Wednesday, September 23, 2009


What’s going on politically? The answer to that is a lot. First of all Maggie seems to gone to ground and stopped bragging about what a wonderful state budget “she came up with”. In fact the state budget cuts about $280,000 a year from payments to Exeter for the next two years. The other bad thing is it is about $250,000,000 out of whack. Julie Gilman wants to build a warm up shack with toilets at the Exeter railway station that is only going to cost us $70,000 in matching funds if the program grant goes through. The town wants to hire more staff when people are still losing their jobs and can’t pay their taxes. Does anyone see a financial pattern developing of lost revenue with increased spending? On a local level what does this mean to you? When we vote for and elect liberals our taxes go up, when our taxes go up we complain, and then in the next election we vote for liberals. Let’s break this nasty agenda of increasing our tax bills and start voting for people who care more about you then themselves, now wouldn’t that be a change.

On a state level the republicans seem to be looking for someone to run for governor. Since I couldn’t talk Al Bailey or Jim Knight into it, both more than capable than what we have right now, the slot is still open. The democrats in power, as well as some republicans, really stuck it to the state employees. Your retirees that are under 65 are paying up to $130 a month for their health insurance. Prescriptions went up from a $4 co-pay program to a $10-20-30 program. Co pays to doctors went up 100%. Some argue if you retire before age 65 you should pay that. Well what about those employees who were forced to retire because of medical reasons due to injuries on the job and were forced into medical retirement? The people who least can afford the increases are paying the most. Thanks governor for your understanding and fairness.

There are approximately 35,000 state employee votes just waiting for the next election to go against those democrats and republicans who voted for this. You see in our minds it isn’t just that we have to cut back on spending because of tough times, the state employees got screwed by the very person who they got elected because it is more popular to lay off employees than to cut some of the super liberal programs that the democrats funded. As state employees we have lived through tough time and budget cuts and they are tough; but, we all know we have to chip in, this year it more nasty than usual. The good thing about America is if you don’t like who is in office you can always vote them out. Growing up there was an elderly person of French ancestry who use to say, “give dem da boot”, ok here comes “da boot”.

Speaking of the 35,000 state employee votes, they are looking for someone to support for governor and the finger is getting pointed (in a respectful way to Senator Bob Clegg from Hudson). Bob has growing support because of his simple, honest and direct approach to dealing with people. Bob has not always supported unions; but, he has never lied or misrepresented what his feelings are. Wouldn’t it be great to elect someone who doesn’t lie, keeps if fly zipped, is a fiscal conservative and comes from a honest working class background? I think so; but, if this is the kind of person you would like to represent your interests, give Bob a call and see if you can nudge him a little. Darn, all those qualities in one republican candidate are too good to be true. By the way Bob, Matt and I are friends and worked together for years in Concord. The friendship is based on trust and respect, a good way to make and keep friends.

Bob Bestani from Newmarket is running against Frank Guinta from Manchester for the 1st congressional district, held by Carol Porter. Bob was at the recent Scamman chili fest and gave a short speech about his take on world finances, a little about his massive qualifications on international finances and what his vision was for NH and the US. Afterwards, since he teaches at Stamford, I asked him if I could get CEU’s for being in his class. I don’t think he thought I was smart enough to pass the course because he told me no. Frank did his stock speech of how he was elected mayor of Manchester and kept down taxes and crime; it was more of a speech about Frank and not the State or the country. My money is on Bestani if he continues to get his name out and meet people.


There is a movement underway to remove the Exeter dam and let the river drain. There is some local support as well as a drive from the Department of Environmental Services. There are all kinds of reasons; but, none of them make sense to those of us who live along the river.

By removing the dam the hundreds of acres of wetlands and wildlife breeding areas will be wiped out. The river will become a mud flat from all the silt and solids that have settled over the years. For over 200 years the river was used a dump and I cannot estimate what it will cost to clean up old toilets, bicycles and who knows what that will have to be cleaned out. Oh, don’t forget the smell that will permeate along the river and down town area that is now covered by water.

One of the problems is the Town lied to us when, after a number of local floods, the town refused to open the gate at the dam to lower the river before a storm. At the time and the lie was, opening the gate only dropped the river two inches. I was even told that the town had a study done that proved that point. When I was told this by a selectman I asked him if it was too late to get our money back because the report was full of Pelosi.

I have lived on the river for almost 60 years and watched the river get drained to something close to a stream and that usually took about 24 hrs to do that and 36 hrs for the river to refill after the gate was closed. When that happened people could not get to their boats because of the muddy silt and in general it was a mess.

My prediction is, if the dam is removed the campgrounds on the river will suffer because people will not be able to use the river for swimming, canoeing, fishing etc. It will directly affect wildlife issues, including migratory bird breeding and fishing areas.

Leave the dam alone, manage the gate to prevent flooding, lower the river once or twice a year to let nature clean it out and do the “ nature thing” and everyone will be happy.


As we move forward on the health care debate it is almost impossible to follow the debate. We have gone from “health care is broken” to the insurance companies are evil capitalist money grabbers. The argument seems to rest on what the pollsters say people will buy into or think is true; the action words are think is true.

It appears that a growing number of Americans do not trust the federal government and with good reason. In short Obama is in trouble and the glitter has come off “the hope of change”. Part of the problem is he hasn’t come off the campaign trail yet and settled into being president. I have a simple understanding of this and that is he knows how to be a candidate but not president; so we don’t have a real president only a real candidate and a growing number of people are seeing this and do not trust him. This is what is happening to the health care debate.

Let’s remember that hospitals set the rates for health care. Insurance companies set the insurance rates. These come about by direct negotiations between the insurance companies and the hospitals/health care providers arguing over what the lowest prices the hospitals/health care providers will take as payments from the insurance companies for each procedure you have to go through. There are a lot of games played in between, even after an agreement is reached and a contract is signed. What we have dealt with in the legislature is the insurance companies not paying their bills to the hospitals in a timely manner, repeatedly claiming the hospital/health care provider used the incorrect code for billing purposes and generally just fooling around to delay payments.

As far as hospitals go the trend seems to be not about health care delivery; but, re-imbursement rates and payments. I’m sorry but the patients come second CEO bonuses come first. Hospitals put large sums of money out to the NH Hospital Association to lobby for the hospital issues, PR people and then they hire private lobbyists that know their way around the Concord political scene to push through special issues.

We are not dealing with brand new special problems dealing with health care; what we are dealing with is the age old problem of greed. Remember the famous question I asked at a health care study committee, “why is the cost of health care so expensive in the Seacoast” because people in the seacoast can afford it. Very revealing answer and truthful, no pussy footing around, right to the point.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Budget Storm Clouds Looming--Latest News & Notes from Jeb Bradley

The ink is barely dry on the New Hampshire budget signed into law by Governor Lynch on June 30. Only 2 months have elapsed in the 24 month spending blueprint, but problems Republicans warned about are intensifying like a hurricane ready to make landfall. More ominously, a Plan B strategy dealing with budget problems is not even discussed in the polite company of Democratic legislative leaders. In fact the chair of the House Finance Committee said publically a Budget Plan B is not even necessary.

Here is why Budget Plan B is more urgent every day. Tax revenues are well below expectations. When the budget was negotiated among House and Senate Democratic leaders, a funding gap between desired spending and available revenue was papered over when budget negotiators inflated revenue expectations by $75 million in the dark of night. Observers warned this $75 million was optimistic. Two months into the budget, those warnings are reality. Action needs to be taken now but Democratic leaders seem smug with happy talk that the budget will magically balance.

Here are the facts: July’s revenue was $4.7 million below expectations. August was even worse with total revenues $17.6 million below expectations. Rooms and meals was $3.7 million under estimates – even after the tax was increased from 8% to 9%. Tobacco taxes were $2 million less than predicted – even after a huge 45 cent increase on a pack of cigarettes. Business revenues were off by nearly $3 million.

To be fair, the July and August $22.3 million revenue hole needs to be taken in the context of not being historically large revenue months. However, September’s revenue figures will be a bell-weather as many businesses and individuals make estimated quarterly payments. If September underperforms and continues the July / August trend, New Hampshire is staring down the gun barrel of a very large revenue deficit. And no one should forget that the $22.3 million hole comes despite 38 new or increased taxes or fees in this budget.

Revenue deficits are only one part of the problem. The state is in a losing streak in court cases. Superior Court Justice Diane Nicolosi ruled in favor of the New Hampshire Health Care Association and blocked the State from keeping $9 million that nursing homes claim they are entitled to. Belknap County Superior Court Justice Kathleen McGuire ruled that a budget provision, which transferred $110 million from a fund controlled by the Joint Underwriting Association to the State’s General Fund to balance the budget, is unconstitutional.

Justice McGuire’s well researched, clearly written and completely unambiguous ruling, held that the politicians who supported this proposed $110 million transfer, are in violation of both the ‘takings’ and ‘contracts’ clauses of the New Hampshire Constitution and the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution.

While the State has appealed Justice McGuire’s decision, nobody in Concord ---- except the Democratic cheerleaders who proposed this $110 million sleight of hand transfer ---- believe the state will win the appeal.

A third lawsuit is about to be filed by the New Hampshire Municipal Association over the budget downshifting of state expenses to towns and cities. The Municipal Association has estimated the downshift will increase local property taxes by $90 million which is why nearly 150 towns and over 50 school districts will join this lawsuit.

In the face of mounting budget problems, Democratic legislative leaders have spent the summer barn storming across New Hampshire on their “truth and responsibility” tour. These leaders are claiming that state spending has been reduced by 1%. If the assertion was true – the Democratic architects of the budget would deserve credit.

But --- it is always easier to fall for the narcotic of believing your own spin rather than focusing on facts. Again, here are the facts. Total state spending increased by nearly $1.1 billion or 10.48% according to the non-partisan Legislative Budget Assistant (LBA). Putting that spending hike in context, it is critical to recall that total state spending increased by 11.17% in the previous budget according to the LBA.

The responsibility part of the tour by Democratic legislators must be intended to remind voters they have an obligation to dig deeper into already thin wallets to pay for this explosive growth in state spending at a time people fear they will join the 50,000 unemployed New Hampshire citizens. Thus Democratic leaders plead that the 38 new or increased fees or taxes are somehow responsible.

There is scant recognition in Concord how bleak our budget picture is. Nor will it improve until the national economy starts to grow out of ruinous deficits, bad debt, bailouts, government takeover of companies, and the bloated stimulus that has actually increased the unemployment rate to 9.7%. Most experts believe the jobless rate will climb to over 10% before things begin to turn next summer. These stark conditions should compel Democratic leaders in Concord to develop Plan B immediately.
That is precisely why Republicans called upon Governor Lynch to release the results of his call nearly a year ago for agency heads to produce budget plans that spend 3% less than their department did in previous budgets. That is the responsible way to confront a growing budget deficit—with spending cuts.

Our parents always taught us to say what we mean and mean what we say. Unfortunately, the more Democratic leaders tout “truth and responsibility” in regards to their budget, the more they mean taxes. The House Speaker recently said she was open to an income tax. Perhaps that’s honest. But it should be a stark warning to everyone who wants our state to remain a low tax haven – that income tax proponents are lurking. And the only way to fight an income tax is with fiscal discipline and spending cuts.