To The Daily Sun,
Law is force. Once it is in place we are theoretically bound by its imperatives and constrained by its prohibitions.
The guiding principle of any lawmaker/policy maker ought to be consistency with individual freedom. Government revenue from taxes is a taking by the force of law. It should be minimal, only enough to maintain an infrastructure that protects the liberty of those from whom the money has been taken.
Not a dime of public funds should support a special interest such as a casino. This is not a legitimate way for tax dollars to be spent.
The proposed extension of commuter rail is even worse. This project doesn't even offer a figment of payback to taxpayers. Instead it requires millions in subsidies taken from taxpayers for each year it will operate. It would operate for the benefit only of special interests.
Common Core is a vile usurpation of state's rights by a federal machine that hopes to entrench its influence in every public school. It must be denied.
New Hampshire should be a leader in actions that successfully repeal the "Affordable" Care Act", even if for no other reason than it is not legally in place. A legislative act that requires taxation must originate in the House of Representatives. The ACA did not, and the Supreme Court ruled that the penalties for not signing up are a tax.
Also, history shows that a federal bureaucracy always costs more and delivers less than similar efforts at a state level.
New Hampshire should be a leader in visibly and noisily refusing to put any public funds in support of abortion. One can be pro-choice and still not be pro-abortion. But in any case abortion is no action for which public funds should be used.
Sadly, in the real world, none but the fewest lawmakers/policy makers is guided by principle. Most strive to satisfy the demands of special interests. They attempt to imbue this behavior with integrity by disingenuously saying they are serving their constituencies.
Down with the establishment! Vote 3rd party.
David M. Zebuhr
Last Updated on Tuesday, 17 March 2015 10:13
To The Daily Sun,
Even with lower student enrollments and a suggestion by Shaker School Board members not to fund full-time kindergarten this year, the voters once again were able to stack the meeting and vote them in as well as another pay raise for teachers.
I was not at the meeting, as having been in the past it is a waste of time. This last meeting proves that point. They even funded a teacher's position deemed not to be needed any longer.
Huge tax increase once again for Belmont taxpayers, who are in no position for it, all due to the school district. You should be ashamed of this and the hurt it is causing the taxpayers of Belmont and, to a lesser degree, Canterbury.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 17 March 2015 10:10
To The Daily Sun,
Recent media reports about negotiations over Iran's nuclear program are disappointingly one-dimensional and misleading. For example, it is all but accepted that Iran is developing a nuclear weapon. Yet all 16 U.S. intelligence agencies report there is no evidence that Iran is building a nuclear bomb. Israel's own intelligence agency, the Mossad, says the same.
As a veteran, I know that democracy is dependent upon a well informed public. People should be able to consider all the relevant facts.
Israeli leaders may feel threatened by the re-emergence of Iran as a strong regional power, as has historically been the case. But they know that Iran poses no military threat to Israel. The U.S. should not allow itself to be "played" in a regional power struggle.
A peaceful, stable Middle East is in the interests of the American people, the Iranian people, the people of Israel, of the region and of the world.
As a military veteran, I know that war is horrible as well as futile. The militarization of U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East has been a disaster for all concerned.
I am grateful that President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry are pursuing diplomacy with Iran, instead of more sanctions, leading to a war that could kill hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians.
As a signer of the Treaty for Nuclear Non-Proliferation (NPT), Iran has the legal right to develop nuclear power for peaceful purposes. Instead of pressuring Iran, the U.S. government should take steps to comply with its own obligations under the NPT. The U.S. should be destroying its nuclear weapons instead of developing a new generation of doomsday missiles.
Our senators should not sign any bill that would undermine the possibility of achieving a peaceful, negotiated solution with Iran.
Diplomacy, not war!
Last Updated on Tuesday, 17 March 2015 10:07
To The Daily Sun,
Many have attacked President Obama's plan to make the first two years of community college free and disparage the benefits of making a two year degree more affordable.
The economic ideology supporting these attacks is both callous and incorrect. Yes, we value what we pay for and what we work hard for. Suggesting that a student who doesn't pay for college won't value it when part or all of the tuition is subsidized is faulty economics. That student is studying and delaying working while learning and putting him/herself in a position to get a better job and to earn more money. Going to school, even for free, incurs costs for the student. Economists refer to these costs as "opportunity costs". It's the money that the student doesn't earn when he or she is studying rather than working. It's the time he or she doesn't get to spend doing something else more immediately profitable. It's an investment the student makes in his/her future. Every study shows that those with a degree will earn significantly more over the course of their working lives than those who don't graduate.
If the critics were correct, students would value their community college experience less each time a legislature provides some money to reduce tuition costs — as was done in N.H.'s last legislative session. There is zero evidence that this has devalued community college to N.H. students.
Even though we here in N.H. run a lean and efficient community college operation the cost of community college can still be a heavy burden. Education costs money. Nevertheless, it's one of the smartest investments we, as a society, can make. Educated students will be able to fill the best jobs which will go unfilled without education. According to a study by Georgetown University, by 2020 the U.S. will have 5 million job positions that can't be filled due to a lack of qualified candidates.
A college education should not be a luxury reserved for only the wealthiest in our society. It's the key to America's future. Those who want to keep cutting support for colleges and for students are woefully shortsighted. A former senator nailed it when he said, "If you think education is expensive, wait until you see how much ignorance costs."
Fortunately, we have leaders who understand the true value of an education. We know about President Obama's proposal to make the first two years of community college free. Governor Hassan has also proven her commitment to making college more affordable. Granite State community colleges were able to reduce tuition because of increased funding in the last budget, and they'll be able to do so again if Governor Hassan's budget current proposal is adopted.
These efforts are investments in the future. They give Americans the chance to have the foundation on which they can build more successful lives: for themselves, for their families, and for society at large.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 17 March 2015 10:01
To The Daily Sun,
I want to thank the Belknap County Nursing Home Administrator, Matthew Logue, and Dianne Roberts, director of Nursing Services, for giving me a recent tour of the county nursing home to visit the staff, residents and the overall facility. This facility, like all county nursing homes, statewide, are important to our citizens and loved ones who receive long term care from a committed and devoted staff. New Hampshire has always done a great job in taking care of its aging population.
The governor and Legislature are in the midst of another difficult budget year and are working hard to meet the needs of the State of New Hampshire and its citizens. A lot of the long-term care and financing strategies involving the counties for services are provided through the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Bureau of Elderly and Adult Services (BEAS). Long-term care services in DHHS are paid out of four appropriations: Nursing Services, Mid Level, Home Care and Home Health.
There has been a lot of discussion on the implementation of the Step II of Medicaid Care Management (MCM) and the explanation of the push back date of July 1, 2016. It is safe to say whatever that date is, the roll out of the MCM program for our aging population needs to ready for prime time for everyone involved.
In addition, there was some initial confusion about Proshare payment and county nursing home administrators were concerned about the payment. There may have been some earlier discussion about bringing nursing home services into the MCM program, previously scheduled for Sept. 1, 2015. In the future, when nursing home services are brought into the MCM program, the three nursing home payments (per diem payments, MQIP payments, and Proshare payments) will consolidated into one payment.
A major concern of the county nursing home administrators has been the determination and carry forward of additional home rates in SFY 2015. At the end of SFY 2014, and before complying with the mandated appropriation reduction, there was nominally $4.9 million in total funds (representing $2.45 million in general funds) in the nursing home account.
Historically, DHHS has adjusted rates in January for any surpluses, although, it's not required by law to do so. DHHS made a decision in order to resolve its $58 million dollar deficit in the SFY 15 budget, it decided that using unexpended funds in the nursing and home care accounts to achieve a $7 million general fund appropriation reduction mandated by legislature in the current SFY 14-15 budget which contributes to the $58 million deficit that the Department must resolve.
State Sen. Jeanie Forrester of Meredith brought SB-8 to stop the governor from raiding $7 million from the nursing homes and home health care agencies. SB-8 passed overwhelmingly out of the Senate with a bipartisan vote and now will be heard in the House. This is a positive step in the right direction to restore funding for long-term care.
As the legislative process continues to move forward there will be many tough choices along the way to be made but at the end of the day I am confident we will meet the needs of the State of New Hampshire and its citizens.
I will continue to monitor these important issues as I travel around the District to listen to your concerns. Please feel free to call me at anytime (603) 271-3632.
Joseph D. Kenney
Executive Councilor District 1
Last Updated on Tuesday, 17 March 2015 09:58