Tuesday, June 30, 2009


Latest News & Notes
Spinning Budget Myths

Supporters of the recently enacted State of New Hampshire budget were quick to claim that it was responsible and that they made tough decisions during difficult economic times. Talk about myth and spin - this budget fits the bill - literally!

Myth #1: State spending will decrease in the next two years. Sounds great doesn't it? Unfortunately, this is flat out wrong. Here are the facts: According to the Legislative Budget Assistant--the non-partisan office that is charged with preparing budget figures--total authorized spending in the current budget, which will close June 30, is $10.408 billion. The budget that was just approved and will begin July 1 authorizes spending of $11.499 billion, an increase of $1.091 billion or 10.48% by every known method of mathematics! How can these budget supporters possibly justify this huge increase when people are struggling to pay their bills and now will struggle to pay the higher taxes and fees contained in the budget? This 10.48% increase also comes at a time when other states around the nation on average are actually reducing spending!

Myth #2: The new tax on campsites closes a loophole. If budget writers really thought this tax on camping was closing a loophole it is hard to imagine why they would have introduced it in the wee hours of the night without a public hearing. The fact is that it is a brand new 9% tax on camping. It is positively amazing how supporters of this budget claim to be the politicians that support the little guy. This budget not only taxes camping, it hikes taxes or fees on meals, tobacco, boat & car registration, salt water fishing licenses and most importantly, property taxes. Nothing can hide the fact that New Hampshire citizens of modest means will be digging deeper into their already empty wallets.

Myth#3: The tax on limited liability companies (LLCs) also closes a loophole. Again, if this was a loophole – why no public hearing? This tax will impact approximately 10,000 small business owners organized as LLCs who will now be subject to the 5% Interest and Dividends Tax. Without any rules yet promulgated, who knows if this will be a tax on interest or dividends---or a tax on the compensation a business owner pays him or herself. If this taxes a business owner’s compensation in the same way the Business Profits tax is applied -- against so-called excessive compensation -- then New Hampshire will be sending a terrible message to those very people we want to invest in the state and create jobs. Perhaps the supporters of this budget are spinning this as a business owner loophole because in reality they want an income tax!

Myth #4: If the budget were not enacted the cost to the State under a continuing resolution to keep government running would be $11 million per month. This takes the cake for spinning a myth. There is no reason whatsoever that spending for a short period could not have been authorized at 98% of existing levels to ensure deficits were not created. This is precisely what could have been done for the entire budget in order to avoid all the tax and fee hikes that will hurt working families and small businesses.

Myth #5: This budget is balanced. Whether the budget is actually balanced will not be known for some time. However, this budget relies on $75 million of magically inflated revenue estimates and a $110 million raid on a fund paid into by doctors to reduce medical liability costs. This raid is already the subject of litigation and the STATE JUST LOST THE FIRST ROUND IN COURT! Given these problems, it is hard to imagine the budget being balanced when it closes in two years.

Unfortunately, the really difficult choices were left for the next budget when the $500 million dollars of one-time revenue sources runs dry. The stage will be set in the next budget for the penultimate debate of whether this state adopts an income or sales tax or both. Even if the state were to allow expanded gaming, it will not be enough to fill this spending sink hole!

My grateful thanks to everyone who has written me with comments on these email updates. I appreciate all the information and ideas that you have provided. With the close of the legislative session in Concord, I won’t email updates until the fall. Please however monitor my web-site www.jebforstatesenate.com for occasional discussion about issues ranging from global warming legislation to healthcare. Hope to see you climbing in the White Mountains this summer!

Senator Jeb Bradley

Friday, June 26, 2009


From: Vaillancourt, Steve
Sent: Mon 6/22/2009 11:25 AM
To: Smith, Marjorie
Subject: Did Senator Hassan Deceive Conferees Regarding Track Regulation
To Chairman Smith, Reps, Senators, Media
From: Rep. Steve Vaillancourt, Hills 15
Monday, June 22, 11:25 a.m.

I left a message on your answering machine Friday and have yet to hear from you.

I'm still waiting for an answer as to whether Senator Maggie Hassan (at approximately 8:15 p.m. Thursday night, at which time both Neil Kurk and I were in Goffstown for an essential Hillsborough County budget matter), either deliberately or out of ignorance, deceived the conference committee by stating that the Kurk amendment on making tracks pay the full cost of regulation could not be done because the tracks have already lined up racing slates this summer.

As I would hope you knew at the time, Neal and your Finance Committee division one were very careful to take that argument into account, and the House plan specifically excluded this year for that reason.

If I can't get an answer from you (as the person who was defending the House position on that issue), I hope to get a chance to listen to it on streaming audio before I am afforded the opportunity to question you on the floor Wednesday (fair us fair; this is a heads-up). So far, I have three sources who all say Senator Hassan did in fact make such an argument. If so, I'm not sure whether deliberate deceit or simple ignorance would be a more acceptable answer. Either way, it is an outrage that must not go unanswered.

I also have a question regarding whether or not, despite the Kurk amendment being removed, monies are in House Bill 1 for regulation. As I understand it, the House version of pari-mutuel funding was approved. Thus, even though the Kurk amendment was removed from House Bill 2, the funding was also not present in House Bill 1. Thus, without the monies to regulate dog and horse racing in 2010 (not 2009!), what would the racing commission do? Could they get the monies added back in without any of us knowing? Could they go to Fiscal Committee? Would they have to introduce a new bill?

Having seen gay marriage passed, I now view ending this cruel business of dog racing (especially because it costs the state about half a million dollars a year to do something virtually no one wants) as my top legislative priority. Thus, answers to these questions are of extreme importance to me prior to Wednesday's vote.

Thank you for your attention to this.

This is an email sent out to state reps from Representative Steve Vaillancourt from Manchester.

Friday, June 19, 2009


Bob Bestani

In a time of high unemployment, why isn’t NH doing more to promote job creation?

Despite all of our problems, America remains the most attractive market in the world for almost every product imaginable. In large part, this is why most American businesses don’t immediately think of exporting their products abroad - a major failing of ours. But foreign companies are well aware of the opportunities that exist in the U.S. markets. Anyone doubting this should immediately look at the auto industry. The U.S. still produces some of the best cars in the world. But, we do so primarily in the south, in such states as South Carolina, Kentucky, and Alabama and they bear the brand logos of BMW, Toyota, Honda, Infinity, etc.

And it is not just cars; Honda Aviation, for example, recently opened a new plant in North Carolina which will help offset that state’s loss of its old textile mills. Nor is it just manufacturing; the list of businesses is almost limitless, and includes high tech companies, software companies, call centers, etc. Indeed, without such businesses, American consumers would immediately encounter a steep bout of inflation and unemployment.

So here is the question: when Kia Motors or Hyundai were recently looking to open new assembly plants, why is it that no one tried to persuade them to build a plant in NH? With New Hampshire’s great lifestyle, low taxes, our high tech base and our business environment, our state should be an excellent destination for all kinds of business operations. More often than not, foreign businesses are looking to establish operations where the enabling business environment is considerably better than in their home countries. This usually means the U.S.A. It should also mean New Hampshire.

With New Hampshire’s economy softening, with 50,000 of our citizens unemployed and unemployment rising, tax revenues declining, the state needs to find new ways to improve the business environment and create new jobs. New Hampshire also has one of the oldest populations in the country. We are tied with Florida in this measure. Surely we need new ways of bringing jobs and young talent into the state. It is hard to see a better way of doing so.

Clearly, we need to do a better job of reaching out and make NH’s business climate well known. By all reports, we are not appropriately doing so today. Judging by the successes of other states, NH does little to encourage or recruit companies to move here. Why is it, for example, that foreign companies are moving to Massachusetts’ Route 128 and 495 when NH’s business climate is (despite recent moves by our State Senate) still far more attractive? I asked a personal friend of mine, the President of Infosys (India’s largest and most successful software company), why he didn’t consider New Hampshire when they were expanding their U.S. operations. His response to me was simple. “I do not ever recall New Hampshire ever making a pitch for our business.”

Despite a strong desire of several other Indian companies, to take just one example, there has been very little contact with NH’s state government. Consider this recent quote from the New Hampshire Business Reports: “The Office of International Commerce, which has organized a number of trade missions in various parts of the world, considered a mission to India a couple years ago, but ultimately decided against it. We actually looked at that to see how many would want to go. We didn’t get huge response.” Or this: “With states such as Texas, Georgia, Alabama, etc. aggressively promoting themselves and getting successful results why would anyone bother looking at New Hampshire?” See (http://www.nhbr.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090313/INDUSTRY09/903119961) We obviously need to be much more proactive, aggressive and visible.

Just as bad, there has there been no visible effort to encourage exports abroad. Asian countries such as China, India, Vietnam and others are growing at a historically unprecedented rate, far outstripping the growth rates of the industrialized world or their own ability to meet their internal needs. America and New Hampshire can play a vital economic and trade role. New Hampshire exports are growing, proving that it can be done, but we are certainly not maximizing our potential. We should also be encouraging American companies to consider establishing new facilities in our state.

New Hampshire needs to create a platform for aggressive economic development. Yes, the state has an office that is charged with doing this. These responsibilities are housed within the Department of Resources and Economic Development (oddly named DRED) and more specifically the two people in the Division of Economic Development (oddly named DED). If nothing else, the name of these two units tells you a great deal about their marketing acumen. DED is obviously very understaffed and they have few incentives to be aggressive or responsive. Such an office needs to me much more proactive and results oriented. One look at their website relative to that of say Georgia confirms how far behind we are.

Part of the problem is also that DED seems to have very little intergovernmental visibility. I spoke with several very senior, economically oriented members of our legislature who have never heard of them. It would appear that they have very little noticeable support or political backing from our elected officials. When was the last time you heard anyone in NH government mention this subject? This needs to change.Clearly, we need to do much more.

As a candidate for Congress I strongly urge that a great deal more effort be directed by the state to bring in new jobs into the state and that we become much more proactive in promoting greater export linkages abroad. The result could be tens of thousands of new jobs into the state and a rebirth of business vitality.

If elected I will make this one of my leading priorities. As a Congressman, I would encourage foreign companies to build facilities in NH and would work with the Governor of NH to develop an economic development plan to include encourage investment in NH from foreign companies. As the only candidate with any private sector and business development experience I have every confidence I can make this happen.

Bob Bestani is a Visiting Scholar with Stanford University’s Collaboratory for Research on Global Projects and a Candidate for Congress in NH’s 1st Congressional District.

Monday, June 15, 2009



CONCORD – A Las Vegas company is betting big that it can persuade New Hampshire lawmakers to allow it to bring thousands of video slot machines to the state.

An affiliate of Millennium Gaming has spent more than $140,000 in the last 18 months on work by a prominent Concord lobbying firm, according to a published report. Other lobbyists also have been working for the effort.

The New Hampshire Senate voted, 16-8, this month to support the slots plan, which calls for the machines at horse and dog tracks and at two locations in the northern part of the state.

The House has opposed gambling for a long time and doesn't appear moved by supporters' promises that the slots would generate $205 million in state revenues in the next two years.

This article appeared in the Manchester Union Leader on 6/15/09. The money being thrown around to purchase politicians if finaly starting to draw attention. Most people lobbying for this comapany are republicans; but, they are buying democrats in the senate.

Friday, June 12, 2009

ROBERT M. BESTANI Candidate for U.S. Congress – NH’s 1st Congressional District

Robert Bestani is currently a Visiting Scholar at the Collaboratory for Research on Global Projects at Stanford University.

As a resident of Newmarket, NH he is the Chairman of both the Municipal Audit and Energy Committees and serves as a member of the Municipal Budget Committees. He is also a member of the Republican State Committee and Chairman of the Finance Committee of the Rockingham County Republican Committee

Until May of 2008, Bob served as the Director General of Private Sector Finance at the Asian Development Bank, a multilateral bank dedicated to alleviating poverty in Asia. In the six years in which he served in that capacity, ADB's private sector financings and earnings grew by over 40 times their 2001 levels, while portfolio quality and earnings steadily improved. Working closely with most of the countries of Asia, the Private Sector Department grew from the smallest of ADB's departments to the largest and most successful operating unit of the ADB. In March of 2008 the Bank’s Board adopted private sector financings as the leading priority of the ADB for the years ahead.

Prior to joining the ADB Bob was a Managing Director and Senior Consultant at PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP. For most of his career, he has been in International Banking and Corporate Finance, working at Citibank, Texaco, Bank of America, and Duke Energy. Bob has long covered the High Tech, Petroleum/Oil & Gas and Power Industries.

Bob also served in the U.S. Department of the Treasury during the first Bush Administration (GHWB 1989-1992). His principal responsibilities included: the G-7 negotiations and the Paris and Houston Presidential Summit Meetings, several international trade and financial services negotiations, US-IMF policy coordination, the management of America's $40 billion foreign currency reserve position, policy coordination with Federal Reserve, etc.

He has authored numerous articles on finance, energy and the economic development and has been a featured speaker at over fifty international conferences. Both as an independent consultant and as a senior officer of the ADB he has served as a consultant to numerous Asian governments and multilateral institutions. Since 1991 he has been a member of the prestigious Council on Foreign Relations.

Bob holds an MBA in Finance from the University of Chicago (where he serves as member of the Global Advisory Board) and a BA in Economics and Computer Science from Rutgers University.

Bob is married to his school days sweetheart Marion and they have two highly successful and accomplished children William and Elizabeth. Will is an attorney and Liz is a university administrator.

For further information and articles see also Bob’s website at: BobBestani@aol.com

This is to complement an earlier post for Bob.



Mayor Frank Guinta
Town Hall
City of Manchester
One City Hall Plaza
Manchester, NH 03101

May 19, 2009

Dear Frank,

First let me welcome you to the race for the Republican nomination for New Hampshire’s 1st Congressional. It can only help the Party and the state to have a vigorous contest for the seat. As the old saying goes, “you are only as good as your competition forces you to be.”

But now that the announcement hoopla has died down, I would like to make a suggestion by way of this public letter. I would like to propose that over the next year and a half until the primary we set up a regularly scheduled series of joint meetings at the various GOP gatherings and other open public forums to discuss the leading issues that will be on the national agenda. At its best, politics is fundamentally about issues and ideas. I think we owe it to both our party members and the general electorate to put in front of them where we stand on the issues of the day and how we will address them.

From my perspective, the issues that will face the nation over the next five years are quite clear. They will certainly include the following: 1) the whole set of issues surrounding job creation including economics, finance, and trade policy; 2) given the fact that the current financial crisis started in the banking sector, banking and bank regulation should be discussed; 3) energy policy will undoubtedly continue to be a core issue in the future as energy touches virtually every other set of issues; 4) health care is an important core issue both because it touches economic competitiveness of the country but also because of the aging American population; 5) the same can be said about education policy. In this hyper competitive age, education will play a central role in our national economic well being; 6) last, but certainly not least, we need to actively discuss foreign policy. We are still engaged in two wars abroad and much of our future will be influenced by what happens abroad, particularly in the Middle East and Asia. Beyond these, I am certainly open to discussing any other issues.

I am sure you will agree with me that we owe it to the New Hampshire electorate to discuss these issues openly and in depth. It would be a real pity if this campaign ended up like so many in the past, being just about superficial platitudes and sound bites. Let’s help educate the electorate on the issues and force our Democratic opponent to do the same. We will all be far better off for it.

All the Best,


Bob Bestani is a resident of Newmarket, a republican and running for the 1st Congressional District against Carol Shea Pelosi. Bob has too many qualifications for the job to list on this posting; but, I'll try to get him to send me a qualifications posting for your consideration.

Democrats Putting the Cart Before the Horse When it Comes to the State Budget.

While the people of New Hampshire are going about their daily lives there’s a battle of philosophies going on at the State House—one that would have the state run up a tab and then worry about where the money to pay for it is coming from and the other that would have us look at the existing revenue and live within our means. Unfortunately, the former seems to be winning.

Perhaps Democrats serving in the Legislature should take a lesson from their constituents when it comes to budgeting, especially during these tough economic times. Just as John and Mary Doe are forced to live within their means, so too should state government. But instead, in the Democrat-controlled legislature, it has become about spending and not about cutting. In the last three years it has become about raising revenue through fees and taxes and not about living within our means. In crafting a budget for 2010-2011 Democrats have clearly put the “cart before the horse.”

They tipped their hand on their budgeting philosophy back in April of this year when House Floor Majority Leader Dan Eaton (d-Stoddard) stood before his colleagues on the House floor and told them, “It makes sense to know how much you’re spending before you decide how much money to raise.” I wonder how many of his constituents fill a supermarket shopping basket to the brim and then try and figure out where the money is coming from to pay for everything once they get to the checkout counter? It’s not the way our citizens run their family budget and state government should take a lesson.

The question among the conferees who are currently deciding between the House and the Senate budget seems to be to spend at the high House level or the much higher Senate level. When they should be discussing cuts, Democrats continue to talk about increases in spending and even higher taxes. The philosophy among State House Democrats for the past three years has been to spend first, raise taxes later and not to worry how much has been spent—once again putting the proverbial cart before the horse. In fact, they have increased General Fund spending by nearly 24% since they were given control of the two chambers three years ago. Republicans, on the other hand, believe that we should first see how much revenue we have, without inflating the figures, and then adjust our spending accordingly to live within our means—just as the people of New Hampshire must do in their everyday lives.

The overall budget for the House for the two-year biennium is $5,002B while the Senate budget in General Fund dollars is $5,082B. However, the Senate added another $75M when they removed the liquor commission and placed it into a separate fund, leaving the difference between the two budgets in general fund dollars at about $155M.

In the court of public opinion, the discussion should not be whether we pass more taxes or turn to gambling to solve the budget crisis, but where we should cut in order to live within our means. In the end, Rep. Eaton got it backwards because it really makes more sense to decide how much money we have raised before deciding how much to spend. I believe that the people of New Hampshire have seen enough of the spend-and-tax Democrats and are looking to replace them with prudent Republicans who will spend less and lower state taxes.

Sherm Packard
House Republican Leader

Monday, June 8, 2009


In today’s economic environment, helping small businesses create new jobs needs to be our leading priority. Yes, we must take care of the displaced, but we must do it through job creation. The Democrats in Concord can’t seem to understand this. They keep adding more and more weight onto the state’s business community, expecting them to continue to fly. They have just done it again this week by adding more social safety net legislation at the expense of job creation. While they will now crow about “helping people” their policies will have the exact opposite impact.

America’s economic safety net undoubtedly plays an important role in stabilizing the economy when events or economic situations take a turn for the worse. Markets have always had an unfortunate tendency to over-react in the short run. Therefore, such measures as unemployment insurance serve as a good short term shock absorber to slow the descent while economic policies and normal market forces bring the economy back into balance. Other social safety net policies can also be helpful to an economy and the quality of life.

But as the saying goes, “Taken to an extreme, any virtue can be turned into a vice.” Just as a wrong sized shock absorber on a car can be counter productive, so it is in economics. The Europeans have been seeing this in spades over the last few decades. Several countries like France and Germany have adopted such inflated unemployment and other social benefits that businesses are now very reluctant to hire new people. As a result, unemployment is the overriding problem because existing businesses can’t bear the load. This also means that new businesses are hard to start and job creating innovation is much slower than in the faster paced economies. There is clearly a balance to be struck.

America’s business community is now struggling to survive in the worst economic downturn in the past seventy years. Even the largest and once most successful of businesses are holding on by their fingernails. In the past year we have seen the bankruptcy of some of America’s business icons such as Chrysler and General Motors, Merrill Lynch, Circuit City, and many others. At the same time businesses have been scaling back and closing stores at an alarming pace. As a result, the country's jobless rate jumped to 9.4 percent in May, the highest in twenty-five years. This figure is already higher than the “worse case scenario” of the government’s just completed stress tests. And there is more to come as unemployment will surely pass into the double digits.

But it is the young and the weak - small business and new graduates - that usually bear the brunt of the problem. Small businesses are much more fragile and prone to being undercapitalized and living on the edge. With the banking crisis still at high tide, they are really suffering as even short term finance is very hard to find. Young labor is also struggling to find jobs that increasingly are not there.

Oblivious to this situation, our State Senate passed out three new bills this week that will undoubtedly put even more pressure on our economy. Unfortunately, these have come on the heals of the 23 new taxes which the Legislature has signed this year.

SB144: Allows expanded unemployment benefits for such new reasons as the spouse is relocating, or to care for an ill family member. This was partly done to take advantage of stimulus funds for this year. But what about next year, and the years ahead? Ultimately, businesses will have to pay more into the unemployment account – with funds they do not have.

SB40: Requires businesses with more than 80 employees to be given 60 day notice before layoffs (compared to Federal requirement of more than 100 employees). This has numerous implications for business, including lost productivity during a layoff.

SB129: Increases the contributions required of businesses when they run a negative unemployment compensation balance. The problem is that if the balance is negative, the business is laying off people, and now more must be paid, leading to more layoffs. An amendment to defer implementation of this for one year was defeated.

There is no such thing as a free lunch. Someone will have to pay for these measures. Unfortunately, it is bound to be most heavily felt by the people of New Hampshire as businesses find the state increasingly less attractive a place to work in.

Considering what we have been seeing from the legislature this year, they seem really determined to turn our state into California or North Massachusetts.

Bob Bestani


"I'm a big fan of choice and competition, and in our country, historically, wealthy families have had a lot of options as to where to send their children. And families that didn't come from a lot of money had one option - and usually that option wasn't a good one.

The more options available, the more we give parents a chance to figure out what the best learning environment is for their child." That is a direct quote from the current United States Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan. He, and his boss, Democratic President Barack H. Obama, have made charter schools a focal point of their education policy by setting aside millions of dollars in the ARRA (American Reinvestment and Economic Recovery Act) for the creation and expansion of charter schools nationwide as did the previous administration.

Unfortunately, State Senator and Senate Majority Leader Maggie Hassen did not get the memo from the leader of the Democratic party when she voted three times to put a cap on charter school enrollment. That one section of the budget bill if passed will have the effect of closing some charter schools and reduce the number of children attending other charter schools.

In defense of her vote, Sen. Hassen said that a number of senators, including herself, supported the enrollment cap at this time because she supports the budget proposal. Hassan said she'd rather negotiate the concept when the budget heads into committee of conference.

As they say down south, that dog don't hunt. As a former member of the legislature and participant in two budget committee of conferences, it does not make sound negotiating strategy to adopt a position you plan to give up on during the negotiations and announce your intent to abandon the position before the negotiations are to begin.

What is more troubling is that as a big proponent of choice, either for abortion rights or freedom to marry, Sen. Hassen has chosen to deny parents the right to choose which educational opportunity is right for them. I guess for Sen. Hassen the concept of choice is dependent upon which side of the isle it may fall. In November of 2010 we will all have a choice.

Rogers J. Johnson

603 778 8091

Former Member of House Finance

Former House Majority Whip

Former Director of Intergovernmental Affairs, U.S. Department of Education

Saturday, June 6, 2009


From Senator Jeb Bradley:

Last week I titled my blog: Time to Talk Taxes. This week’s title is unfortunately: Time to Pay Taxes.

Just as easily it could be: New Spending = New Taxes = Job Losses.

The budget approved by the majority of the New Hampshire Senate proposes to increase total spending by $1.2 billion! That’s on top of a similar spending increase from the prior budget to the current budget of $1 billion. It's noteworthy these precipitous spending increases coincide with one party political rule in Concord.

Efforts were made to trim this spending on the Senate Floor by Republicans. We proposed four separate amendments to make across the board cuts totaling 8.4%. These amendments, which I supported, would’ve eliminated the need to increase business taxes, hospitality taxes, and tobacco taxes. The fourth amendment would’ve cut state spending so that New Hampshire’s historic commitment to assist towns with Revenue Sharing is maintained. Revenue Sharing means $50 million to cities and towns which helps lower property taxes. Not surprisingly, all four of these amendments failed --- largely on partisan votes --- which means property taxes, business, hospitality, and tobacco taxes will all go up!

The proposed increase in business taxes is particularly disturbing. Not one Senator could defend it as either good or fair tax policy. Rather, those that voted to increase business taxes were of a mind that taxes had to be raised to enable new spending; even though those who voted for higher business taxes would likely acknowledge this tax hike will cost New Hampshire jobs.

These were not the only discouraging votes for those who want to see New Hampshire jumpstart its economy, keep the cost of government low, and ensure government accountability and educational opportunity for New Hampshire students.

Two amendments which I supported were presented to ensure that local voters could continue to adopt property tax caps in their cities and towns. A number of communities have, by a popular vote of their citizens, successfully implemented property tax caps. They are now threatened by lawsuits in court. These amendments to protect the local option to pursue a tax cap were defeated on straight partisan votes. Now property taxpayers are confronted by the grim reality that the courts in New Hampshire may be determining property taxes instead of local voters.

The Senate Finance Committee recommended capping the number of students that could enroll in charter schools. Charter schools, which receive public funding and which are part of our public school system, have proven to be very successful. They are allowed by their charter to be more creative and innovative than traditional public schools.

Charter schools also undertake a huge effort to raise private dollars to bolster public funds. I recently attended a fundraiser for the Seacoast Charter School, one of the first charter schools in our state. The enthusiasm and the dedication of students, parents, staff, and the community to raise funds for this school is exceptional. It should be noted that the cost to taxpayers for charter schools is often substantially less than the cost of traditional public schools, while the quality and educational opportunities provided by charter schools is excellent.

A budget amendment would have eliminated this cap. It failed largely on partisan lines, though I supported the amendment. Should the cap stay in the budget, it is likely that at least some of the fledgling charter schools will not survive. If charter schools fail, taxpayers will find that decision both penny foolish and pound foolish, as educational innovation and lower costs to educate students will disappear. Far worse, those students who thrive in charter schools but struggle in traditional public schools will have the door of opportunity literally slammed in their face. It’s an unconscionable price for nearly 1000 New Hampshire students without a voice in this political wrangling.

On another budget issue, the Senate Finance Committee recommended removing $110 million from a fund paid into by physicians to keep medical malpractice rates in line. Doctors have forcefully stated that any money paid into this fund is not something the State can raid, because it was paid for by physicians, not the state. An amendment which I supported would have made sure this fund was not simply expropriated by the State. Naturally it failed on partisan lines. An almost certain lawsuit will follow. The State can’t count on access to this money anytime soon which means a $110 million budget hole.

Slot machine gambling easily passed the Senate. I voted against this proposal. I was struck by how little debate there was upon the potential change that gambling would have on the fabric of our state. Lastly this budget was chocker-block full of fee increases including hikes on drivers licenses, boating licenses, tolls, vanity plates, environmental permits, saltwater fishing licenses, gun permits, and motor vehicle, tractor, and motorcycle registrations. Companion legislation even raised the tax on home heating oil.

In total, taxpayers got smoked at a time that people are struggling to pay their mortgages and worried about finding or keeping a job. As if that were not enough, the economy is being unquestionably impacted in New Hampshire. In November, only five states had a better unemployment rate than New Hampshire’s. Six months later ten states have a better unemployment rate than ours. 47,000 people in New Hampshire are out of work, 20,000 more than a year ago. Economist Dennis Delay recently predicted that 13,000 more of our friends and neighbors will lose their jobs before the economy turns around.

The Labor Department just released the national employment numbers. 345,000 more Americans were out of work in May. The unemployment rate has climbed to 9.4% the highest in more than 25 years as 14.5 million people are unemployed. Since mid-February when the American Recovery and Re-Investment Act (the Stimulus) was signed, 1.5 million Americans have lost jobs. The rate of job loss may have slowed from a flood to a mere torrent but that’s grim solace indeed to people who have lost their jobs or fret every waking moment about losing their job.

Economists are predicting that national unemployment will continue to mount to over 10% before we hit bottom and slowly start to climb out of this recession a year from now.

That's why what we do with this budget matters so much! And why it is mind boggling that the majority party in the Legislature is even willing to contemplate raising taxes on businesses struggling to keep their doors open or on the hospitality industry, one of the largest in New Hampshire. A number of business leaders have warned me that these tax hikes will cost jobs, will make New Hampshire less attractive and will further undermine our already eroding competitive position relative to other states.

It is my hope that our colleagues on the other side of the aisle will reconsider their proposal to increase spending by nearly $1.2 billion and pay for it with large tax hikes on businesses, property owners, and just about everyone else. It is never easy to cut government spending. But it has to be done.

The editors of the Portsmouth Herald said it best recently: “we would urge our legislators to do what those of us in the real world have been doing for quite some time now and reduce spending rather than looking for new ways to support programs and services we can no longer afford.”

Jeb Bradley is our former Congressman and currently a NH State Senator.

Friday, June 5, 2009


The recently touted heroine of the homosexual agenda by our local newspaper has pulled another bewildering move. She voted against Charter Schools.

The NEA and educational establishment are against charter schools, home schooling or vouchers. I can’t count the number of fights I was in defending all three, even sponsoring a bill that protected home schooling parents in their dealing with the state on curriculum issues, and with the help of some friends got the bill passed. I don’t play political games; I have never considered myself part of the political establishment and not afraid to tell anyone to go to hell if I was fighting an issue important to my constituents.

When I was called about this issue I suggested to the caller to give the info to the local newspaper, if you haven’t noticed the news has been a little bland lately and since they already promoted Maggie to the heroine of the gay and lesbian agenda for saving the gay marriage bill, they ought to give special mention for being such a champion of the Charter School Program. When I was told about another one of her flip flops, I was for it before I was against it issues, I was also told that she was asked why she did this and her reply was she would fix it in a committee of conference. The information was given to the newspaper and it is out in the open.

The educational establishment does not want competition in any form and what may look like competition they already control it. The establishment does not want charter schools so they were able to get the amendment to the budget putting an 850 pupil cap on charter schools. I have been told there are about 1100 kids in the programs. The charter schools also need to expand to become financially viable and less dependant on government aid. So what are they going to do throw out a couple hundred kids? If you reduce the number of students you kill Charter Schools. What business is it of the state to tell you where you can send your kids for an education?

Now Senator Hassan got caught, once again, playing Concord Politics, she should try to save political face and correct the poor judgment she used when she again fell prey to the special interests and do what is right for the kids of our state. If you support children and education, then you support them. Not just public schools or SAU run Charter Schools; but, all children and parents in their quest for the best education they can get.

I can see a fight brewing down the road for legislation that will direct the educational part of our tax bill, almost $.75 of each dollar that goes to education to be diverted to alternate educational programs such as Charter Schools for those parents that do not want to use public education. The problem here is Charter Schools seem to be doing a better job than public education, for the kids who benefit from it, at half the cost.

It is only power and control that is causing us to be in this fight and for the good of the state and educating our children it is a fight we cannot afford to lose.