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Entries in Editorial (38)

Saturday
Mar212015

NHDP - ICYMI: Nashua Telegraph Op-Ed: Cuts Won’t Eliminate Problems 

 
 
 
 
 
Key Point: "The House Finance Committee’s proposed budget will essentially shut the door to our region’s most vulnerable children transitioning from school supports to community supports. It will dismantle family-support programs for people with developmental disabilities and cause hardship for those who do a lifetime of heavy lifting by caring for their loved ones. It will chip away at our already overtaxed safety system."

"Please know that this budget will result in young adults losing the supports they need to be become more independent members of society. By cutting transition, or wait-list services, we don’t just lose a program, we lose the long-term benefit – contributing members of our communities."

Nashua Telegraph Op-Ed: Cuts Won’t Eliminate Problems
By Sandra B. Pelletier
http://www.nashuatelegraph.com/opinion/commentary/1059720-474/nashua-cuts-wont-eliminate-problems.html

(Sandra B. Pelletier is president and CEO of Gateways Community Services in Nashua)

The House Finance Committee’s proposed budget cuts to programs provided through the Granite State’s developmental services system is one of the largest in this year’s proposed budget. These programs provide support and service to some of the most marginalized and vulnerable people in New Hampshire.

Having worked with people with developmental disabilities and acquired brain disorders for more than 30 years, I have seen what happens when short-sighted budget cuts take away services. In all my years in working with people and families in the greater Nashua region, I have never witnessed budget cuts of such sweeping proportions.

The House Finance Committee’s proposed budget will essentially shut the door to our region’s most vulnerable children transitioning from school supports to community supports. It will dismantle family-support programs for people with developmental disabilities and cause hardship for those who do a lifetime of heavy lifting by caring for their loved ones. It will chip away at our already overtaxed safety system.

Please know that this budget will result in young adults losing the supports they need to be become more independent members of society. By cutting transition, or wait-list services, we don’t just lose a program, we lose the long-term benefit – contributing members of our communities.

The loss of services that teach people with developmental disabilities day-to-day living and employment skills means a huge loss, now and in the future. Families of people with developmental disabilities provide food, housing, clothes and oversight for their loved one and rely on relatively small dollars from the state for respite and day supports. By taking this away, will these caregivers be forced to leave jobs or grow so tired they just can no longer do the heavy lifting? If our local system is undercut even further, supports for these people will be an undue burden on their families and the community at large. Just because state support and services go away does not mean the need disappears. We will only downshift House cuts to our cities and towns. A mentor has shared with me this question, “What is the role of government?” I ask you, “Is it not to support our most vulnerable citizens?”

Often, families come to me and ask, “What next?” According to the recommended House budget, my answer may very well be, “You will need to wait.” The proposed cuts will push families and caregivers in critical need beyond their financial, physical and psychological capacities at costs immeasurable by standard accounting, costs that our families know all too well. Undoubtedly tough choices must be made in balancing the state’s budget. The safety, health, and well-being of our most vulnerable children and families cannot be one of them.
 
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Sunday
Mar152015

Boston Globe Editorial: With Mass. public records law in tatters, it’s time for reform 

 

 

 

 

This week, The Boston Globe stands with the Patriot Ledger, the Boston Herald, and all of GateHouse Media Massachusetts in an unprecedented, coordinated condemnation of Secretary of State William Galvin’s rulings on the state’s public records law.
 
These newspapers will each publish editorials on open-records issues as part of a unique statewide collaboration amongst these news organizations. The Boston Globe’s editorial, now available online at BostonGlobe.com, will run in the print edition of the Sunday Boston Globe on March 15th.

 

Tuesday
Jan272015

NHDP - ICYMI: Monitor Editorial: Cut to business taxes will only hurt business in NH 

Key Point: "Businesses need good roads and bridges and other infrastructure. To attract employees, they need communities with good schools, parks and other amenities. To the extent lower tax revenue leads to a reduction in public services and state investments in infrastructure and education it will harm the business climate. Business taxes are well down the list of a company’s concerns when locating and in New Hampshire, despite the nominally high rate of the BPT, the overall business tax rate isn’t all that bad. The Tax Foundation ranked New Hampshire seventh in attractiveness to business."

Click here for the full Concord Monitor editorial or see excerpt below.

Haven’t we already heard this story about the wondrous Republican perpetual motion machine? In this latest version, it’s the promise that cutting two of the state’s major sources of revenue, the business profits tax and business enterprise tax, will increase revenue. There’s no reason to believe that’s true or, for that matter, any reason to believe that reducing business taxes will attract and retain businesses. There is, however, good reason to believe that making up for the lost revenue will require even deeper cuts to New Hampshire’s already frugal budget. Those cuts will not just hurt the needy, but make the state less, rather than more, attractive to young, well-educated workers and the businesses seeking to hire them. 

That’s why lawmakers should roundly reject Senate Bills 1 and 2.

In October, after four years of research, testimony and deliberation, the legislatively created New Hampshire Commission to Study Business Taxes issued a report that repeatedly stated that the state’s 8.5 percent business profits tax and 0.725 percent business enterprise tax did not materially affect the state’s ability to compete for businesses. The 12-member commission also found “no basis for concluding that any effect of attracting new businesses or business expansion as a result of a rate reduction would generate additional tax revenue sufficient to compensate for the revenue loss. . . .” Curiously, Sen. Jeb Bradley, one of the sponsors of both tax cut bills, was a member of the commission and now argues in favor of the cuts for the very reasons the commission deemed flawed.

Assuming, as we do, that the tax cuts will shrink state revenue, they could backfire. Businesses need good roads and bridges and other infrastructure. To attract employees, they need communities with good schools, parks and other amenities. To the extent lower tax revenue leads to a reduction in public services and state investments in infrastructure and education it will harm the business climate. 

Business taxes are well down the list of a company’s concerns when locating and in New Hampshire, despite the nominally high rate of the BPT, the overall business tax rate isn’t all that bad. The Tax Foundation ranked New Hampshire seventh in attractiveness to business. What does hurt business is the state’s high property taxes. That’s the single largest tax most businesses pay – equal to 45 cents on the tax dollar, according to one study, and 52 cents on the tax dollar in another. If communities have to offset state spending cuts with property tax increases, businesses lose.

In testimony opposing SB1 and SB2, Jeffrey McLynch, executive director of the New Hampshire Fiscal Policy Institute, pointed out that a loss to the state treasury of $78 million amounts to more than the combined budget of the Department of Resources and Economic Development and Environmental Services and nearly equals the state’s support for its community college system. It’s not a sum that can be offset with a little belt-tightening here and there. [...]

Click here for the full Concord Monitor editorial. 

Tuesday
Oct142014

NHDP - ICYMI - Concord Monitor: "My Turn: Election noise obscures truth about bipartisan budget" 

Senators Larsen and D'Allesandro Highlight Governor Hassan's Careful Management of Agency Budgets, Call Out Senate GOP for Massively Overspending on Their Own Budget


Key Point: “It is worth noting that as Gov. Hassan was working with state agencies to effectively manage their budgets and beat their savings targets, our Republican colleagues in the Senate actually overspent and missed their own budget targets. [...]

“So the irony is that Republicans were the ones who didn’t respond to their own call to reduce spending: as they were launching attacks against Gov. Hassan’s fiscal leadership and inventing wild – and inaccurate – claims about overspending by government agencies, they were the ones loosening the purse strings. [...]

“But it’s pretty clear that Senate Republicans can’t be taken seriously on the budget right now.”

See here or below for the full Concord Monitor op-ed by Senators Sylvia Larsen and Lou D'Allesandro

Granite Staters know that balancing a budget – whether it’s our family’s budget or the state’s budget – requires making tough choices to protect our priorities while living within our means. That’s what we’ve worked to do at the State House.

Under Gov. Maggie Hassan’s bipartisan leadership, we balanced the budget responsibly, with no income or sales tax. The budget passed unanimously in the Republican-majority Senate and nearly unanimously in the Democratic-majority House.

That’s not something you see too often out of Washington, D.C. – but it happened here under this governor.

It’s a fiscally responsible budget that invests in shared priorities like freezing college tuition, putting more state troopers on the road and revitalizing our state’s economic development efforts.

And it’s a budget that supports the priorities that help innovative businesses create jobs, expand middle-class opportunity and keep our economy moving in the right direction.

While passing a balanced budget every two years is crucial, it is only the first step in ensuring that our state’s finances remain on solid ground. Maintaining that balance requires constant work and attention.

Since we passed the budget, Gov. Hassan has carefully managed state agency expenditures, and she took preemptive action to rein in spending, leading us to end Fiscal Year 2014 with a $20 million surplus. In fact, agencies actually beat their targets for returning funds back to the treasury by $8.5 million.

It is worth noting that as Gov. Hassan was working with state agencies to effectively manage their budgets and beat their savings targets, our Republican colleagues in the Senate actually overspent and missed their own budget targets.

An NH1 investigation found that Senate Republicans “seemed to spend like there was no tomorrow.” They even spent $15,000 on furniture.

So the irony is that Republicans were the ones who didn’t respond to their own call to reduce spending: as they were launching attacks against Gov. Hassan’s fiscal leadership and inventing wild – and inaccurate – claims about overspending by government agencies, they were the ones loosening the purse strings.

We are not surprised to hear partisan attacks as the election approaches. That’s what happens at this time of year. But it’s pretty clear that Senate Republicans can’t be taken seriously on the budget right now.

Going forward, we need to continue to be prudent. As the economy continues to improve, key revenues that indicate economic progress, such as the meals and rooms and real estate transfer taxes, remain strong. However, the last Legislature passed changes to tax laws that went into effect in the fourth quarter of Fiscal Year 2014.

Since those changes went into effect, we have seen business tax and interest-and-dividends tax revenues regularly fall below plan. Even though overall revenues are running slightly ahead of plan for the year, the trend in business and interest-and-dividends revenue could be a sign of challenges ahead.

That’s why we supported Gov. Hassan taking preemptive action last week by sending all state agencies directions to reduce expenditures in their plans for the year ahead. That was the right thing to do.

At the same time, the Legislature will also need to continue to work together across party lines to exercise discretion while focusing on important priorities. Remember, the state is only spending on the bipartisan priorities that have been supported by legislators from both parties, either through our budget, through the Legislative Fiscal Committee or through other laws passed with bipartisan support.

We hope that after the election hoopla is over, the Legislature will go back to doing what we did last year, and work closely with agencies and under the leadership of our governor in a bipartisan way to develop a final plan that ensures a balanced budget for next year. That’s what has helped keep our state on track.

(Sylvia Larsen is a state senator from Concord. Lou D’Allesandro is a state senator from Manchester.)

 

Monday
Sep292014

Brown For US Senate - ICYMI: FOSTER'S DAILY DEMOCRAT: EDITORIAL: THE RIGHT CHOICE FOR THE GRANITE STATE 

Jeanne Shaheen's Hometown Newspaper: "Our hope is that voters will look past the bull and balderdash of Team Shaheen et al. And that on election day they will make the right choice — Scott Brown for United States Senate to represent the great state of New Hampshire.” 
 

Foster's Daily Democrat
September 12, 2014


Click Here To Read


Truth be told, Brown is as much a Granite Stater as a majority of those now living here.
 

 
Among those who “ain’t from here,” as it was phrased in a recent letter to the editor, is Shaheenalong with many other of our current and past elected officials.
 

 
So what does this mean come Election Day on Nov. 4?
 
It means identifying those values that brought all you transplants to this great state, then voting for someone who today represents those values.
 
We would argue that Shaheen has a voting history that today runs counter to the New Hampshire ethos of smaller government, less interference and more independence (read: less meddling from Washington).
 
Brown, on the other hand, more respects the stubborn independence to which the Globe alludes and the want of a more thrifty/less invasive federal government.
 
Our hope is that voters will look past the bull and balderdash of Team Shaheen et al. And that on election day they will make the right choice — Scott Brown for United States Senate to represent the great state of New Hampshire.