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CACR 26: We need to keep those ‘Checks and Balances’

On election day, Granite Staters will not only choose who will lead us for the next few years, we will also vote on proposed changes to the New Hampshire Constitution.

One of those constitutional amendments, CACR 26, would give the Legislature direct control over all operations of the Judicial Branch.  Think about that for a minute. Remember all the horse-trading and last-minute surprises that happen every budget season.  Do we really want the Legislature writing the Court’s Rules?

  • Do we want the Legislature deciding what to tell juries about the burden of proof, and what constitutes “reasonable doubt”?
  • Do we want the Legislature to decide Rules of Evidence such as whether the jury can rely on hearsay; whether the jury can hear testimony that is irrelevant but prejudicial; whether a lawyer, spouse or ordained minister can be compelled to testify?
  • Do we want the Legislature involved in the process of setting bail?
  • Do we want the Legislature telling courts how to treat victims of child abuse?

CACR 26 would take New Hampshire on a voyage to a strange new world, where the Legislature has direct control of the Judiciary.  Where Court Rules would likely change every two years, depending on who is elected House Speaker and Senate President, and who gets named to the Judiciary Committee.  Where the branch of government that is supposed to protect our rights – supposed to protect us from Legislative excesses – would be run by the very politicians that we need to be protected against.

It would be the fox guarding the hen house.

Except in this case, New Hampshire citizens would be the hens.  Do we really want to trust the Legislature to protect us from laws that trample on our constitutional rights?

This brainstorm may have come from Bill O’Brien’s leadership team, but that doesn’t mean it’s actually a “conservative” idea.  Pick whatever politician you hate – Democrat or Republican – and then imagine that politician is in charge of the New Hampshire court system.  Now, imagine that you are a prisoner awaiting trial, or a divorced parent waiting for a custody decision, or a small business owner who is being sued by a customer, or an injured worker trying to get your employer to pay your medical bills.  If that politician you hate has control of the Judicial Branch, how many different ways could he (or she) keep you from getting the justice you deserve?

There is no limit to the different ways the Legislature could muck up New Hampshire’s court system, if we give them that power through CACR 26.

And then two years and another election later, the other political party could take control of the Legislature and ramrod through a set of changes in exactly the opposite direction.

As John Broderick, the former Chief Justice of the New Hampshire Supreme Court, told the Union Leader,

[the original framers of the Constitution] sought to protect the separation of governmental powers because they had lived under regimes that respected no dividing lines, when the Legislature could invade the province of the judiciary for purely partisan reasons or, perhaps, without any reason at all.

[J]udicial independence is not just about keeping the Legislature in check, as important as that is. It is also about fulfilling the constitutional guarantee to each citizen that the courts will act impartially and free from the influence of political interests.

As former Governor Steve Merrill and former New Hampshire Supreme Court Justice Joseph Nadeau told the NH Bar Association,

oversight of [Court] rules is oversight of administrative activities. And there is no place in a constitutional democracy for legislative intervention of the judicial branch. Political oversight of courts existed in dictatorships of Eastern Europe, Southeast Asia, and the former Russian Republics before they embraced democracy. We all know that resulted in judicial systems without independence, and without equal access or impartial justice.

If you’re a Democrat, imagine that the Republicans would be deciding Court Rules.

If you’re a Republican, imagine that the Democrats would be deciding Court Rules.

Either way, it’s probably not a very comfortable picture – especially if you end up looking to the court system for justice or to protect your rights.

In the case of CACR 26, the “conservative” vote is to keep our Constitution just the way it is.  The system of checks and balances between the Legislature and the Court system has worked for the past two centuries.  It’s protected our rights through Republican-led Legislatures – and sessions when the Democrats were in control.

Giving the Legislature control of the Court system wouldn’t work.  Maintaining the “balance of power” between branches of the government does.

 

Lamontagne Misleadingly Claims Not to Be a Lobbyist at Public Safety Debate – Record Shows Otherwise

Confesses to audience, ‘I won’t be like Governor Lynch’

MANCHESTER – Ovide Lamontagne misleadingly claimed not to be a lobbyist at a debate before law enforcement officials last night, despite news reports that show he has recently served as a lobbyist for the tobacco industry.

Lamontagne made a number of statements during the debate that are either factually inaccurate or directly contradict his own previous positions.  Lamontagne claimed that he won’t change the pension system for current state employees, while previously in a WMUR survey he said he would change the retirement system for public employees whose retirement benefits have not yet vested.[i]  Ovide also claimed that “there was no open fire legislation passed this last session,” ignoring SB 88, passed over Governor John Lynch’s veto by the current legislature in 2011.[ii]

Most egregiously, Lamontagne claimed, “I’m not a lobbyist.”[iii]  As recently as 2006, Lamontagne was a registered lobbyist for Ligget Vector Brands, Inc., a North Carolina-based tobacco company, according to the Nashua Telegraph. [iv]

“Ovide Lamontagne claimed last night that he is not a lobbyist, but news reports prove otherwise,” said Matt Burgess, campaign manager for Maggie Hassan for Governor. “This is part of a pattern of Ovide Lamontagne attempting to mislead the voters on his true record and positions – including his radical agenda to have the state pull out of Medicare and make abortions crimes, even in the case of rape or incest.”

At another point during the debate, Lamontagne promised, “I will not be like John Lynch.”[v] Instead, Lamontagne has repeatedly said Mel Thomson is his role model. Thomson was famous for, among other things, threatening retaliation against the University of New Hampshire for allowing a gay student event; praising South Africa’s apartheid regime; and suggesting nuclear weapons for the National Guard.

Last week, Governor Lynch endorsed Maggie Hassan at a campaign rally in Concord.  Lynch praised Hassan’s “integrity” and “compassion,” and described her as “the leader that we need to keep New Hampshire moving forward.”

Said Hassan, “Governor Lynch is a role model and I was glad to work shoulder-to-shoulder with him on so many issues.”

Burgess said that Lamontagne’s admission was honest but troubling.  “Most New Hampshire residents would agree that Governor Lynch has served our state well during his eight years in Concord.  As Ovide admitted last night, he wants to take our state in a radically different direction, supporting the current Tea Party’s extreme legislature.  Maggie promises to stand up to the Tea Party extremists and keep New Hampshire moving forward in the direction set by Governor Lynch.”

Hassan has put forward a jobs plan called “Innovate NH” that will help middle-class New Hampshire families succeed.  The plan would invest in higher education while freezing in-state tuition, ensure access to job training, and provide tax credits and technical assistance to businesses to help them grow and create jobs.  Hassan will veto an income or sales tax.

[i] http://campaign.nhpr.org/content/gubernatorial-candidates-issues

[ii] http://www.nhliberty.org/bills/view/2011/SB88

[iii]New Hampshire Police Association Debate, 10/14/12, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GtC1d_xqyLg&feature=youtu.be

[iv]http://www.nashuatelegraph.com/news/967774-196/lamontagne-smith-bring-up-lobbyist-pasts-in.html

[v]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GzRlOlNI6NI&feature=youtu.be

NHLN Election: Frank Guinta Makes False Claims About NH Public Radio, Public TV

Guinta Lies About “Far-Reaching and Extremely Negative Consequences” of Defunding Big Bird, Public Television in NH

CONCORD, NH –Congressman Frank Guinta misled voters about NH Public Radio and NH Public Television during a debate last week – creating questions about what other mistruths he’s presented during his recent campaign appearances.

In response to a WBIN debate question about whether the Congressman would fire Big Bird (answer: yes) Frank Guinta told the panel and voters that the public broadcasting system should be privatized. He backed up his policy position by implying he had the support of NH public radio and NH public television in this stance:

“I believe that NH Public Radio, NH Public Television feel very, very strongly that they can do this on their own. And they mention it, they state it.” – Frank Guinta, WBIN Debate, 10/9/12

The public record shows a different story from Frank Guinta’s assertions. NH Public Radio (NHPR) actually doesn’t receive “any regular direct funding from local, state or federal governments” and contributions from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting account for “less than 10% of NHPR annual income.”1 NHPR is, largely, doing it on their own already – so what they would have ‘mentioned’ or ‘stated’ to Congressman Guinta is a bit of a question.

NH Public Television is on record opposing cuts in public support. NHPTV President and CEO Peter Frid told state legislators2 this session that cutting state funding for the station “would have immediate, far-reaching and extremely negative consequences on our capacity to serve the citizens of the Granite State.” His testimony before both the House and Senate cited the damage the removal of funding would do to the state’s educational programming as well as to public safety services NHPTV provides in local communities. In all: no suggestion of feeling “very, very strongly” about eliminating support for broadcasting in the public interest.

“Time and time again, Frank Guinta has shown he’s willing to stretch the truth,” said Taylor Coots, District Director for Credo Super PAC. “He remains under investigation by the FEC for his mysterious $350,000 bank account. He was named one of the most corrupt politicians in Congress by the independent non-partisan Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. Frank Guinta continues to prove he is unfit for public office.”

“Congressman Guinta should be more concerned about closing corporate tax loopholes than shutting down public broadcasting,” said Zandra Rice Hawkins, Executive Director of Granite State Progress. “Congressman Guinta supports the Ryan budget, which provides no concrete plan for lowering the deficit.3 The best way to deal with the deficit is to put Americans back to work, not fire Big Bird. Frank Guinta’s misguided priorities and unfounded statements are the wrong direction for our country.”

As several news outlets and PBS pointed out, ‘firing Big Bird’ would do little to lower the federal deficit: The Corporation for Public Broadcasting which distributes federal grants to PBS member stations received $445 million in funding this year. That’s 1/100 of one percent of the federal budget.4

Credo has launched an online petition to tell Frank Guinta to stop using PBS as his punching bag. It can be found at http://www.takedownguinta.com/hands_off_pbs.
 

 

References: 

[1].  NHPR, Does NHPR receive funding from government sources, http://info.nhpr.org/faq/membership-and-support-0; accessed 10.10.12

2.  NHPR, TESTIMONY OF PETER FRID, PRESIDENT AND CEO OF NEW HAMPSHIRE PUBLIC TELEVISION REGARDING HOUSE BILL 113 House Finance Committee, January 19, 2011, http://www.nhptv.org/counts/pdf/HB113_peter_frid_testimony_1-19-11.pdf & NHPR, TESTIMONY BEFORE SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE IN OPPOSITION TO HB 113, March 31, 2011, http://www.nhptv.org/counts/pdf/PAF_Testimony_senate_finance.pdf  — The bill in question above, HB 113, passed the House, but was ultimately tabled in the Senate. NHPTV still lost substantial funding during the budget process though, causing the station to lay-off 20 people, suspend educational and local programming – including NH Outlook and Granite State Challenge – and make other substantial changes. The station has operated for more than 50 years. [Press Release: NHPTV Restructures Due To Elimination Of $2.7 Million State Appropriation, 6/1/2011, www.nhptv.org/pressroom]

3. Media Matters, 7 Things the Media Needs to Know about Paul Ryan, 8.11.12, http://mediamatters.org/research/2012/08/11/seven-things-the-media-needs-to-know-about-paul/189277#fraudulent

4. “No debate about it: Big Bird is small potatoes when it comes to federal budget.”Chicago Sun-Times, Oct. 4, 2012.

CACR 13: Putting New Hampshire in a Financial Straightjacket

Photo by Joseph Sawicki

On election day Granite Staters will not only choose who will lead us for the next few years, we will also vote on proposed changes to the New Hampshire Constitution.

One of those changes, CACR 13, would put our state into a financial straightjacket.

Right now, New Hampshire has a “crazy-quilt” approach to funding state government.

  • Business taxes account for almost one-third of the revenue necessary to run our state government.  New Hampshire has a business profits tax and a business enterprise tax.  We tax health care facilities and utilities.  Another 2% of state revenues come from a court settlement with tobacco companies.
  • So-called “sin taxes” and gambling revenue account for one-fifth of the state budget.  Between the tobacco tax, the beer tax, and transfers from the Liquor Commission, the Lottery Commission and the Racing and Charitable Gaming Commission, almost $450 million in annual revenues comes from sources that the “religious right” would condemn as immoral.
  • Property taxes don’t just fund local governments – they also account for a whopping 16% of state revenues.
  • Then there are so-called “consumption taxes”.  Taxes on meals and lodging are 11% of revenues.  Then we have taxes on insurance policies, telecommunications services, utility consumption, and real estate transfers.  Taxes on dividends and securities revenue.  Court fees.  Fees to register your car, boat, snowmobile, trailer.  License fees.  Transaction fees.  It seems like every time you turn around, there’s another small tax or large fee.

It’s the “crazy-quilt” to funding state government: New Hampshire raises revenue just about every way possible except by taxing wage income or retail sales.

Is that really the best way to fund state government?

And even if we decide it’s how WE want to fund state government… do we really have the right to decide for future generations how THEY are going to fund New Hampshire’s government?

If we change the state Constitution to eliminate any possibility of an income tax – at any time in the future – we would be putting a financial straightjacket on the state’s revenue system.

We’ve been dealing with nickel-and-dime fee-hikes and tax hikes for decades now.  CACR 13 would enshrine that “crazy-quilt” funding method in the state Constitution forever.

What moral right do we have, to tie the hands of future generations?

Concord Police Patrolmen Endorse Maggie Hassan for Governor

Call Hassan a ‘strong advocate for public safety’ who will stand up to extremists

MANCHESTER – The Concord Police Patrolmen’s Association endorsed gubernatorial candidate Maggie Hassan today, citing her strong record on public safety and her willingness to stand up against the extreme policies of the Tea Party state legislature.  The endorsement follows the New Hampshire Police Association debate Sunday evening where Hassan was the clear choice for voters on improving public safety in our communities.

“Maggie has proven herself to be a strong advocate for public safety and a supporter of law enforcement,” said Joseph Pitta, the President of the Concord Police Patrolmen’s Association.  “We believe she will bring common sense and reason to the Governor’s Office.”

Hassan has put forward a jobs plan called “Innovate NH” that will help middle-class New Hampshire families succeed.  The plan would invest in higher education while freezing in-state tuition, ensure access to job training, and provide tax credits and technical assistance to businesses to help them grow and create jobs.  Hassan will veto an income or sales tax.

“Police officers in New Hampshire have been under attack by the current legislature,” said Pitta.  “We need a leader like Maggie Hassan to stand up to the extremists in the legislature and stand up for the men and women who risk their lives every day to protect the citizens of the great state of New Hampshire.”

“I am honored to receive the endorsement of the Concord Police Patrolmen’s Association,” said Hassan.  “I’m proud to have worked with Gov. Lynch to improve our protect New Hampshire’s citizens, and as governor, I will continue that work to improve our public safety.”

In addition to the Concord Police Patrolmen’s Association, Hassan has been endorsed by the Manchester Police Patrolman’s Association and the Professional Fire Fighters of New Hampshire. As a leader in the State Senate, Hassan worked with public safety officials on critical priorities, including creating a death benefit for first responders killed in the line of duty, directing the Department of Safety to develop a reverse 911 system so that first responders can reach citizens in an emergency, strengthening domestic violence laws, and working with Governor John Lynch to pass one of the toughest laws in the nation to protect children from sexual predators.

Workers Need An Advocate in All Elected Offices, Including the Executive Council

Chris Pappas, via Pappas2012.com

New Hampshire has the third largest legislature in the world. That is right third largest in the world.  The New Hampshire Labor News has been working to bring attention to candidates who support labor.

Today I want to talk a little about the Executive Council race in District 4. District 4 includes Allenstown, Auburn, Barrington, Bedford, Bow, Candia, Chichester, Deerfield, Epsom, Goffstown, Hooksett, Lee, Londonderry, Loudon, Manchester, Northwood, Nottingham, Pembroke, and Pittsfield.

For those who may be unfamiliar with the Executive Council, the Executive Council approves or denies many of the contracts entered into by the State.  Right now the Executive Council is evaluating wether or not to privatize the New Hampshire prison system.  They recently approved spending $171,000 to determine if privatization is right for NH.  The State Employees Association, along with many other organizations, have already come out against the prison privatization.  This is only one of the issues that the next Executive Council will face.

Robert Burn

The choice between Chris Pappas and Robert Burns in EC-04 is simple.  Bob Burns tells people on his website that, Right To Work is a Legislative decision, however he will be an advocate to make New Hampshire a Right To Work state.   According to his website he plans to work against unions by being involved in contract negotiations.

“Executive Councilor Robert Burns would get directly involved in union negotiations to ensure reasonable contracts and make sure non-union companies get the same opportunities for state jobs as unionized companies”.

Burns continued

“Traditionally, the governor is the chief negotiator in union or contract discussions, and then he brings the result of his negotiations to the Executive Council to approve. There’s no reason executive councilors should wait for the result of those negotiations before they take action.”

Robert Burns already has plans to go right after the State Employees.

“Additionally, I will insist that state workers make concessions on health insurance.”

It should be noted that in the last State Employees Association contract, the SEIU and the Governor negotiated a combined savings of $50 million dollars.  This was a combination in reductions (through attrition) and concessions.  Yet these savings do not seem to be enough for Robert Burns.

Durning a recent debate Robert Burns took him extreme stance on these issues one step further by stating

“I’ll never sell out my ideology,” and “I won’t compromise on anything.”

This is not the person we want to be involved in any negotiations.  The art of negotiations is an openness to give a little to get a little. Not compromising, means your not negotiating.

As I stated before, the choice for Executive Councilor in District 4 is simple.  Chris Pappas has been endorsed by nearly ever major union in New Hampshire, including the NH AFL-CIO, PFF-NH, SEA/SEIU 1984, AFT-NH, and the NE Police Benevolent Association.

Pappas campaign manager Huck Montgomery said

 “The steady stream of big endorsements really calls attention to the broad base of support Chris has built.  Chris’s top priority on the Executive Council will be to bring a sense of balance and cooperation to state government, and these endorsements certainly show that he has the ability to bring people of differing viewpoints together.”

We need someone like Chis Pappas to represent us in Concord.  We need a proven business leader, and fiscally responsible representative as Executive Councilor.  I think Governor Lynch said it best in his endorsement of Chris Pappas

“I am proud to support Chris Pappas for Executive Council,” said Governor Lynch.  “Chris’s experience as a small business owner and community leader has prepared him well for the challenges that lie ahead.  Chris will fight for fiscally responsible state government that meets the needs of our communities and working families.  Above all, Chris knows that we must put political ideology aside in order to grow our economy and move New Hampshire forward.

 

Hassan Highlights Clear Choice on Public Safety at New Hampshire Police Association Debate

Lamontagne Won’t Stand Up to Legislature’s Radical Anti-Public Safety Agenda of Guns in College Dorms, Weakening Domestic Violence Laws 

MANCHESTER – Maggie Hassan was the clear choice for voters on improving public safety in New Hampshire’s communities during a debate tonight hosted by the New Hampshire Police Association.

As a leader in the State Senate, Hassan, worked with public safety officials on critical priorities.  Hassan helped create a death benefit for first responders killed in the line of duty, directed the Department of Safety to develop a reverse 911 system so that first responders can reach citizens in an emergency, strengthened domestic violence laws, and worked with Governor John Lynch to pass one of the toughest laws in the nation to protect children from sexual predators.

“Voters have a clear choice in this election when it comes to public safety,” said Hassan. “We can continue in the direction of Governor Lynch, bringing people together to move New Hampshire forward and strengthen our communities, or we can go in the radically different direction of Ovide Lamontagne and the current legislature, where the needs of middle-class families take a backseat to an extreme and divisive agenda that is making our communities less safe.”

Ovide Lamontagne has repeatedly praised the Tea Party legislature[i], indicating that he agrees with their approach and that he won’t stand up to their radical agenda, which has included allowing guns in the State House and giving criminals free reign to open fire in public. He has also said he would be a “radically different” governor than Gov. Lynch[ii], with extreme positions like rejecting federal funds for local schools[iii] and ignoring rising tuition costs caused by cuts to higher education.[iv] He supports plans to dismantle Medicare[v], criminalize abortion and limit insurance coverage for birth control[vi], and defund Planned Parenthood, increasing costs for critical health care services for New Hampshire women and families.[vii]

Hassan has been endorsed by the Manchester Police Patrolman’s Association and the Professional Fire Fighters of New Hampshire.

“Ovide Lamontagne has made clear that he will stand with the wrong priorities of this legislature, which has repeatedly ignored the urgent warnings of local law enforcement and continues to put forward proposals that undercut our efforts to protect our communities,” said Officer Steve Maloney, Vice President of the Manchester Police Patrolman’s Association.  Maloney pointed to the legislature’s near elimination of the Children in Need of Services program, which had helped troubled young people get help before they had criminal problems; proposals to allow felons to get guns; and proposals to eliminate almost all gun licensing.

“We’ve worked with Maggie Hassan and we know that she will stand up for public safety and for our families. That’s why the  Manchester Police Patrolman’s Association is proud to support Maggie Hassan for Governor,” said Maloney, citing Hassan’s work to pass tough news to protect children from sexual predators and to strengthen domestic violence laws.



[i] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Cgt0B1VeA4&feature=youtu.be
[ii] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nkr_WSOovsk&feature=relmfu
[iii] Ovide rejected federal money to help K-12 NH public schools raise educational standards [Concord Monitor, 8/9/2010] and has said he would do it again [WGIR, 7/24/2012]
[iv] Ovide has said tuition increases were not of “utmost concern” [WMUR, 9/6/2012]
[v] Ovide supports Paul Ryan’s voucher program to end Medicare as we know it [NH Farm Bureau, 8/2012]; believes state legislature should opt-out of Medicare and run program itself [Union Leader, 2/10/2012]
[vi] Supports a “Human Life Amendment” that outlaws all abortion, and even some forms of birth control and fertility treatments [Cornerstone debate, 6/5/2010]
[vii] Ovide supports Bill O’Brien’s decision to completely eliminate Planned Parenthood funding [NHPTV, 2012]

 

Grant Bosse Has It All Wrong, PBS Is The Last Cut We Should Make

Let me start by saying that Grant makes some good points in his article “Big Bird doesn’t need our help: PBS subsidy is the easiest budget cut in Washington” however I take complete offense to his closing statement.

“This debate over funding PBS is actually quite informative. Anyone who insists we still need it obviously doesn’t really care about fixing the deficit, and needn’t be taken seriously.”

The debate on cutting PBS as the first and ‘easiest’ choice is retarded. That’s like taking a ladle of water out of a lake.  Grant even agrees with me on this.

“The half-billion dollars we spend on public broadcasting isn’t much compared to a trillion-dollar annual deficit and a $16 trillion debt”

He is right, Big Bird will be just fine.  Sesame Street is the largest revenue producer for PBS Television.  What Grant does not seem to understand is that Public Television is the only option for some poor children.  So when he says we need to “stop subsidizing upper-middle-class television” he could not be further from the truth.

PBS is watched by four out of five children under five years old.  Why is that? Because they are the best education programing on TV.

“PBS had five of the top 10 programs among mothers of young children in August 2012, and five of the top 10 programs for kids age two to five. (NielsenNPower, 8/2012)”.

According to a study done by Princeton University, PBS has “six of the top eight children’s shows” on TV. LaVar Burton said it best in his editorial to CNN (Note: I encourage everyone to read this)

“PBS offers kids television shows that are free — and especially free of hard-sell commercials and corporate points of view. PBS educates our children.”

Recently a study was done showing the direct impact from PBS educational programming and low-income children.  Without going it to too much detail, they said

“Educational television shows like Sesame Street and Between the Lions have shown positive effects on literacy skills”

People love and trust PBS.

“A survey this year said Americans consider PBS the most trusted public institution and the second-most valuable use of public funds behind only national defense.” (emphasis added)

You may think that nobody is really watching PBS well you would be wrong.

“PBS’ primetime audience is significantly larger than many commercial channels, including Bravo (PBS’ audience is 92% larger), TLC (88%), Discovery Channel (69%), HGTV (64%), HBO (62%) and A&E (29%). In addition, PBS’ primetime rating for news and public affairs programming is 91% higher than that of CNN. (Nielsen Power, 9/19/2011-9/9/2012)”

As I stated in my previous post on Romney and Sesame Street, the $440 million dollars that PBS gets is like seed money. For every dollar they are give they raise six more. All of which is reinvested into PBS shows and broadcasting.  PBS also uses this money to help teacher and parents. They created PBS Learing Media a free, online media-on-demand service developed for educators featuring photos, video, audio files and more with lesson plans, background essays, and discussion questions.

So now that you know why PBS has been around for over four decades and continues to go stronger. This is a strong investment in our future.  It is an investment in our children.  It is an aide to teachers, and parents.  All provided for by a tiny fraction of the US Budget.

Grant is right, we have a rising debt problem, however cutting PBS should be the last thing we should ever do.  Before you talk about cutting Big Bird out of the budget lets talk about some of the other cuts we can make?  Lets talk about raising revenue? Lets talk about cutting other subsidies like oil?  After we have exhausted all of those options and then we still need to make cuts, then and only then, should we discuss cutting PBS.

Do you think Congressman Guinta is Working For Us, Think Again

Congressman Guinta receiving award from ABC Inc

I have talked about Congressman Guinta and his anti-union position before.  He has been endorsed by the Associated Builders and Contractors Inc who push Right To Work (for less) and lobby against Project Labor Agreements.  The ABC likes Congressman Guinta, they even gave him an award for his support of the ABC legislative agenda in Congress.

So it is not surprising that the Associated Builders and Contractors are now running advertisements in the NH Union Leader advocating for Congressman Guinta.

The Associated Builders and Contractors are so against Project Labor Agreements that they started a website called TruthaboutPLAs.com.  The site was good enough to tell everyone in New Hampshire how Congressman Guinta is working against the middle class and especially against the hard working men and women in the building trades.

The Trouth About PLA’s said

In the 112th Congress, Rep. Guinta was an outspoken critic of anti-competitive and costly government-mandated project labor agreements (PLAs) and took the following steps to protect free enterprise:

  • Inroduced an amendment to the 2011 Continuing Resolution (H.R. 1) restricting their use on federal construction projects.
  • Cosponsored legislation called the Government Neutrality in Contracting Act(H.R. 735) prohibiting PLA schemes on federal and federally assisted construction projects.
  • Voted in support of provisions that will restore fair and open competition in federal contracting by prohibiting government-mandated PLAs. (Roll Call No.’s302267413396, and 26).

The Associated Builders and Contractors were instrumental in the long delay on the Manchester Jobs Corps building that is now under construction.  Congressman Guinta and the ABC fought to ensure that the project would only move forward if it was without a PLA.  In fact the ABC donated $20,000 toward Congressman Guinta’s campaign and that does not include the money spent on advertising on his behalf.

Now the Congressman Guinta is opposed to the Stimulus money that was sent out from the Federal Government to help create new jobs.  However he was caught for opposing something after he asked for it (see Congressmen Guinta and Ryan Caught Asking for Stimulus Money To Create Jobs).

The Congressman is not working for us, and thanks to the “Truth about PLA’s” website it shows.

OVIDE Gets Endorsement from Anti-Union Organization Associated Builders and Contractors

Ovide Lamontagne

Last night, the OVIDE 2012 Campaign released a statement that the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) endorsed Ovide for New Hampshire Governor.

“Ovide’s positions on reducing business taxes, health care reform and his priority focus on our economy and job creation are important to Associated Builders and Contractors,” said

Via Facebook

Mark Holden, President of the Associated Builders and Contractors, NH/VT Chapter.  “Ovide knows our industry and has demonstrated he is not only interested in but passionate about our pro-free enterprise principa ls.  We know a Governor Lamontagne will fight to reduce regulations and will work to reform the culture in Concord to treat New Hampshire businesses as a partner, not an adversary.”

What the Ovide 2012 statement does not tell you is that the ABC is also pushing Right To Work (for less) laws, one of Ovide’s campaign promises.  In a statement from the ABC, they commended Gov Mitch Daniels of Indiana for passing a Right To Work law.

The Associated Builders and Contractors also have deep ties to ALEC.

The ABC’s 2009 Chapter Legislative Guide contained 18 bills listed as “property of” ALEC, while the ABC’s 2010 Legislative Handbook included 10 examples of copyrighted ALEC model legislation.

From the ABC Anti-PLA website

The Associated Builders and Contractors is the same organization to “demand” the repeal of the Davis Bacon Act and end Project Labor Agreements on Federal Projects.  Francis Callahan President of the Massachusetts Building Trade s Council told the Lowell Sun:

“Project-labor agreements do not raise costs. He cites the $80 million Taunton courthouse, which was built ahead of schedule and $6 million under budget, as an example.”

The ABC continued their statement by saying

“We will restore the rule of law to labor law by blocking ‘card check,’ enacting the Secret Ballot Protection Act, enforcing the Hobbs Act against labor violence, and passing the Raise Act to allow all workers to receive well-earned raises without the approval of their union representative.”

The raise act in a reinvention of an old union busting tactic, if you give extra money to the non-union workers the union workers will leave the union to get the raise.  The catch is that once the union is busted all those raises disappear and wages go down.

You would think with all their political might that they would be the leaders in the construction industry. The truth is the total number of ABC member-contractors amounts to only 1 percent of the total number of licensed or registered construction companies in the United States.

The Associated Builders and Contractors also talk about their fabulous training programs, another lie. The facts are much different.

“There were 429,578 individual apprentices enrolled in the JATC (union) programs from 2002–2011.  During the same period, there were 22,260 individual apprentices enrolled in ABC programs in participating states”.

While Ovide Lamontagne says

“I am honored to receive the endorsement of the Associated Builders and Contractors,” said Lamontagne.  “I know this industry well and recognize the important role the hardworking men and women in the construction field will have in revitalizing our economy.  I look forward to working with them to do just that in the years ahead.”

His support for the anti-worker ABC shows that he is just full of it.

 

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