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Entries in Josiah Bartlett Center (134)

Saturday
Oct182014

Josiah Bartlett Center - Two Billion Dollar Spending Increase is Fantasy Theater that Should End 

Weekly Update from the
Josiah Bartlett Center


Keeping you up to date on our latest research
on the issues impacting New Hampshire

 
 

The executive branch just proposed a $2 billion increase in state spending and no one wants to talk about it. The budget process starts in October and the executive branch proposed spending $12.5 billion. Everyone involved admits this is an unrealistic and ridiculous place to start but no one wants to disown it just yet. Everyone involved in state budgeting should publicly repudiate the requests as unrealistic fantasies and commit to repealing the law that supposedly requires this bit of theater.

The state adopts a two-year budget in June each odd-numbered year but the process begins eight months earlier in the October preceding each general election. The governor’s final proposal must be presented in February but four months earlier her department heads are required by law to present their initial budgets. That initial budget this year asks for $12.5 billion over two years compared to the $10.5 authorized for the current budget....Click here to keep reading

 
Tuesday
Oct142014

Josiah Bartlett Centger - The State Budget is a Mess and Getting Worse 

Weekly Update from the
Josiah Bartlett Center


Keeping you up to date on our latest research
on the issues impacting New Hampshire

 
 

The state budget is a mess and it keeps getting worse. What’s worse is that this budget mess isn’t caused by a recession but by poor management and political gamesmanship. The first year of the budget significantly overspent. The second year, which we are in the middle of, is significantly out of balance. All of this will make the next budget a significant problem.

This budget was supposed to be a transition budget. The earlier 2011 budget was a crisis budget. An $800 million imbalance forced significant budget cuts to bring spending roughly in line with regular revenues.

The 2013 budget relied on a significant surplus generated by its predecessor to include budget growth that was almost but not quite supported by revenue. The budget counted on spending $29.5 million of the surplus in the first year and $26.7 million in the second.

With the release of an unaudited budget summary last week we discovered that the budget situation is in fact quite bad. We also know now that there is no revenue problem at all but a significant spending problem....Click here to keep reading

 
Wednesday
Sep242014

Josiah Bartlett Center - The State's Job Problem Can't be Fixed by Changing One Thing 

Weekly Update from the
Josiah Bartlett Center


Keeping you up to date on our latest research
on the issues impacting New Hampshire

 
 

The biggest problem with the anemic job growth New Hampshire has been saddled with for the last decade is not the lack of jobs but the forlorn hope of policymakers that there is one silver bullet that will fix everything.

It used to be true (and is no longer) that New Hampshire grew faster than most states when the economy was strong and came back from recessions before other states and more aggressively than other states. The explosive growth of jobs in the 1970s, the 1980s, and at least to some extent the 1990s was something we took for granted and defined what we perceived as the dynamic economic character of the state.

In the 1980s, New Hampshire’s economy went through an explosive boom cycle. At our job creation peak there were more jobs than available workers – we were the North Dakota of our time. For example, from 1983 to 1989 the number of jobs in New Hampshire increased by 28% in just six years....Click here to keep reading

 
Wednesday
Aug272014

Josiah Bartlett Center - There are Fewer Reporters because Nobody Cares 

Weekly Update from the
Josiah Bartlett Center


Keeping you up to date on our latest research
on the issues impacting New Hampshire

 
 

Though we all pretend to care about state and local affairs, few of us actually can be bothered to pay attention. A tiny sliver of the population votes, participates, or even seems to care. Despite that epidemic of apathy, people can always be counted on to be annoyed by changes they themselves helped cause. Changes to journalism are one example of this trend.

There has been a great deal of angst lately as the Nashua Telegraph closed their State House bureau and released veteran reporter Kevin Landrigan. Following the retirement of longtime Associated Press reporter Norma Love, observers worried that no one in an increasingly lonely press room had any historical knowledge and that the public would be poorer because of it. The concern is real but exaggerated and sometimes expressed by people who helped cause it.

In a small press corps, losing two reporters who have witnessed so much definitely lessens the knowledge base but they weren’t the only veterans around. The Union Leader has a strong presence at the State House with Gary Rayno, a veteran of three decades and multiple newspapers, whose knowledge of the inner workings of the State House is equal to that of any current or former reporters....Click here to keep reading

Wednesday
Aug132014

Josiah Bartlett Center - Elections are about Hired Hands, not Statesmen 

Weekly Update from the
Josiah Bartlett Center


Keeping you up to date on our latest research
on the issues impacting New Hampshire

 
 

Every elected official fancies him or herself a statesman, a leader whose portrait will soon grace currency after he or she carefully deliberates a new constitution or the next Treaty of Versailles. In reality, they are mere functionaries we hire to perform tasks we are too busy to do ourselves. They are replaceable with a long line of equally or perhaps more satisfactory contractors willing to take each of their places at a moment’s notice.

I don’t mean to denigrate the politicians we hire to represent us in our constitutional republic. Nor do I suggest they are without talent or industry. In fact, I would prefer we hire the most talented and industrious contractors available for the job. If I need electrical work or plumbing done, I want to hire someone with talent and knowledge that I don’t myself possess....Click here to keep reading