Wednesday, June 30, 2010


"A Wish and a Prayer"

By Jeb Bradley

So said the Concord Monitor in their June 13th Editorial titled “Not a State Budget to be Proud Of.” How did the Democratic controlled New Hampshire Legislature get into such a predicament?

Spending has jumped by 10.5% while revenues fell through the floor --- $102 million behind the estimate for the first eleven months of this fiscal year. Leading the revenue plunge are business taxes – off $43 million, rooms and meals taxes ---off $20million, and interest and dividends taxes --- off a whopping $27 million. With the economic recovery anemic at best, revenues are not likely to improve any time soon.

On top of that, the effort to simply expropriate $110 million from a doctor’s medical liability fund (JUA) was deemed to be an unconstitutional taking of private property. All of which created a budget deficit estimated at $300 million by June 2011 when books close – up from a $220 million projection just in April.

Governor Lynch recently called a ‘Special Session’ of the Legislature to confront this alarming deficit – about 10% of the state’s General Fund. The package that emerged from the Special Session includes unprecedented borrowing and one-time revenue sources, uncertain receipt of federal funds, and unspecified sale of State property: The Credit Card.

The non-partisan Legislative Budget Assistant projects one-time revenue sources in the original budget and in the recent deficit package exceed $1 billion. Even excluding the $110 JUA raid and a $50 million reduction of funds that traditionally has gone to cities and towns to lower property taxes – this combined budget package relies upon a whopping 27% of one-time revenue for the General Fund. Nearly $200 million of that amount is unprecedented borrowing for operating expenses rather than capital investments such as buildings or bridges. Much of the balance of one-time revenue was federal stimulus funds.

Even stimulus funds may have reached their limit. Americans, fearful of a Greece-like debt crisis have sent Congress a message. Several incumbents have lost or barely survived recent primaries so Congress has yet to authorize more state aid. Thus $48 million of even more one-time federal money Legislators counted on is in limbo. Whoops – the check is not in the mail even though desperate Legislators are declaring it will be.

The deficit package also relies on unspecified sale of State property. While this idea may make sense, in a very soft real-estate market how likely is the State to receive reasonable value? When this idea was first proposed several weeks ago the estimated revenue proceeds were $50 million. Like magic, the revenue projections just jumped to $60 million. Presto: revenue grows when Legislators simply deem the real estate market has improved.

What about cuts? There were some cuts totaling $52 million but only 1.6% of the General Fund. This so-called $300 million deficit fix in reality is limited cuts, huge borrowing, and one-time revenue --- some of which may not even be real.

Where do all these maneuvers leave the budget? The authors claim the budget is now balanced, precisely what they predicted a year ago before it became a $300 million deficit. For the budget to balance now, they are counting on the unlikely prospect of revenue recovery.

The Prayer: what all the borrowing and one-time revenue does is allow the budget’s authors to cynically claim it is balanced for political purposes in November and pray they avoid the voter’s wrath for their spendthrift ways. But next year---facing nearly a billion dollar one-time revenue shortfall, New Hampshire will confront a fiscal train wreck.

While spending soared and the deficit grew, the numerous tax hikes over the last four years have hurt struggling families, besieged small businesses, while leaving New Hampshire less competitive for job growth or able to confront this looming deficit. In the previous budget, 29 taxes or fees were hiked. In this budget, 38 taxes or fees were raised including the job killing LLC Tax -- nothing more than an income tax on small businesses. The LLC Tax turned out to be so toxic to both small businesses and the Democrats who voted for it, that it was repealed. Even with the repeal, New Hampshire still has the worst corporate tax laws in the nation according to the non-partisan Tax Foundation.

Other warning signs from the Tax Foundation for our State include one of the highest levels of state debt per capita, being only slightly below the national average for state and local tax burden, and having among the higher levels of property taxes in the nation.

All these new taxes and warning signs in terms of national rankings are against the recent backdrop of 50,080 New Hampshire people being unemployed and the national pace of job growth anemic at best.

Four short years ago when change came to both Concord and Washington, the unemployment rate in New Hampshire was 3.6% and 26,865 people were unemployed. In April, the unemployment rate had soared to 6.7% and 50,080 were out of work. Having the worst corporate taxes and a Legislature willing to levy an income tax on small business owners is no way to get people back to work.

There are those legislators -- and now candidates -- who want to ignore the taxes, spending hikes, and deficits of the last four years and claim their stewardship of New Hampshire has been responsible. They point to other states in worse shape than New Hampshire, but ignore the fact that these other states have even higher levels of spending and taxation. Comparing New Hampshire to even more profligate states is no way to govern or help struggling families and small businesses.

The Wish: many of these same folks have always wished for income and sales taxes. Next year they will likely propose an income tax and a sales tax to close the budget hole they created. There could not be a clearer choice in November or a more important election for our State’s future.


Sunday, June 13, 2010


After a few years and campaigns of strained relationships Matt and I decided to run independent of the republican political machine. WOW are they upset that they cannot control the process and the candidates. They have to try to stomp on us because if they don’t they will lose control of process and people might see that they do not represent them.

We told the Tri Town Committee that we would run our own campaign and did not want to run with them; we just wanted to run our own campaign and be independent of the establishment. There are people in the tri-town that we like and respect very much and those who we think are a little off psychological center. Then we signed up, like we did on so many other campaigns as republicans, had a very nice interview with Josh Clark from the News Letter and I thought our position was well articulated and reported (although a lot was discussed in the interview it couldn’t all be put in). The very next day a republican from Stratham was at the Lilac Luncheon in Nashua bashing us to anyone who would listen; claiming we called them all pigs and elitists, etc, etc and etc. Some humored her and others called us claiming they thought she was crazy and losing it. This is the same loyal republican that after the last election told people that she voted for Maggie Hassan. That is why we have the freedom to vote and support whomever we choose; but, stop being a hypocrite. I feel so sorry for her husband; he’s not a bad guy.

Then we get bashed by the good old boy Stratham clique telling friends of ours that they should stay away from us because we are going to lose the election because the republicans going to vote against us. I think this was the same little republican group that was working against us behind the scenes during the last election. I have a question; are we suppose to lose the primary or the general election?

We could very well lose the election; but, that choice is up to you the voters and not the animal farm clique of elitists that are trying to control the process and you the voters.

Just to define what I think an elitist is, it is not someone who has a lot of money, that is called being a capitalist and capitalism is good. It is an individual who thinks they should be part of the ruling class and are better than anyone else and since they are better than anyone else or (in their minds) better than anyone else, we should do what they tell us to do. These are the kinds of people you can’t work with but can only work for and are political control freaks.

If they want a real fight bring it on, we can talk about a republican house speaker who killed an effort, at the request of the special interests, to study combining, Securities, Banking and Insurance so the 80 million $’s in invested life savings probably wouldn’t happen like with the FRM scandal. We can talk about the effort to redefine what an unfair business practice was so we could close loopholes in the consumer protection law that was killed by our own republicans, and a candidate running for state senate, at the request of the lobbyists representing the special interests that Matt I fought on a daily basis. Bring it on and let’s make this a campaign of issues and not threats or attempted intimidations.

The democratic establishment is just as bad, it is all about money, power and influence so please don’t think the republican establishment has a lock on this type of bad political behavior.

To those people all I can say is your thinking is about 25-35 years behind the times and you have lost touch with the people of NH.

When Matt first ran I bought and made him read George Orwell’s Animal Farm book. I thought it would give him a better perspective of what he has to be careful of in politics specifically, don’t become what your replacing. In Matt’s case it worked, for those important people who are attacking us, my suggestion is read the book and stop acting stupid, throw some cold water on your face, take a couple of deep breaths and listen to yourselves.

Friday, June 11, 2010


SEA Members Looking to Lead in the Legislature

This week, SEA members continued to file to be candidates for the New Hampshire Legislature.

Last Friday, retired Probation and Parole officer Lee Quandt filed seeking a return to the State House from Exeter. Lee had served in the Legislature for eight years from 1998-2002 and 2002-2008. When Lee served in the House, he never forgot his roots, supporting SEA and union members while also holding true to his roots as a fiscal conservative. Matt Quandt also filed for re-election, seeking his sixth term in the House.

Lee and Matt also accompanied Chapter 1 member Tim Copeland over to Stratham Town Hall, where Tim filed for his first run for the State Legislature. "I'm excited," said Tim. "I think that state employees and retirees were treated unfairly these past two years and I look forward to standing up for them in the Legislature if I get elected."

Also filing for a re-election to the State House was Chapter 1 member John Tholl, Jr., retired from the Department of Safety, who recently won a special election in Coos 2 with strong support from SEA members in the North Country. John had previously served five terms in the State House.

Rep. Deb Wheeler, a Chapter 1 member who previously worked at the Department of Revenue, filed for re-election as well. Deb has served two terms in the Legislature and has been a steadfast supporter of New Hampshire public employees and retirees. Deb went to SEIU candidate school this year and is ready to run her strongest campaign to date.

The filing deadline is tomorrow, Friday, June 11th. Contact SEA Government Relations Coordinator Brian Hawkins at 271-3411 x120 for more information about how SEA can help candidates run for office.

Monday, June 7, 2010


On Friday morning Tim Copeland, Stratham Selectman, Brian Hawkins, SEANH governmental affairs person, Lee and Matt Quandt met at the town offices for Matt and Lee to sign up for state rep. Tim and Brian, as well as Josh Clark from the Exeter News Letter, were there for the signing of the forms. After we signed up and was interviewed we went to Stratham with Tim to be with him when he signed up, that’s what friends do.

It was a cordial interview with Josh and he was quite probing on issues. Matt as usual came out with his Matt wisdom and likened the political establishments as pigs in George Orville’s book, Animal Farm. Some people are complaining that they were referred to as “pigs”, anybody with and ounce of brains that read the article could clearly see what the reference was. If they have never read the book then they should and maybe we wouldn’t have this discussion now. I bought Matt that book when he first ran. I wanted him to understand the downside of politics and power politics I think he has learned well and has done a good job in Concord representing his constituents. I know some of the book has stuck with him.

There appears to be a number of tweaked noses on our decision to run as republicans independent of the party machine. This has been a long time coming and the decision was not made lightly. Just to clarify our position, we are republicans, have always been republicans and I will die a republican. Both of us believe in the basic republican philosophy of the lesses: less spending, less government interference in your lives and less burdensome laws.

We are not supposed to know who; but, we were stabbed in the back by some so called loyal republicans in the last campaign. It is a small area and some who did told some of their friends who told us. OK, no problem both Matt and I are veterans, we defended their right to vote for whom they wish. On the other hand we fought for the right for us to make our own decisions and support whatever philosophy we want.

I have respect for both political parties and their leadership, as I do any candidate that runs for political office. I might think some of them are nuts; but, they’re willing to step up to the plate and do a thankless job for their constituents.

Matt and I signed up as republicans because that is who we are; we are just not establishment career politicians. We are not career politicians who want to use being a state rep as a stepping stone to higher office or as proof of our importance. You are the important ones because by voting for us we are obligated to represent you as the very best we can.

If the republican or democratic establishment is offended by our political assessment and wants to fight us politically, then that is their right. If they are smart they will look introspectively and see why there is some much disillusionment of both parties maybe this independent feeling from the political establishment of both parties will subside.

Although both parties want to control the voters and influence their votes, the choice of how you vote, what issues you support and what candidates you support is still a choice of a free electorate, a freedom that Matt and I have literally fought for.

I also have a daughter in Kabul carrying on the Quandt tradition of fighting for freedom and what we believe in.