Concord Monitor: Editorial: “State can’t afford price of budget cuts”
Over the next few months the Senate, a committee of conference and Gov. Hassan will pluck the spines off the cold-hearted toad of a budget passed by the House and shape into something that doesn’t boil the conscience and stab property owners in the wallet. At least we hope they will, otherwise the state’s seniors, people with a disability, their caregivers and county taxpayers will suffer.
… Taken together, the social service cuts would make it even harder for the vast majority of senior citizens in this graying state to do what they want to do – remain in their own homes for as long as possible and, ideally, to the end. More people will end up in a nursing home, exhaust their own resources sooner and wind up on Medicaid. That’s tragic for them, hard on their families and costly to taxpayers. Seniors who stay in their own homes spend down their resources, whether savings or the equity in their homes, much more slowly and require less help from taxpayers. Providing the services that help them do so makes economic and humanitarian sense.
… The cuts to social services in the House budget would downshift even more of the expense of caring for the elderly and disabled from the state and federal government to county taxpayers. Every voter should ask their state representative, if they voted for the budget, why they think that’s a good idea. [Full editorial]
Valley News: Editorial: “Don’t Just Rescue Opioid Addicts, Treat Them”
With New England in the grip of an opioid addiction crisis, much attention is being focused on naloxone, a relatively easy-to-administer drug that saves lives by reversing the deadly effects of breathing failure in people who have overdosed on heroin or prescription opioids. Remarkably, advocates say, all this is accomplished without producing major side effects other than withdrawal symptoms and without creating a high.
… Encouraging as all this is, though, we urge policy makers to ask themselves this question: After naloxone, then what? Preventing an addict from dying by overdose is wonderful, but it is not exactly the same thing as saving — or more precisely — salvaging his or her life. There’s no wonder drug for doing that, unless it’s money — money that needs to be invested in the hard work of supplying high quality, affordable and easily accessible drug treatment options at the local level and encouraging addicts to take advantage of those services.
… Given that the opioid crisis coincides with a budget crunch in both states, lawmakers will face some tough choices about how to provide adequate and sustainable funding for addiction treatment. Without that, though, naloxone is just a small Band-Aid being asked to staunch a hemorrhage. [Full editorial]
Concord Monitor: My Turn: Senate must restore sensibility, responsibility to state budget
(Richard Gulla is the president of SEA/SEIU 1984)
… At this point in the process, the Senate must formulate its version of a budget for consideration. We implore them to restore some of the services slashed by the House and provide the means for much needed revenue and reflect the type of state we envision: one where all New Hampshire residents may succeed, a place where the young can stay and thrive, where those in the middle of their lives can earn a good living to support and grow their families, and where the old can live in dignity.
I urge every New Hampshire resident to contact their state senator and demand that they develop a more compassionate and reasonable budget. Tell them that anything less is not right for our state. New Hampshire deserves better. [Full op-ed