Tuesday, April 27, 2010


Unfortunately, Yes We Can!

By Jeb Bradley

Joe Castiglione, the inestimable radio play-by-play announcer of the Boston Red Sox, has called two World Series victories. When the last out was recorded, Joe finished his play-by-play with words that rang through all of New England: “Can You Believe It?”

The “unbelievabilty” of the Red Sox winning two World Series has passed, but the unbelievability of what is happening in Concord and Washington continues to grow – the polar opposite of Red Sox Nation’s joy.

In Washington, spending escalates unchecked, the deficit hemorrhages red ink, and the overall debt frighteningly approaches unsustainablity. The 2009 deficit was $1.42trillion. It is likely to grow in 2010 and is estimated to average nearly a Trillion Dollars for the next ten years. The total debt hit $12 Trillion, an eye popping $39,000 for every American man, woman, and child.

Taxes are also set to go through the roof. Unless Congress acts before year’s end, each tax bracket for individual Americans will climb, the marriage penalty reappears, and small business expensing provisions disappear. Taxes on investment income – particularly tough on seniors, will jump precipitously and the death tax will come roaring back. In 2013 a new .9% increase in the Medicare payroll tax goes into effect as well as a 3.8% tax on investment income. In 2014 a federal tax on health insurance will be added to the tax-soup. Meanwhile, Washington is abuzz with talk of a staggering new Value Added Tax. All of this is against the backdrop of the Unemployment Rate hovering near 10%.

The view from Concord is similar. Spending increased by 23% over the last two budgets and the State now faces a $220 million deficit despite nearly draining the so-called Rainy Day Fund. The next budget gets even worse as one-time federal money disappears and the deficit explodes past $600 million. These deficits are despite the 38 new or increased fees and taxes including the job-killing income tax on small business owners known as the LLC Tax. Now Governor Lynch is proposing new taxes on tobacco products and higher property taxes as the State shifts ever more costs to cities and towns.

While Congress and Concord flounder with deficit spending and taxes, 52,508 of our New Hampshire friends and neighbors are out of work and scant progress has been made to reverse the hardship of job loss.

Just when one would think conditions could not get much worse --- they have. Despite the overwhelming need to create jobs for Americans, Washington has spent the last year concentrating on health care reform. Unquestionably, insurance reforms dealing with pre-existing conditions, insurance cut-offs during illness, and life-time limits were overdue. However, what Congress produced is “reform” that will cost at least $1 trillion over ten years, drive up costs for states, reduce choices for consumers, increase taxes, cut Medicare for seniors, increase insurance costs, further increase the deficit and debt, and lead to more government take-over of health care in America.

Given health care reform problems, the flawed political process used to pass it, and the significant majorities of Americans fundamentally opposed to the federal legislation, why would New Hampshire Democrats eagerly follow their Congressional brethren and attempt to pass New Hampshire’s version of health care reform?

Unbelievable perhaps, but that’s precisely what Concord Democrats are proposing.

In a little noticed move late last week a non-germane amendment was scheduled for a hearing on Tuesday April 27th to ostensibly be added to legislation that had previously passed the Senate: SB-455. This amendment will give the New Hampshire Insurance Department (NHID) virtually carte-blanche authority to adopt any and all rules to implement health care reform in New Hampshire per the federal legislation.

This type of unfettered authority for the NHID would leave the Legislature almost totally devoid of any say over health care policy in New Hampshire – an almost unprecedented transfer of power from elected officials to an unelected government agency.

Federal health care reform is now the law of the land. But, before Concord Democrats kowtow to an all knowing federal government and cede control of health care policy to the Insurance Department, consider the following:
The most significant federal mandate --- that states show progress creating so-called health exchanges --occurs in January 2013. Exchanges must be implemented by January of 2014. This amendment does not need to be jammed through now without proper scrutiny, and --- if even necessary --- can and should be fully vetted in the next Legislature.

Furthermore, the NHID would have authority to commit taxpayers to more generous Medicaid benefits than required under the federal law. This decision must be left to elected officials more accountable to taxpayers.

Twenty one states have joined the lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of key provisions of health care reform. Shouldn’t New Hampshire wait for the outcome of this challenge before simply blessing the new federal law?

Lastly, national elections will be held in just six months. There could well be a political shift in Washington that may dramatically impact the status of the federal law. Yet, another reason to wait!

Regardless of whether the new federal law is good or bad or some combination– it is simply unfathomable that Concord Democrats would transfer all implementation of the law to an unelected bureaucracy.

Governor Lynch had previously – and correctly -- spoken out against unfunded mandates in the federal law that will substantially increase costs to New Hampshire taxpayers. Now however, executive agencies indicated these new costs are apparently acceptable.

Just as apparent, Concord Democrats are simply falling into line and embracing whatever decree and judgment Washington orders.

Thus Concord Democrats are hoping to slip this unprecedented amendment through quickly with at best cursory review. Given their record on taxes, spending, deficits, and a faltering economy it’s no wonder they would want to push this through before anyone notices.

Can you believe it? Unfortunately---Yes We Can!


Jeb Bradley for State Senate 645 SOUTH MAIN STREET WOLFEBORO, NH 03894

Saturday, April 24, 2010



At the last selectman’s meeting Bill Campbell (a member of the socialist colony of high street) made the motion to give Pete his hot dog vending permit. It was an interesting discussion; Don Clement recused himself that was one vote against, that left. Bobby was talking as if he was going to support the permit until the Chief of Police stood up and voiced his displeasure then Bobby voted against the permit. Matt seconded Bill’s motion and the vote was two to one. Julie was lucky she didn’t vote so she was able to hide on the issue. So Pete will be selling hot dogs again real soon.

I want to thank Bill for his understanding of the issue and that there was no right or wrong; but, a situation that got out of hand because of the lack of leadership in the town. Bill should be congratulated for his common sense vote on this; thank you Bill.


The recent NH Legislative session put another nail in the coffin of gambling in NH and special interest money going to some of the state senators. It is interesting to note that all the districts state reps voted against gambling while our senator stood fast in support of it. OK, Maggie, put you hand back in to your own pocket and call it a day.

In the legislature some of these bills are like vampires, you just don’t know when they are going to pop up again and bite you, so keep your eyes and ears open to see how this will rise again.


For some unknown reason the academy has locked their campus gates on River Street and Brown’s court so if you want to walk the fields you have to go around by the tennis courts. That makes it problematic because with us, when Sieka goes with us for a walk, she always takes her two cats. That’s right a 110 pound Labrador/Dalmatian with two little tri colored female cats going for a walk together. Sieka protects them from other dogs and it is the funniest things to see the Quandt family walking the fields.

Those gates that the academy closed have allowed access for as long as I’ve lived in Exeter, which is about 60 years. To do this now and cause hard feelings and a pr disaster does not make any sense to me. Maybe someone from the academy can explain why they are no longer user friendly.

I wondered if they didn’t want the townies seeing them heavily fertilizing their fields and then having the fertilizer end up in the river when it rains. We’ll do some checking around and see what is going on.

Saturday, April 17, 2010


At last Monday’s Exeter Board of Selectmen’s meeting Pete the hot dog vendor had his annual request for his seller’s license to sell hot dogs at the Swazey Parkway on the agenda. It was pretty obvious he was involved in an uphill fight to get a new permit.

Last year was certainly a difficult one for Pete, he had some issues with the farmer’s market, then various town officials told him one thing, he did it, then they changed the rules and what they told him. I believe the bottom line is Pete is a good guy but, doesn’t like getting screwed with, push him and he will push back. What does our town government specialize in, screwing with people? Pete if pushed will push back; the town doesn’t like that, WOW I figured this out all on my own. Remember the Exeter Town Officials do not work for us; but, for themselves. It appears to be a simple case of mind over matter, they don’t mind and we the taxpayers don’t matter. I believe the majority of the board of selectman will argue Pete shouldn’t get a permit because of past complaints. I’ve heard all about the past complaints and they are Pelosi (short for BS).

There are fundamentally wrong issues on how this town is being run. This hot dog vending case is a prime example. Pete is an honest and outgoing business man who buys all of his goods locally. He has made a good sized investment into his enterprise and sells a good product at a fair price. His business is booming because there is a need for a quick hot dog, soda, chips or water for the hundreds of people who take the beautiful walk down along the parkway water front.

Now our new socialist board of selectmen appears, to be on the verge of denying his permit. What they were saying is they want to review the permit process before they make up their mind. If they do that, and Matt made a good point, NO PERMITS for using town property, including the parkway until this issue is resolved.

As a young man I was quick to jump into a fight, no matter what the odds, I just liked a good fight. Then as I grew older and wiser I came to realize you have to be a real dummy to either run into a fight or get into a fight you didn’t have to be in. This is a fight the town doesn’t want or need; but, our socialist hot dog hating BOS are dragging us into.

An alternative to what is going on is that if Peter is denied a permit he could easily, for the next town meeting, get 500-1,000 signatures on a petition to give him the space he needs and the location he needs to sell us his hot dogs. It could only be revoked by another town meeting vote. Then the same 500 to 1,000 signatures could be organized to throw out the socialists on the board of selectman and maybe then we can move ahead with a common sense productive agenda for the taxpayers of Exeter. That would put an end to our hot dog hating socialists on the EBOS.

For the record at the last selectman’s meeting Matt was the only member to support giving Pete his vending permit.

Monday, April 12, 2010


Budget Blues
by Jeb Bradley

Governor Lynch has finally weighed in on the budget crisis with his proposal for balancing a $220 million deficit. Let's re-visit how we got here, and place it in the context of the overall economy.

While there have been glimmers of economic hope, New Hampshire citizens continue to struggle. The national unemployment rate crested at 10.1% in October. Since then the national rate has inched downward to 9.7% while unemployment in NH has continued to climb. Our October rate was 6.8% and 50,483 people were unemployed. February, the last month for available numbers in NH, the unemployment rate had climbed to 7.1% and 52,875 people are unemployed. Ominously, a recent study indicated that NH lost more jobs per capita to China, especially in technology than any other state.

In the past, NH led national economic recoveries, so why now are job losses in New Hampshire growing? Can it be the 38 new or increased taxes and fees implemented by the Legislature in June 2009? It's likely that tax levies on business owners have undermined the incentive for small businesses to locate or expand in New Hampshire. Aggressive and constant Department of Revenue audits on small business owners have resulted in imposition of the business profits tax on a significant portion of a business owner’s salary. This 8.5% tax combined with the 5% LLC Tax on the same stream of business owner salary has created a deadly job-killing 13.5% tax on business owners and the jobs they create.

The non-partisan Tax Foundation recently ranked NH’s corporate tax system the worst in the nation. While hard to believe, the business climate in Massachusetts is better than New Hampshire’s – a dangerous condition which illustrates why our unemployment rate has continued to climb while the national rate has declined.

The good news in Governor Lynch’s budget proposal is the assumed repeal of the LLC tax. Finally -- reluctantly, Democrats in Concord who voted for the LLC Tax, despite not being vetted in a public hearing, and defending it as merely closing a loophole, have seen the light. It’s a small miracle that Democrats finally realized that increasing so many job killing taxes in the face of rising unemployment is not a prescription for helping working families and creating jobs. Perhaps they realized that the November elections are right around the corner and voters are angry!

The LLC tax is not the only tax harming our economy. The so-called camping tax --- also enacted without a public hearing --- may take the foolishness cake. Supporters claimed this tax would raise $7 million over the two year budget. But so far it has raised only $500,000 in the first year which includes most of the camping season.

On a bill I sponsored to repeal this tax, campground owners testified at a public hearing that they are losing business as campers avoid New Hampshire. Unfortunately, the Democratic leadership laid the repeal bill on the table in the Senate – never to be seen again. Thankfully, Representative Herb Richardson’s bill which also repeals the campground tax, survived the water torture of the House Democratic leadership’s effort to kill it. Rep. Richardson's effort succeeded and the legislation is on its way to the Governor’s desk. Governor Lynch probably realized that the paltry $500,000 raised is more than offset by campers avoiding NH and thus not contributing to state revenue raised from sale of gasoline, meals, tobacco, wine, beer, and liquor. So his budget proposal eliminates the camping tax thus enhancing the tourist economy – one of our biggest sources of jobs and state revenues.

Governor Lynch also proposed a number of across the board cuts – precisely what Republicans had recommended when the budget’s 10.5% spending increase was adopted. Had those cuts not been summarily rejected 10 months ago, today’s problems would not be as dire. Nevertheless the Governor has begun the process of reeling in the excessive spending with cuts to the courts, attorney general’s office, health and human services, education, corrections, environmental services, and information technology. An additional 30 to 35 people will lose jobs on top of nearly 300 jobs that have already been cut.

Some troubling aspects of the Governor's proposal are the $25 million of operating expenses at UNH that will be bonded – on top of the recent bonding of school building aid. Continued bonding in this manner isn’t sustainable. The cigarette tax will increase for the 5th time in 6 years. Much of the competitive advantage NH enjoys over neighboring states will evaporate, so revenue growth may not match expectations. Lastly, the budget proposal’s assault on property taxpayers continues as retirement costs, revenue sharing and some education programs will be downshifted to cities and towns.

Here is an idea the Governor should consider rather than socking property taxpayers with more costs. The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) fund may have approximately $15 million in it by the end of the budget. Currently these funds are disbursed to different entities such as UNH, Dartmouth, and Stonyfield Farms to reduce carbon emissions. Consider this however: UNH has been paying golden parachute bonuses for years to top administrators, Dartmouth College has an endowment, while Stonyfield is one of NH’s most successful corporations. Surely property tax relief, at a time when 52,875 people are unemployed and countless more NH citizens are struggling, is a higher priority for scarce resources.

Governor Lynch’s proposal may resolve this current budget crisis through a patchwork of spending cuts, one time fixes and accounting maneuvers, but the state will continue to lurch from crisis to crisis because we are avoiding long overdue restructuring of state spending for Medicaid, education funding, retirement and healthcare costs. These big ticket items unless reformed –quickly – will produce a more profound future crisis -- a likely income or sales tax and erosion of well-paid jobs. We have an opportunity – indeed an obligation to confront and resolve these growing fiscal problems before it is too late. If not, perhaps this blog should be re-titled from Budget Blues to Budget in the Red.


Jeb Bradley for State Senate 645 SOUTH MAIN STREET WOLFEBORO, NH 03894