow and accept government control over the wages for unskilled workers, what other powers are you willing to grant the government, and what other freedoms are you willing to sacrifice?" That's a question we should be asking ourselves while demanding answers from those campaigning to represent us.
There are real and damaging consequences to giving one-dimensional thinkers greater control over us in our multi-dimensional world. In November we'll have a chance to change the thinking in Concord by voting for representatives who will support policies that promote business development in general rather than trying to micromanage businesses. If we vote wisely, we won't have to fight the minimum wage battle again next year.
Instead of electing politicians who see every issue as an opportunity to extend government's reach into our lives, we'd all be better off trusting in ourselves, our neighbors, our fellow citizens — job creators and job seekers — all playing our small parts in a vast and complex economy. That was at the heart of the N.H. Advantage, and could be again.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 02 September 2014 09:01
To The Daily Sun,
We would like to recognize and thank state Sen. Jeanie Forrester for representing all her constituents so consistently and so effectively in Concord.
Many people throughout the Lakes Region have met Sen. Forrester in person because she travels throughout her district listening to and talking with people from towns both large and small. From our observation, she not only listens, she follows up and responds.
Sen. Forrester is a leading voice in the Senate and is well respected by both her Senate and House colleagues in Concord. Thankfully, Senator Forrester respects and values the scenic beauty of the tourism-driven economy of the Lakes Region. She has shown a willingness to grow and preserve our local economy and local businesses by supporting affordable, reliable and sustainable energy policies that will protect our natural resources for future generations.
Importantly, we believe Jeanie shares the values of the people she so effectively represents. She is always available, accessible and interested. Sen. Forrester has shown she can translate Lakes Region priorities into legislative policy very effectively.
Finally, anyone who knows Jeanie Forrester knows how much she cares about all the people and all the towns she represents in Concord.
We believe in state Sen. Forrester because it is clear she believes in us. Please join with us in voting for Jeanie Forrester on Sept. 9.
Bill & Willa Lucarelli
Last Updated on Tuesday, 02 September 2014 07:33
To The Daily Sun,
One candidate for governor of New Hampshire has the financial resources (millions of dollars, largely his own) to plaster the airwaves with self-promoting propaganda, 30 seconds at a time. The other candidate, Andrew Hemingway, can afford to run some ads during the last few days of his campaign, but he's counting on grassroots support by word-of-mouth from people who know him.
I know Andrew. I know him very well, having served with him as an elected official in Bristol — he was the chair of the Budget Committee, when I was the selectman member of the committee. I want to offer these first-hand observations and you can decide if this is someone you'd like to see as your governor.
Fact: In the years prior to Andrew's service as Budget Committee chair, the budget process was cumbersome and cantankerous. So much so, it was impossible to find 13 people who wanted to serve on the Budget Committee, and there was open hostility between the Budget Committee, department heads and selectmen. Andrew set a tone of civility and respect that was infectious. He repaired the relationships with the department heads and selectmen, so that it became cordial and not confrontational. The committee had a full complement of 13 members. The end result was a reduced budget that was presented to Town Meeting that had the unanimous support of selectmen, department heads, the town administrator and Budget Committee — to the penny. The body at Town Meeting decided to add money to the budget. Can you imagine?
Fact: Bristol had failed to implement the Capital Improvements Program, a state law, that it had voted to adopt in 1987. As a result, capital planning was chaotic, with adverse impact on the selectmen's ability to maintain a stable tax rate. Under Andrew's watch, the CIP was implemented and continues to this day. The tax rate remains stable.
Fact: During Andrew's tenure on the Budget Committee, Bristol's municipal tax rate dropped to its lowest level in 20 years: $4.65. As chair, he proposed a modified budget process that eliminated inflationary departmental requests.
Fact: As a key member of the town's recycling committee, Andrew's innovative approach to problem-solving was instrumental. After arguing about recycling for 30 years, Bristol commenced a "single stream" recycling program that continues to produce income to the town and cost nothing to implement. Today, 75 percent of all refuse is recycled.
There's more — like the public access television station, weekly town newspaper, and website to provide greater transparency in government -- but I think you get the idea.
Andrew is the only candidate who's really from New Hampshire, and the only one with experience, and success, at building cooperation, cutting taxes, and using common sense to protect us from government waste.
He gets the job done.
Bruce Van Derven
Last Updated on Monday, 01 September 2014 04:30