Guest Blogs

Wednesday
Dec312014

Jim Rubens - A Remedy for Bipartisan Political Corruption 

“A Rare Bipartisan Success” crowed the Wall Street Journal on passage of the $1.1 trillion Cromnibus spending bill, supported by House and Senate leaders Boehner and Reid, President Obama, and the New Hampshire Congressional delegation, other than Rep. Shea-Porter.

The bipartisan success is that Congress was once again able to duck its core obligation to craft a fiscally sustainable budget, adding another several hundred billion dollars to the nation’s credit card. Another bipartisan success is the gargantuan incumbent protection amendment snuck into the 1,603 page bill just hours before the House voted on the bill without reading it.

The amendment protects incumbents because a single donor and spouse can now give up to $3.1 million over each two-year election cycle to the national political party committees. The two parties and the entrenched incumbents they nearly always protect will now have even bigger war chests to fend off challengers. A small number of big-money donors with their usually narrow, self-serving agendas have now gained hammerlock control over our already bought and paid-for Congress.

Apologists claim that the mega-donor incumbent protection amendment is needed to offset the burgeoning mega-donor super PACs, ostensibly not controlled by the two parties. Having lost my primary against party-backed Scott Brown, I can testify with certainty that most super PAC money hews to the preferences of party leaders in the House and Senate.


Read More (as it appears in the Concord Monitor)

Friday
Dec192014

Speaker Jasper - Time to Get to Work For the People of New Hampshire

https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/VtOLTKp5k70QT_b_dWXTh2dedWS5wiXat3NFpwNjMsvgwgX-aFoMqXT6YEG2hPIf-Hg_Wf3W6YXt2GOIzaC0jgK9fegH1a6GiFf1osIUHzCXfoZKrSgviOk-wg

Here in New Hampshire, we have long prided ourselves in having a truly representative government. We have the largest state legislature in the United States.  It is truly a citizen legislature made up of young and old, with diverse backgrounds, beliefs and life experiences.  With 400 house members, by its very design, we are meant to reflect the state we are all proud to represent.

While there has been much political analysis of my recent election as Speaker of the New Hampshire House of Representatives, it is with great humility and seriousness that I begin this new legislative session. It is about how best to serve the people of my hometown of Hudson and the state of New Hampshire. It is about taking the confidence expressed by a majority of my colleagues in the House, both Republican and Democrat, and working together to make our state a better place for our families.  It is about making New Hampshire a stronger place to start and grow a business, and assuring that the next generation of granite staters has even more opportunities to succeed.

For the past thirty-five years, I have been committed to public service at both the local and state level.  As a member of my town's Budget Committee and Board of Selectmen, I have always understood the need to make sure that hard earned tax dollars are used cautiously and with maximum benefit.  As a state representative for 20 years, I have always made it a point to listen, gather information and make informed decisions that would benefit my community and state.  There is never a shortage of well-meaning ideas, new programs to be offered or needs to be met.  But without strong stewardship by elected officials, government will always look to grow and consume more revenues.  I have made the tough decisions to keep spending in check , balancing wants with needs, throughout my career.  Through these efforts, I have been fortunate to earn the support of conservative minded groups because of my priority of low spending, from business groups for keeping regulations and impediments to their success out of the way and from law enforcement officials for supporting policies that keep our families and streets safe. It is a record grounded in conservative principles and carried out with a passionate understanding of the people I was elected to represent.

In New Hampshire, we face challenges that must be addressed.  The new biennial budget has built in deficits that must be overcome through sound management and a review of spending to see where we can generate further efficiencies.  We have an energy crisis produced by a lack of new supply that has rates for homeowners and businesses soaring to record heights. Without addressing the need for additional energy sources, we are leaving our families with the potential for overwhelming natural gas and electric costs and our business community at an economic and competitive disadvantage when compared to their peers in New England and across the country.  And while New Hampshire prided itself in leading our region out of times of recession, we are seeing our neighbors with stronger economies than ours, attracting new businesses and offering more opportunities for the next generation to find educational opportunities and jobs without migrating to another state.  These are all challenges that we must face together.  As elected officials, we are all entrusted with a temporary power to lead the state in problem solving. The problems don't require a Republican or Democrat solution.  They require a New Hampshire solution.

As Speaker, I pledge to make the next two years as productive as possible by working with those who are truly committed to public service.  Yes, I have my beliefs and am guided by conservative principles. But, I am excited about the opportunity to join with all 399 of my colleagues to do the people’s business and make sure we leave our beloved state of New Hampshire a better place than we found it.

 

Speaker Shawn Jasper

Wednesday
Oct292014

NH Rep O'Brien on Today's Tax Foundation Report 

Speaker Candidate Rep. William O’Brien’s Statement on the Non-Partisan Tax Foundation Identifying New Hampshire as Third Worse in the Country for Business Taxes

In 2010 when the Republicans took back the majority in New Hampshire’s Legislature, Democrat tax increases during the preceding two, Democrat-dominated legislative terms had driven New Hampshire down to the bottom of all states in the country for business tax according to the non-partisan Tax Foundation.  New Hampshire had the highest business taxes in the country. We were number 50.
 
Republican fiscal reforms in the 2010-2012 legislative session paid off.  By 2013, New Hampshire jumped past four states and went from last in the nation – the state with the highest overall business taxes – to number 46. The signs looked good for more progress. 
 
Unfortunately, New Hampshire has experienced another two years of Democrats controlling the New Hampshire House.  According to the annual Tax Foundation survey released today, New Hampshire has now fallen back to number 48 and the signs are not good.*  With another two years of a Democrat House majority together with the most liberal Democrat governor in New Hampshire’s history, we will be back at the bottom again.
 
To know how harmful this huge tax burden is on businesses and job growth, we need only compare New Hampshire to Wyoming.  Wyoming’s business taxes are the lowest in the country and its economy grew 7.6% last year, over four times the national average. ** On the other hand, with about the highest business taxes, New Hampshire’s economy grew at 0.9% last year.  This is not only half the national average, but less than Vermont, Massachusetts and Rhode Island, all of which have lower business tax burdens.***
 
As a high business tax state, New Hampshire is losing ground.  If we shed that liability, we can have Wyoming’s additional 6.5% growth. In our $70 billion state economy that would be $4.5 billion more business and all the resulting jobs.  All we need to do is reduce state government spending and reduce taxes.
 
Maggie Hassan and New Hampshire Democrats say we can’t afford to reduce taxes. Actually, we can’t afford not to reduced taxes.  We can’t afford to throw away $4.5 billion in growth and more each year because of a lack of fiscal discipline in Concord.  We need to reduce state spending so we can get the New Hampshire corporate tax rate of 8.5% below Massachusetts’ 8% and even New York’s 7.1% rate.  If we do that, businesses, jobs and our young people will be able to return and prosper to New Hampshire. And not just that. More tax revenue that will be more affordable will come in from a larger state economy.
 
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* http://taxfoundation.org/article/2015-state-business-tax-climate-index
**Wall St. Journal, Oct. 28, 2014, page A18.
*** http://www.bea.gov/newsreleases/regional/gdp_state/2014/_images/gsp_0614.png

Saturday
Oct252014

Rep. William O’Brien’s - New Hampshire identified as the Worse State for Young People in the Nation

Speaker Candidate Rep. William O’Brien’s Statement on the Investment Group Motley Fool Identifying New Hampshire as the Worse State for Young People in the Nation

On the surface it is a paradox that the Democrat Party, which claims that it is the party for women, minorities, young people, and whatever other group it can conceivably define as aggrieved, invariably harms each of them.  So after years of pandering and false claims of racism and wars on women, under Democrat control in Washington and Concord, labor force participation for women is at more than a 30 year low under the Obama Adminstration. Unemployment among black Americans, especially among young people, as well as their rates of poverty, are at levels not seen since the Great Depression.
 
In Concord, we have listened to this rhetoric for three of the last four legislative terms and it has always lead to more spending.  And it is in that fact – the growth of Government generated by ever increasing spending by Democrats – that lays the solution to this paradox in New Hampshire.  When government grows, the economy stagnates and it is the most vulnerable among us- the young, minorities, the historically disadvantaged, who suffer first, suffer the most and suffer the longest when the economy isn’t growing.
 
In New Hampshire these past two years under Maggie Hassan and House Democrats there has once again been demonstrated that this law of economics – too much government spending leads to too little economic growth - invariably trumps the laws of Big Government, producing the opposite of the desired effect.   A well-respected investment organization geared to young people known as Motley Fool has, for the first time, identified New Hampshire as the worse state in the country for young people.
 
As the report indicates, when legislators vote too much spending, people will vote with their feet and leave.  And that is what young people have done in New Hampshire.  They have left and our population of 25 to 34 year olds is shrinking.
 
There is an alternative however.  All of us can vote at the ballot box on November 4 to remove the over-spenders in Concord, from Maggie Hassan through House Democrats and, in doing so, ask our younger citizens to stay and come grow the economy with us.

Thursday
Oct232014

Ellen Read - Do We Have a Democracy?

With the election less than two weeks away, several of my friends and I have recently attended candidates’ debates and forums, and although we all submit the same question multiple times at each event, the question never gets asked.  And this year we have fewer opportunities than ever to even ask the question, because candidates around the country this year are refusing to debate each other more than ever before.  This is ironic, since our question is what will be done to restore our democracy.  Yet, this doesn’t surprise us,because we know, as most New Hampshirites do, that the U.S. no longer has a government that answers to its People.

     And a recent Princeton study has officially declared what we all already felt:  the U.S. is no longer an actual democratic republic, but a plutocratic oligarchy--rule by the wealthy elite.  The study demonstrated definitively that policies end up reflecting the wishes of the tiny fraction of one percent of the country that makes substantial political contributions, and not the desires of average voters.

     But we didn’t need a study to tell us this, did we?  Ninety-six percent of the public—conservatives, liberals, and everyone in-between, agree that it is important to reduce the influence of money in our political system.  We feel that our legislators do not really care about what we want, but about what their donors, who they spend 70% of their time courting, want—even if their donors are outside their district, or their state, or now thanks to shadowy superPACs, even outside the country, in effect.  In fact, candidates no longer have to raise a single dollar from an actual constituent, yet election spending is higher than ever.

     And that is why my friends and I feel the need to ask our candidates what they are going to do about it.  But our question never gets asked because usually debate moderators have a set agenda based on the hot-topics of the day--things like healthcare, national security, spending, the environment, and net neutrality, for example.  But each of these issues, and so many more, come back to a single issue:  the profit of corporations that have donated to and lobbied legislators until they get policies that benefit them, usually at the expense of the citizens at large. 

     We cannot make healthcare policies that benefit everyone, or be judicious in our use of military force, or rein in spending, or protect the air and water and climate we live in, or ensure an open internet—not as long as the corporations that profit from forcing us into expensive insurance plans, or from selling weapons of war to the government, or from receiving government giveaways, or from polluting without regulation, or from monopolizing access to information, make the majority of political contributions to our legislators, who are supposed to represent We the People.  

     We learn in school that a democracy cannot exist without a well-informed public.  And so it is incumbent upon the so-called “fourth branch of government”--the press and media at large--to show to the people, who already have the sense that big money has corrupted our government, that how we conduct our elections is at the very heart of every other issue, whether it is a conservative or liberal cause.  The press needs to remember that until we have a government that actually represents the will of the people, no other issue will be resolved according to the best interest of the people.  The press must stress that business should mind its business, which is selling goods and services and making a profit within the confines of the law; and remind us that it is the business of the citizenry, and nothing else, according to the constitution, to direct the government in making law.

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