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Stories From The NH Primary: A New Web Series You Need To Check Out

Stories From The NH Primary

If you follow New Hampshire’s First In The Nation primary like I do then, I think you would enjoy this new web series from Kevin Bowe aptly named, Stories from the NH Primary. .

This informative project is going behind the scenes and taking a closer look at some of the ways Granite Stater’s get involved in the NH Primary process.

Below are the first four episodes in the ongoing series.  You can subscribe to all of them via YouTube here.

Video 1: Unicorns and Rainbows

Video 2: The Empire Strikes Back…

Video 3: Bird Dog U featuring Arnie Alpert and Olivia Zink from AFSC.

Video 4: Ode To The 4th of July

I talked with Kevin  Bowe about this new project and he gave me a little insight into why he started this new web series.

“It is a combination of my passion for politics (I worked for Wes Clark in the 2004 NH Primary), my recently developed skills as a video producer (acquired after 2004) and the fact that I live so close to New Hampshire,” said Bowe.  “All the ingredients were in place and it is really one of those situations where I HAD to do a video series on the New Hampshire Primary.”

“My video production work has recently started to focus on telling the personal history and family legacies of ordinary people.  So when I started to think about how I could do something unique with the New Hampshire Primary, I realized that there are a ton of stories–that are compelling, funny or reflective of our republic and political system–that surround the primary,” Bowe said.

I asked Kevin what is the ultimate goal of the project?

“I know what the goal will not be, and that is the bread and butter “cover the candidates and provide analysis” that everybody does and frankly will do better than a one-person band like me,” said Bowe  

“My audience is the political junkie that absorbs a ton of presidential news, so my goal is to create small bite sized weekly videos (about 2 minutes) that give a them added information or perspectives that are unique and entertaining.  That could be something as simple as showing crowd sizes (something the networks seldom do); giving viewers a feel for the circus atmosphere at many events, original footage of candidates and the media behind the curtain, or telling some of the countless stories about the people who make the New Hampshire primary the iconic event that it has developed into,” concluded Bowe.

 Be sure to subscribe to his YouTube channel to get your weekly update of Stories From The NH Primary


More information about Kevin and his project can be found at these links:

Production company: http://story-crafters.com 

Youtube channel with the series:  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCzl7JplaXZK-qFL390eqdXg

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/StoryCrafters?ref=hl

Twitter: @storycrafters   


Does Chris Christie Really Think We Have Forgotten All Those Videos Of You Yelling A Teachers?

 As Christie tries to turn over a new leaf,
“he better hope that New Hampshire hasn’t discovered Google”
 

CONCORD – After a days-long swing through New Hampshire, Chris Christie is trying to turn over a new leaf. He’s working desperately to shed his reputation as the “bully who loses his temper and belittles people with less power,” and instead is now treating “the presidential contest like a season of ‘The Bachelorette.’” 

But one thing’s for sure: New Hampshire voters won’t let Christie run away from his failed record in New Jersey which includes nine downgrades in the state’s credit rating, a “public employee pension crisis,” and that darned “Bridgegate scandal, involving his once inner circle of aides.” As his hometown paper says, “he better hope that New Hampshire hasn’t discovered Google. Because when Christie bares his teeth it doesn’t look controlled. More like unchecked belligerence, the sort of thing that gets children placed in time-outs.” 

In N.H., Christie says he’s ‘Telling It Like It Is’ // James Pindell, Boston Globe

This week Christie became the 14th Republican to announce his intention to run for president in 2016. Two years ago Christie led the field, but he is in a much weakened position today.

Under his watch, New Jersey has undergone nine credit rating downgrades. The state is ranked 48th in private-sector job growth. He faces a public employee pension crisis. In addition, the so-called Bridgegate scandal, involving his once inner circle of aides, is still not over…

As a result, in his presidential announcement launch and during five straight days of campaigning in the Granite State, Christie has treated the presidential contest like a season of “The Bachelorette”: trying to win over voters with charm and personal rapport…

Christie tries to earn points by going after political opponents — liberals, Democrats, and teachers’ unions, Hawkins said.

“McCain also had an inspiring war hero biography that was central to his story,” he said. “When people think of Christie, they think of a brash New Jersey guy who yells at people.”

Christie’s anger, the beast inside that he must hide // Moran, Star-Ledger

One of Gov. Chris Christie’s core tasks in New Hampshire is to make sure voters don’t see the beast within, the bully who loses his temper and belittles people with less power. 

We’ve seen this act over and over in New Jersey, and it’s one reason that the governor is now about as popular as a blistering skin rash. It’s not just because the state is a mess; it’s personal. 

For evidence, look to the latest FDU poll, which showed 39 percent of New Jerseyans “dislike everything” about the governor, as opposed to the added 23 percent who just hate his policies.

It’s as if Jersey stuffed a bad clam in its mouth and wants to spit it out fast… 

He better hope that New Hampshire hasn’t discovered Google. Because when Christie bares his teeth it doesn’t look controlled. More like unchecked belligerence, the sort of thing that gets children placed in time-outs…

 

Concord Monitor On The Damaging Consequences Of Unpaid-For Tax Giveaways

GOP Speaker Shawn Jasper Sends Lawmakers On Vacation

Concord, N.H. – As New Hampshire Republicans continue to push for unpaid-for corporate tax giveaways that would blow a $90 million hole in future budgets, the Concord Monitor examines the damaging consequences of unpaid-for tax giveaways. 

The Monitor reported, “So how did the cuts work out for Kansas? Did Brownback’s predictions come true? They didn’t. The state found itself with a gaping deficit and with shortfalls as far as the eye could see. Lawmakers this session had to figure out how to plug a $400 million budget hole, and their session stretched to an epic 113 days.” And in order to preserve the business tax giveaways, “the Kansas legislature ended up increasing sales taxes to the second-highest rate in the country.” 

The Monitor concluded that contrary to Republicans’ claims, if tax cuts for businesses “contribute to instability in state budgeting, such cuts could actually drive businesses away.” 

While Governor Hassan continues to reiterate her willingness to return to work immediately to pass a balanced, compromise budget that is fiscally responsible and meets the needs of New Hampshire, GOP House Speaker Shawn Jasper sent members on vacation, telling lawmakers “there will be no legislative activity this month and no mileage payments for traveling to and from Concord.” 

On Independence Day NH Rebellion and NH Stamp Stampede Rally Against Corruption

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On July 4th, Hundreds to Celebrate the Declaration of Independence and Call for “Rebellion” Against Modern-Day Corruption in Politics

Public Reading of Declaration of Independence Concludes 36-mile “Walk for Independence” to Portsmouth, NH

PORTSMOUTH, NH — After the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776, prints were made, couriers dispatched, and the Declaration read in towns throughout the colonies, including Portsmouth.  This Saturday, July 4th, hundreds of citizen rebels again gather to hear the entire Declaration in Prescott Park as part of a new rebellion against big money politics.  

Hosted by the NH Rebellion, the reading of the Declaration of Independence will be done by former Democratic State Senator Burt Cohen and former Republican State Representative and Assistant US Secretary of State Betty Tamposi.  The cross-partisan reading and “Rally for Independence” come at the end of NH Rebellion’s July 4th “Walk for Independence” from Rochester and Hampton to Portsmouth.  The walks follow in the footsteps of legendary NH reformer Doris “Granny D” Haddock, who walked across the United States at the age of 90 to protest big money in politics.

“Just like in the American Revolution, the citizens are angry. Angry that their vote doesn’t carry as much weight as a big corporation, which doesn’t even have a vote,”  said Dan Weeks, a leader of the NH Rebellion.  “We’re out to change that, and demand that candidates for office take action against this corruption when they get to office,” he said.

The event begins at 4:30 as free Ben & Jerry’s ice cream is served to walkers and anyone who attends the rally, followed by the reading of the Declaration at 5 p.m. and speakers from the NH Rebellion.   Citizens are still welcome to register for the free walk at walk.nhrebellion.org as well as attend the rally.

Lawrence Lessig, founder of the NH Rebellion, will be speaking at the rally.   Lessig is a Harvard Law School Professor and internationally known expert on intellectual property, but has turned his time to organizing against the influence of big money in politics.   His TED Talk “We the People” has had over 1.2 million views on YouTube and Lessig has spoken around the United States and with every major news outlet.  This will be the eighth large-scale walk of the NH Rebellion since 2014. NH Rebellion is part of Open Democracy, the NH nonpartisan organization dedicated to transparent and accountable governance.

RALLY SCHEDULE:

4:30 PM – Walkers gather at Prescott Park (free Ben & Jerry’s served)
5:00 PM – Rally for Independence featuring Declaration of Independence reading by Burt Cohen and Betty Tamposi, speech by Lawrence Lessig, theatrics
5:30 PM – Rally ends and walkers depart (free rides back to parking)

InZane Times: Declare Independence from Corporate Rule

An American flag festooned with dollar bills and corporate logos flies in front of the Supreme Court during oral arguments in the case of McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission.  Image by JayMallin.com

An American flag festooned with dollar bills and corporate logos flies in front of the Supreme Court during oral arguments in the case of McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission.
Image by JayMallin.com

I wrote this for the Governing Under the Influence blog.

In 1776, the signers of the Declaration of Independence stated that government derives its “just powers from the consent of the governed.” But in these days of rising escalating economic inequality, unlimited campaign spending, and a multibillion-dollar lobbying industry mostly devoted to corporate interests, the consent of the governed often seems irrelevant in the corridors of power. 

“Governing under the Influence” or “GUI.”  That’s what we call the interconnected web of campaign spending, lobbying, and revolving doors between Capitol Hill, lobbying firms, think tanks, and the Pentagon that feed private interests at the expense of public good.

Governing under the Influence can be seen at work in how public officials spend our taxpayer dollars. Let’s look at U.S. military spending, for example. Since President Eisenhower coined the phrase, the “military-industrial complex” has grown to include outsourcing of government surveillance, transforming the U.S.-Mexico border into a war zone, converting police into paramilitary forces, and turning over the military’s own core functions to private contractors.  

Lockheed Martin is a prime example of corporate influence on public policy. The corporation is the Pentagon’s top contractor. It spends over $14 million a year on lobbying, and its employee PAC (political action committee) raises another $4 million for campaign contributions. Lockheed’s 71 registered lobbyists include a former US Senator and 2 former US Representatives, one of whom chaired the committee which oversees the DOE’s nuclear weapons budget.

Norman Augustine, the corporation’s former CEO, is now co-chair of a government panel on nuclear weapons that has called for relaxed oversight of weapons labs and more lucrative contracts for private companies, such as Lockheed, that run them.   (See “Nuclear Weapons Complex: Foxes Guard Chickens.”)  The current CEO, Marillyn Hewson, sits on the International Advisory Board of The Atlantic Council, a think tank with close ties to the military and foreign policy elite.    

What does Lockheed Martin get from its investment and connections? More than $25 billion in government contracts every year. Lockheed is the primary contractor on the F-35 fighter plane, the most expensive weapons system in Pentagon history, and it also runs the Sandia nuclear weapons lab in New Mexico.  According a report of the Department of Energy’s Inspector General, released last November, Lockheed has illegally used funds from nuclear weapons contracts to lobby for more contracts.  (See “Nuclear weapons lab used taxpayer funds to obtain more taxpayer funds” from the Center for Public Integrity for details.)

This may be business as usual in Washington, and sometimes it’s easier to shrug our shoulders and give in to the thinking that this system will never change.

But something is bubbling up in Iowa and New Hampshire, where the first contests for the 2016 presidential nominations will take place. There, the Governing Under the Influence (GUI) project is reminding candidates that the interests of the people must come first.

With seven months to go before the Iowa caucuses, we’ve already trained more than 500 volunteers to “bird dog” candidates about the excessive corporate influence that drives our country toward more wars, more prisons, and more violence. Our team of volunteers is at town halls, fairgrounds, living rooms, TV studios, city sidewalks—anywhere candidates appear—to ensure these issues get the attention they deserve. 

The GUI project isn’t partisan; it’s not about ranking the candidates or telling anyone how they should vote. It’s about shifting the political discourse by exposing forces that steer us in the wrong direction. And we’ve already seen results, drawing out responses from close to 20 candidates and garnering attention from media outlets like the Boston Globe, Fox News, and Huffington Post.

This Fourth of July, join us in declaring independence from corporate rule.  If “just powers” come from the consent of the governed, the GUI project may be just the thing to bring about change.

Chris Christie Flees To New Hampshire To Avoid His Major Problems In New Jersey

Chris Christie (Gage Skidmore on Flickr)

Chris Christie (Gage Skidmore on Flickr)

This week, Chris Christie announced his candidacy for President. Unfortunately, with a historic nine credit downgrades, and near last in the nation for job growth, things aren’t going so great back home in New Jersey and his constituents are not so happy about it. Let’s recap: 

And let’s not leave out Christie’s local papers blasting him with scathing editorials that detail his failed leadership and question why he’s running at all.

“Christie wants to expand economic opportunity to all? Then why did he increase taxes on the working poor, kill the state’s affordable housing efforts, and veto a minimum wage hike? He believes in compromise? Then why is Trenton locked in the same kind of partisan stalemate we see in Washington? He believes in leadership? Then why isn’t he doing something about the crumbling bridges, the worsening fiscal crisis, or the sputtering economy?…

And it’s not all Bridgegate, either. That started the descent, and exposed the dark underbelly of his brash style, and the craven culture of this administration. Christie’s collapse, at its core, is about more than all that. It is about the failure of governing in New Jersey.” Star-Ledger Editorial Board

“The greater problem, however, is his record: Even if Christie can outrun the opposition and the scandal, it’s difficult to grasp what he would run on.

While styling himself a pragmatic decider who gets stuff done, Christie has presided over a period of fiscal deterioration and economic stagnation. The budget he just signed required his lawyers to extricate him from the pension reforms he touted as a signature bipartisan achievement. The reversal was at stark odds with his proclamation Tuesday: ‘I mean what I say and I say what I mean.’” Philly Inquirer Editorial Board

NJ Advance Media commentator Brian Donohue explains why Gov. Chris Christie’s presidential bid is nothing but bad news for the state of New Jersey.
(Five ways Christie’s presidential run stinks for New Jersey Video by Brian Donohue and Bumper DeJesus | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com)

The people at YouGotSchooled2016 are back talking about how this years round of Presidential hopefuls faired in their home states especially on issues of education.

  • Public schools: It’s kind of weird that Chris Christie chose to announce he is running for president at a public school when he has slashed education funding by a billion dollars.
  • Higher education: New Jersey’s higher education funding fell from its peak of $2.33 billion in 2006 (pre Gov. Christie) to $1.93 billion in 2013, a 17 percent decline. Thanks, Gov. Christie.
  • Teachers: Aside from the cuts to public education, if you’re a teacher you better avoid Chris Christie all together, unless you want to get yelled at.

But of course, Christie blames the media instead of taking responsibility for his own failed leadership. 

“As Chris Christie continues his tour through New Hampshire, he’s abandoned his own state after years of failed leadership in pursuit of his political ambitions. Granite Staters won’t be fooled by his excuses. Chris Christie’s reckless abuse of power and helping his allies have done nothing but left middle class families in the dust,” said Lizzy Price, Communications Director of the New Hampshire Democratic Party.

The biggest warning of all came from one of the largest newspapers in New Jersey. “After 14 years of watching Christie, a warning: He lies,” wrote Tom Moran editorial board of the Star Ledger.

“Most Americans don’t know Chris Christie like I do, so it’s only natural to wonder what testimony I might offer after covering his every move for the last 14 years.”

‘…Don’t misunderstand me. They all lie, and I get that. But Christie does it with such audacity, and such frequency, that he stands out.”

“…But let’s start with my personal favorite. It dates back to the 2009 campaign, when the public workers unions asked him if he intended to cut their benefits. He told them their pensions were “sacred” to him.”

Chris Christie is a smooth politician that knows how to say what the people in the room want to hear. He is also a brash, overbearing, jerk who continually demeans reporters and people who challenge him on issues.  Christie’s failed leadership doesn’t make him fit to be president of my local PTA, never mind the President of the United States.

How Bad Would Chris Christie Be For Federal Workers As President?

Chris Christie  (Gage Skidmore on Flickr)

Chris Christie
(Gage Skidmore on Flickr)

Government Exec just posted a new article on how bad Governor Chris Christie would be for federal workers if he is elected as President.

As governor, Christie has fought tenaciously — and quite publicly — to modify the pension system for state employees. He highlighted those reforms in his announcement speech Tuesday.

“We made the difficult decision to reform pensions and health benefits,” Christie said, “and we continue that fight today.”

In a controversial move in 2010, Christie signed into law a bill to decrease pension benefits for future employees. In 2011, he signed a much grander law that raised most public workers’ contributions into their defined benefit funds from 5.5 percent of their paychecks to 7.5 percent, suspended cost-of-living adjustments for retirees and raised the retirement age.

Christie compromised by agreeing the state would pay more toward the pension fund, but later backtracked and invested far less than originally promised. That decision has left New Jersey as one of the states with the largest unfunded pension liabilities.

The governor has since said his initial reform did not go far enough, and has pitched more changes that would switch state employees to a defined benefit, defined contribution hybrid — much like the current federal system. The proposal, however, would overhaul the benefits for current government employees. Generally, changes to federal employees’ pensions have grandfathered in active workers and restricted the changes to new hires. Christie also proposed freezing the existing pension system, creating a “cash balance” that would help newer employees while hurting long-time public servants.

Christie has coupled his pension reforms with an overhaul of state employees’ health care benefits. He has twice required public workers to contribute more toward their health insurance premiums,noting the changes would bring the state more in line with the federal system.

As governor, Christie made a name for himself in part by taking on public sector unions and fighting to reduce the benefits for state employees. If elected president, he would have the opportunity to bring those cuts to the federal level.

As public workers in New Jersey are fighting for Gov. Christie to Fund NJ Pension, Christie has his eyes on the biggest prize, the Federal Employees Retirement System (and if you have not already heard, your Social Security too).

 

For more information on the #FundNJPension fight read this guest editorial from a New Jersey teacher.

For more information of Chris Christie as Governor of New Jersey read this.

NH Elected Leaders Praise The Supreme Court’s Monumental Decision On Marriage Equality

Gay Marriage Rainbow Flag RingsToday the Supreme Court held that same-sex couples can no longer be denied the freedom to marry guaranteed by the Constitution, assuring that soon all loving and committed couples will be able to marry throughout the United States.

“Today’s ruling is a transformative triumph decades in the making, a momentous victory for freedom, equality, inclusion, and above all, love,” said Evan Wolfson, president of Freedom to Marry. “For anyone who ever doubted that we could bend the arc of the moral universe toward justice, today the United States again took a giant step toward the more perfect union we the people aspire to. Today the Liberty Bell rings alongside wedding bells across an ocean of joy.”

“With the ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, the justices affirmed what a super-majority of Americans had come to understand: the freedom to marry is a precious, fundamental right that belongs to all, and that same-sex couples and our families share the same dreams and needs as any others,” Wolfson said.

“Today, the Supreme Court made marriage equality the law of the land, affirming the founding principle of the United States of America that all individuals are created equal,” said Governor Maggie Hassan. “I believe strongly in the rights of all citizens to participate fully in the civic and economic life of our communities, which is why I fought so hard to bring marriage equality to our state, and I’m extremely proud that New Hampshire helped pave the way to this truly historic day.”

“Throughout our history, every time we have sought to include all people in the life of our democracy, we have grown stronger, and this decision is a momentous victory in our enduring quest to build a brighter future by fully including all people in our society,” Hassan said.

“I am elated by the Supreme Court’s decision today in favor of marriage equality for all gay and lesbian couples in this country,” said Senator Jeanne Shaheen. “It’s been five years since New Hampshire embraced marriage equality, and now, finally, the rest of the country will no longer discriminate based on whom one loves or where one lives. Marriage discrimination against gays and lesbians and their families has done needless harm for far too long, but today we can celebrate that those days are coming to a close. This decision will be remembered as a monumental moment in our nation’s progress towards freedom and equality for all.”

“In America, every citizen has an inalienable right to equal protection under the law, and no one should be discriminated against simply because of who they are or whom they love,” said Congresswoman Annie Kuster. “With today’s historic ruling, the Supreme Court has come down on the side of equality and made a difference in the lives of millions of individuals across the nation who can now marry the person they love. I applaud the Supreme Court for standing up for the ideals this nation was founded on, and for ensuring that every American, regardless of his or her sexual orientation, has the legal right to marry in every state across the country.”

Congresswoman Kuster has long advocated in favor of marriage equality. Earlier this year, she joined with over 200 of her colleagues in Congress to submit an amicus brief urging the Supreme Court to rule in favor of equal protection in the eyes of the law. A strong advocate for equal rights, Kuster also signed a similar amicus brief to the Supreme Court in 2012 advocating for the Court to overturn the prejudicial Defense of Marriage Act, thereby forcing the federal government to recognize same-sex marriages as legal. Kuster is a member of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus, an organization dedicated to promoting equal protection under the law for LGBT Americans. She has also cosponsored the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), and she is committed to passing legislation to ensure that employees cannot be discriminated against in the workplace because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Shawn O’Connor, who is running to be the first LGBT Member of Congress from New Hampshire, offered the following comments in celebration of this momentous decision:

Obergefell v. Hodges represents the Brown v. Board of Education of today’s generation. No longer will same-sex couples be denied this basic human right in 15 states. Today’s ruling is a victory not only for all the members of our community, but also for our allies and all those who have been persecuted due to race, gender, sexual orientation or disability and who have fought for decades to right such wrongs. Today is a victory for every American’s civil rights. But most importantly, it is a victory for love.”

This decision is a giant leap forward for the LGBT community but we still have work to do.

“Justice Scalia’s dissent highlights the fact that, while great strides have been made in the LGBT fight for equality, today represents the beginning of the next stage of our journey towards complete inclusiveness. In 29 states, same-sex couples can be married on a Saturday and then fired on Monday. That is un-American. As your next Congressman, I will fight tirelessly to pass comprehensive, LGBT non-discrimination legislation,” concluded O’Connor.

“Today’s decision marks a truly historic day in our fight for equal rights, a victory that was only possible because of the tremendous leadership of courageous individuals in New Hampshire and across our nation,” said New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair Ray Buckley.

“Although Granite Staters have been leaders in the fight for equal rights for many years, there are still far too many that want to reverse our progress. The New Hampshire Republican Party (whose anti-equality platform is now unconstitutional), Kelly Ayotte, Frank Guinta, and every one of the Republican presidential hopefuls have all fought against the rights of our neighbors, friends, and relatives. We cannot and we will not let them pull our nation backward,” said Buckley.

After the Supreme Court decision Senator Kelly Ayotte stated, “While I believe in traditional marriage, I respect the Court’s decision and I believe New Hampshire’s legally married same-sex couples should be treated equally under the law no matter where they live.”

Kelly Ayotte isn’t fooling anyone with her attempt to cover up that she’s been one of the most strident opponents of marriage equality for years.

Not only has Ayotte said, “I absolutely support and believe in marriage as between a man and a woman,” but she’s also called New Hampshire’s landmark marriage equality law “unfortunate,” and commended efforts to repeal the law. Not to mention that Ayotte has even opposed adoption rights for same-sex couples.

“From encouraging the repeal of New Hampshire’s landmark marriage equality law to opposing adoption rights for same-sex couples, Kelly Ayotte has consistently fought against equal rights for our citizens,” said Buckley. “Granite Staters won’t forget Ayotte’s calls to reverse our progress and pull our state backward, and we will hold her accountable for her anti-equality actions at the ballot box in November 2016.”

 

Granite Staters Speak Out In Support Of Hassan And Budget Veto

Businesses, Advocates And Elected Officials Stand With Governor Hassan As She Fights For A Fiscally Responsible Budget That Protects Economic Priorities

Tom Strickland, owner of Sequoya Technologies Group in Peterborough, wrote in an op-ed, “My business is larger than 93 percent of the businesses in New Hampshire and these tax cuts will only save me $150 per year. That’s not enough for me to hire workers, buy equipment, or expand… What these tax cuts WILL do is result in even deeper cuts in critical state programs. The needs don’t go away when the program funding does. Those needs just shift to the community and that costs us all. Please keep my tax cut. I just can’t afford it.”

In a joint op-ed, Katie Robert, president of the New Hampshire Public Health Association and Kim Mohan, executive director of the New England Rural Health Roundtable, wrote, “The priorities embraced by the 2016-17 budgets, recently passed by the New Hampshire House and Senate, seem notably inconsistent with the needs of the state from a public health and public policy perspective… While these budget priorities are disconnected with the needs of the state overall, they would be particularly detrimental to the rural communities of our state, which make up 47 percent of the state’s population and cover 90 percent of its area.” 

In an editorial on the Supreme Court’s decision upholding access to affordable health coverage, the Concord Monitor wrote, “The New Hampshire Legislature, in particular, should see the writing on the wall and reauthorize the state’s [Medicaid expansion] program without delay.” 

Tym Rourke, chairman of the Governor’s Commission on Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Prevention, Intervention and Treatment, told the Concord Monitor, “Reauthorization [of Medicaid expansion] has a big impact on treatment availability.”

In a joint op-ed, Senator Andrew Hosmer and Rep. Cindy Rosenwald wrote, “We stand with Governor Hassan in her decision to veto the fiscally irresponsible and unbalanced Republican budget, which we can only describe as a trail of false promises. You may have heard Republicans claim that their budget increases funding for critical priorities like substance abuse treatment, mental health services, and our seniors. But there’s one very big problem. Republicans’ fiscally irresponsible budget isn’t actually balanced, placing every single one of those priorities — and more — at risk.”

Rep. Timothy Smith wrote in an op-ed, “This year, the Senate started by considering tens of millions of dollars in new tax cuts for businesses with its very first bills – but no one has really looked at the long-term consequences of these cuts.”

 

See below for a roundup of additional coverage:  

From the Nashua Telegraph:

… Hassan made good on her threat and vetoed the proposed two-year budget, saying the tax cuts would blow a $90 million hole in future years in exchange for giveaways to big corporations.

“When I made this decision, which I didn’t do lightly, what I really stepped back to think about was the progress we’ve made over the last two years and the progress we need to continue to make so that we are a competitive 21st century economy – not just in this two-year cycle, but in all the cycles to come,” she said Thursday during an interview with The Telegraph editorial board.

… Hassan criticized the Republican budget for unpaid-for tax giveaways to mostly out-of-state corporations at the expense of other economic priorities such as higher education and public safety.

Her administration said the budget would not provide year-to-year increase to the university system and leaves New Hampshire vulnerable to losing young people looking at high price tags at in-state colleges. She also blasted the budget for failing to adequately fund substance abuse prevention and diverting infrastructure funds intended for road and bridge repairs.

Hassan said she is not against corporate tax reductions when done properly, but said Republican budget writers raided all the wrong funding sources to make them a reality.

“Philosophically I’m not opposed to doing it, but we do have to be able to pay for the very things that businesses all around the state tell me are their priorities,” she said.

Rep. Cindy Rosenwald, a Nashua Democrat and party leader in the House, said there is general agreement on spending priorities and she shares the governor’s concern about the unpaid-for business tax cuts.

“They would cost $23 million in this budget and $90 million in future budgets. The evidence that such tax cuts would drive higher economic growth just isn’t there,” Rosenwald said. “States like Kansas and Ohio have tried without success, and our own experience several years ago with a reduction in the tobacco tax rate also failed.” [Full story]

From the Associated Press:

Hassan said the budget would not provide any year-to-year increase to the university system, still funded below 2010 levels, or adequately fund substance abuse prevention. She said it also would force the Sununu Youth Services Center to cut a quarter of its budget; omit a modest cost-of-living increase for employees; divert funds intended for road and bridge repairs and underfund snow plowing and removal. [Full story]

From the Union Leader:

“I have vetoed the budget passed by the legislature because it is unbalanced, makes false promises about what it funds, and gives unpaid-for tax giveaways to big corporations, many based out-of-state, at the expense of critical economic priorities, including higher education, health care, public safety and transportation,” Hassan said in her veto message. “The long-term impact of these unpaid-for corporate tax cuts will create a more than $90 million hole in future budgets, further eroding our ability to encourage economic growth.” [Full story]

From NHPR:

Hassan said she hopes negotiations will start immediately. “I urge the legislators to meet with me as soon as possible so we can begin discussions on how we can build the kind of budget that is critical to our economic future,” she said Thursday at the State House. [Full story]

Colin Van Ostern: Should NH be more like TX?

texas_desktop_1024x768_02

By Colin Van Ostern

Heads turned sharply in Concord this week when NH Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley and House Speaker Shawn Jasper both shared a press release inviting local businesses to relocate from New Hampshire to Texas. It was sent out originally by the Governor of Texas to New Hampshire political reporters Thursday, “Inviting New Hampshire Businesses to Seek New Opportunities in Texas.” All because Governor Hassan won’t approve an unbalanced state budget that, among other problems, creates special corporate tax giveaways without paying for them.

I can’t imagine a public policy dispute with a member of the other party that would cause me, as an elected official, to actively invite businesses to leave my state as Senator Bradley and Speaker Jasper did this week.  But let’s look past the backwards priorities and political gimmicks – on the substance, are they right?  Should New Hampshire try to be more like Texas?

Taxes?  It’s true Texas has low corporate taxes.  To keep them low, they rely on a hefty sales tax – which New Hampshire does not have. An Austin businessman pays an extra 8.25% on every supply he buys. So taken on the whole, the Tax Foundation found this year that Texas’s overall business tax climate ranked 10th in the nation.  Not bad, but still behind New Hampshire at 7th.

Workforce?  I’ve managed a $100 million business for a local manufacturer and currently work in a leadership role at our state’s fastest growing large employer – and I can tell you unequivocally that the most important resource for every great business is its people.  In New Hampshire, 91% of adults have a high school degree – the 4th highest state in the country, with high rates of bachelor’s and advanced degrees as well. Texas is dead last; 50th of 50 states. More Texans work at the minimum wage than almost any other state.  Only one in three adults in Texas have health insurance; again, 50th in the nation.

Quality of life? New Hampshire famously ranks as the #1 state in which to live, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation & Development. #1 in the country to find a home. #1 state to earn a living. #1 safest state.  On those rankings, Texas scores 38th, 47th, 25th, and 30th. And yes, our unemployment rate is 3.8% vs Texas’s 4.3%.

Welcoming & inclusive to all?  New Hampshire was one of the first states in the nation to embrace marriage equality; in Texas, a state constitutional amendment bans this basic human right. New Hampshire town meetings are famous. Our voter turnout leads the nation; Texas – well, you get the idea (47th).

The point is not just to compare brag sheets. New Hampshire succeeds because of a smart, balanced, and forward-looking portfolio of unique competitive advantages: our world-class workforce, best in the nation quality of life, inclusive community, and uniquely low taxes.  The ideologically-driven approach to state budgets that the Governor of Texas, Jeb Bradley and Shawn Jasper are pushing would undermine our workforce, weaken our high quality of life, and add a $90 million hole in the budget. 

It’s simply not worth spiking in-state college tuition, threatening to kick 41,000 NH citizens off newly expanded healthcare, undermining safe roads and bridges, and passing a deeply unbalanced budget that would result in even more cuts or tax increases later in the year, all to draw high-fives from conservative Republican governors in the Deep South.

Texas is a great state and it certainly has competitive advantages of its own (its beef brisket is admittedly hard to deny).  But when it comes to our overall tax climate, our workforce, our communities, and our quality of life – well, don’t mess with the Live Free or Die state.  That goes for Texas Governors and lawmakers here in New Hampshire alike.

Colin Van Ostern (www.vanostern.com) represents 49 towns across the state on New Hampshire’s publicly elected Executive Council, including Rochester, Dover, Concord, Franklin, and Keene.

 

STATISTICS/REFERENCES:

Quality of life & related stats:http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2014/10/07/why-the-south-is-the-worst-place-to-live-in-the-u-s-in-10-charts/

Educational attainment: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._states_by_educational_attainment

Business tax climate: http://taxfoundation.org/article/2015-state-business-tax-climate-index

Uninsured: http://www.texmed.org/uninsured_in_texas/

Minimum wage: http://www.bls.gov/regions/southwest/news-release/MinimumWageWorkers_Texas.htm

Sales Tax: http://window.texas.gov/taxinfo/local/

Unemployment: http://www.bls.gov/web/laus/laumstrk.htm

Marriage equality: http://www.freedomtomarry.org/states/entry/c/texas

Voter turnout: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2013/03/12/the-states-with-the-highest-and-lowest-turnout-in-2012-in-2-charts/

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