Press Releases

 

Tuesday
Dec292009

ICYMI: Pawlenty Pushes Caps on Spending

Wall Street Journal: Pawlenty Pushes Caps on Spending

Minnesota Governor Seeks Limits in His State and Amendment to U.S. Constitution

By Amy Merrick

December 28, 2009

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB126196034509406879.html

Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, considered a possible 2012 Republican presidential candidate, is calling for strict spending limits as states and the federal government confront enormous deficits.

Mr. Pawlenty has proposed an amendment to the Minnesota constitution that would limit spending during any two-year budget period to the amount of revenue collected during the previous budget cycle. At a Republican fund-raiser in New Hampshire on Dec. 16, the governor also pushed the idea of an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would force Congress to pass, and the president to sign, a balanced budget.

"Government spending in the country and in many states is progressing at an unsustainable, irresponsible and reckless pace," Mr. Pawlenty said in an interview this week. "The bathtub is overflowing onto the floor, and the first thing we need to do is shut off the faucet."

Although the U.S. economy is showing signs of improvement, states are coping with major revenue shortfalls. States' budgeted general-fund spending for the current fiscal year totaled $627.9 billion, down 5.4% from a year earlier, according to a Dec. 2 report from the National Association of State Budget Officers and the National Governors Association. Even after those cuts, state deficits total $14.8 billion for their current fiscal year, which for most began July 1.

At the federal level, the Senate voted Thursday to temporarily raise the nation's debt limit, currently $12.1 trillion, by $290 billion. The House passed the measure Dec. 16.

All states except Vermont have at least a limited requirement to balance their budgets. The federal government has no such restriction.

Previous efforts to pass a national balanced-budget amendment have foundered in Congress. Many lawmakers believe deficit spending can help boost the U.S. economy during downturns, and calls to balance the budget sometimes fade as other priorities surface.

Changing the U.S. Constitution requires a two-thirds vote in both houses of Congress, followed by approval of three-fourths of states. State legislatures have petitioned Congress about a balanced-budget amendment, but they haven't reached the threshold needed to call a constitutional convention.

Mr. Pawlenty's proposal for a federal amendment would include exceptions for war, natural disasters and other emergencies. The U.S. has been at war for most of the past decade.

The proposals could boost Mr. Pawlenty's popularity with conservative interest groups, some of which have been longtime proponents of a balanced-budget amendment. But it is unclear how much support his budget-capping plan will have in Minnesota, where residents historically have supported generous social-service spending.

Mr. Pawlenty's state proposal has some similarities to the Taxpayer Bill of Rights amendment passed in Colorado in 1992. That amendment limited state spending growth to inflation plus population increases. Excess revenue was returned to taxpayers via rebate checks.

The amendment lost support as Colorado began experiencing service cuts, such as declines in the number of children with health insurance. In 2005, voters suspended portions of the amendment for five years.

Because the costs of health care and other services tend to grow faster than overall inflation, Colorado routinely was short "about one or two percentage points of what you need to maintain the same level of services as the previous year," said Iris J. Lav, a senior adviser at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a liberal think tank.

Mr. Pawlenty said that under his plan, Minnesota lawmakers could keep extra revenue and spend it on one-time items such as construction projects.

A change to the Minnesota constitution requires approval by a majority in both legislative chambers. The amendment must then be ratified by voters.

Minnesota state Sen. Tom Bakk, chairman of the Senate Taxes Committee, said he would consider the governor's proposal once he saw more details. He raised concerns that lawmakers could circumvent the amendment by levying a new tax and putting the money in an account outside the state's general fund. "That's a hole big enough to drive a truck through," said Mr. Bakk, a Democratic-Farmer-Labor candidate for governor.

A spokesman for the governor said the amendment could be expanded to cover all funds, not just the general fund.

Mr. Pawlenty has said that he wouldn't seek a third term next year, and that he hadn't made any decision about his political future. He has started a political action committee to raise money, and he recently visited the presidential campaign battleground states of Iowa and New Hampshire.

Some Minnesota residents already are upset with Mr. Pawlenty for spending cuts he made this summer. The governor invoked a rarely used "unallotment" law to unilaterally shrink a $2.7 billion budget deficit. The sharpest criticism has been aimed at his decision to eliminate subsidized medical care for about 30,000 low-income residents.

Minnesota's budget office said this month that the state faces a $1.2 billion deficit over the next 18 months and a $5.4 billion deficit for the two-year budget period beginning July 1, 2011.

 

Monday
Dec282009

Hillsborough County Republican Committee member, Lynne Ober, authors local history book

“Hudson: Historically Speaking” is the new book published by local authors, Lynne Ober and Diane Chubb. They will be at the Nashua Barnes and Nobel on Sunday, January 17th at 1PM and at the Pelham Public Library on January 26, 2010 6pm to talk about the book, the research that went into it, and will be available for questions and book signing afterward (light refreshments will be served after the library presentation).

Hudson has a history of remarkable characters and events, from the young Piscataqua woman who ignited King Philip’s War to a successful kitten rescue during the Great Ice Flood of 1936. Meet the distinguished patrons who shaped Hudson’s legacy, such as settler Nathaniel Cross, who famously escaped Indian capture, and Dr. Alfred Hills and his wife, Virginia, namesakes of the many Alvirne buildings. Relive the heyday of Benson’s Animal Farm, subject of community-wide nostalgia since its closing in 1987. Authors Diane Chubb and Lynne Ober also unearth some of Hudson’s darker moments, like the 1925 murder that some consider one of New Hampshire’s most gruesome and the 1974 fire that engulfed Alvirne High School in a ball of flame. For residents and visitors alike, Hudson: Historically Speaking reveals this suburb’s rich history of commerce, controversy and culture.

Lynne Ober is a member of the Hudson Historical Society, the Hudson School Board, the Hudson Old Home Days Committee, the Hudson VFW Post, and a Trustee of the Hudson Library. She is also an editor for Area News Group. Lynne is a NH State Representative serving Hudson and Litichfield. Lynne currently resides in Hudson.

Diane Chubb is a Trustee of the Pelham Public Library and a former reporter for the Pelham-Windham News. She holds degrees from Boston College and Franklin Pierce Law School. She lives in Pelham.

Sunday
Dec272009

NH DHHS Announces Case of Gastrointestinal Anthrax

Concord, NH – The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services DHHS) has confirmed a case of gastrointestinal anthrax in an adult female rom Strafford County. The patient is currently in critical condition. DHHS’ Division of Public Health Services (DPHS) along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are investigating the source of the anthrax. The source of the anthrax is not yet clear, but DPHS believes the anthrax to be naturally occurring from the environment. There is no risk to the public, but DPHS and its partners are taking every step possible to find the source.

“Our thoughts and concerns are with this patient and her family,” said DHHS Commissioner Nicholas Toumpas. “This is a difficult and unusual situation, and we are committing all possible resources to determining the cause of this exposure as quickly as possible.”

There are three types of anthrax infections: inhalation, cutaneous, and gastrointestinal. Gastrointestinal anthrax is characterized by acute inflammation of the intestinal tract. Initial signs of nausea, loss of appetite, vomiting, and fever are followed by abdominal pain, vomiting of blood, and severe diarrhea. The incubation period can be anywhere from 3 – 60 days.

There have been 11 cases of naturally occurring anthrax in the United States since 1957. One occurred recently in New York City and one in Connecticut that were related to animal hides. Approximately 2000 cases of cutaneous naturally occurring disease are reported annually worldwide. Person-to-person transmission of anthrax is extremely unlikely, as the disease is caused by a spore that is ingested, inhaled or enters through a cut in the skin. The last cases of anthrax that were diagnosed in New Hampshire were back in 1957 when there were 9 cases (4 cutaneous and 5 inhalation) in employees of a textile mill in Manchester.

“We are working with many partners to conduct a thorough investigation,” said Public Health Director Dr. José Montero. “At this point we’ve alerted physicians, we have increased our surveillance measures, and we are talking with our federal partners as well to look at all possible sources that may play a part in this case.” One of the possibilities being examined is African drums. “Even though it is a remote possibility for transmission, public health officials are requesting owners of African drums who attended African drummers circle events at the UNH campus ministries from October to early December 2009 to contact DPHS at 271-4496 to discuss the possibility of having their drums tested.”

For more information about anthrax, visit www.emergency.cdc.gov/agent/anthrax/ or www.dhhs.nh.gov. Anyone with questions about anthrax can call DHHS’ Division of Public Health Services at 271-4496 or the Centers for Disease Control at 1-800-CDC-INFO.

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Click Here  for a Fact Sheet on Anthrax



Sunday
Dec272009

Kucinich Speaks on Afghanistan, Jobs, Generals, Constitution 

Dear Friends:

Congressman Dennis Kucinich recently addressed the major issues of Afghanistan, Jobs, Generals, and the U.S, Constitution. Please view Dennis' comments concerning these important issues.

Thank you.

Sincerely.
The Re-Elect Congressman Kucinich Committee

Friday
Dec252009

Manchester Mayor Frank Guinta's Public Schedule (December 26, 2009-January 3, 2010) 

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

2:00 p.m. – Presentation of proceeds from Manchester City Marathon to Mental Health Center of Greater Manchester; Mayor’s Office; One City Hall Plaza; Manchester

Friday, January 1, 2010 – NEW YEAR’S DAY (CITY OFFICES CLOSED)

Please contact Mark Laliberte at (603) 624-6500 or mlaliberte@manchesternh.gov for more information about any of these events.