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Entries in Josiah Bartlett Center (129)

Saturday
Jun072014

Josiah Bartlett Center - Trying to Make Sense of the MET Deal and the EPA's New Rules 

Weekly Update from the
Josiah Bartlett Center

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

The brokered deal on the Medicaid Enhancement Tax and lawsuit is a partial solution to an imperfect situation that will require difficult choices but it may still be the right choice to make. The complexity of the tax and the schemes surrounding it make evaluating and understanding the tax, the choices, and the possibilities difficult but let’s give it a try. Click here to keep reading


Earlier this week, President Obama announced a series of proposed rules that would reduce the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted by fossil fuel fired power plants. The goal nationally is to reduce emissions by 30% below 2005 levels. Each state has its own reduction goal, reached through a complex calculation based on current energy production sources and possible policy choices. For New Hampshire to comply with these rules, the state would need to reduce emissions from fossil fuel fired plants by more than 46% by 2030. Click here to keep reading

Saturday
May312014

Josiah Bartlett Center - Sausage Making, the Rainy Day Fund, and Narrow Networks 

Weekly Update from the
Josiah Bartlett Center

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

The most annoying and disheartening time of the legislative year is upon us – the time when transparency and honest debate are sacrificed on the altar of hidden agendas in pursuit of that elusive legislative pot of gold, “a deal.” Committees of conference are legislative mini-summits where the romanticized version of a smoke filled room creates comparisons to sausage making that do a distinct dishonor the noble smoked meats. Click here to keep reading
 


Summary: The current FY14-15 budget spends $30.5 million more on Health and Human Services than the House Budget proposed, when Uncompensated Care is removed. Revenue projections for the Medicaid Enhancement Tax (MET), which funds Uncompensated Care, were revised downwards in the Enacted Budget on the advice of HHS. Taking into account all back of the budget reductions, the Enacted Budget spends nearly $23.5 million more over the biennium than the House Budget in General Funds. Click here to keep reading

 


The real problem with the Obamacare network in New Hampshire is not that it is too narrow but that there is any network at all. Healthcare costs are lowered not when the one government sanctioned picks winners and losers but instead when providers compete for the customer pool. The oddly constructed health exchange in New Hampshire is not the beginning of the future but the last gasp of the past. Click here to keep reading

 

Wednesday
May212014

Josiah Bartlett Center - The Time for the Governor to Act is Now 

 

Weekly Update from the
Josiah Bartlett Center


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

 
 

I believe that the unique joys of another special legislative session loom on the horizon for the New Hampshire legislature. The purpose of the session will be the byzantine creature known as the Medicaid Enhancement Tax but we might just as easily call it the current budget crisis. Some legislators deny the existence of a crisis. They’re wrong.

The current crisis has come about as the courts have ruled a weird tax scheme of ours unconstitutional and placed almost $400 million the state is counting on for its budget in jeopardy. Solutions are swirling in Concord and some sort of Grand Alliance may yet come together but a solution must be reached by June 5 or a special session will be required. In the meantime, the governor’s delay in taking simple steps of preparation is inexplicable.....Click here to keep reading.
 


 

"I hoped for both the routine hiring freeze every governor does and the additional spending reductions most governors make. Today’s actions are the first small step to respond to the problem but she should also make real spending cuts by executive order as recent governors have done. In the last two decades, itemized spending reductions have accompanied freezes nine times. Nonetheless, I want to thank her for listening.” Click here to keep reading.

Friday
May092014

Josiah Bartlett Center - The Governor's Inappropriate Appointment and the State's Fiscal Crisis 

Weekly Update from the
Josiah Bartlett Center

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

 
 

Governor Hassan made a mistake by nominating someone engaged in an ongoing lawsuit against the state to regulate the area over which he’s still suing. The mistake is not one of policy but one of propriety. The nomination can and should be withdrawn before tomorrow’s vote of the Executive Council.

So the governor has nominated someone to the State Board of Education who is currently suing the state over education policy. He didn’t once upon a time sue the state. He hasn’t expressed concerns. He is currently engaged in lawsuit – a lawsuit named after him – and is going to oversee that area – the area of his ONGOING lawsuit. Does the governor not see that this is a trifle odd? 
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The $400 million hole in the state’s budget I described two weeks ago has caused the state to be placed on a negative fiscal watch. Some would ignore or minimize the crisis but the problem is large, structural, and will require more than a small tweak to fix.

This past week, the national bond rating agency Standard and Poor’s lowered the state’s outlook from ‘stable’ to ‘negative.’ Very quickly, the other major national group, Moody’s, followed suit and advised investors and anyone watching the state’s finances that New Hampshire’s outlook was negative. The bond rating was not lowered but both major fiscal watchdogs are advising the world that New Hampshire’s outlook is negative. I think it’s fair to say that this is not putting our best foot forward as we look to attract jobs and investment to the state. Click here to keep reading

Wednesday
Apr092014

Josiah Bartlett Center - Bow Plant Saves Ratepayers Millions 

Weekly Update from the
Josiah Bartlett Center


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

When it costs more to heat your house, your electricity is cheaper. Actually there isn’t a direct correlation between the two but cold weather – and we’ve had plenty of it – drives both dynamics. One utility-owned power plant in New Hampshire is something of a political football but is currently saving ratepayers well over $100 million this year.

The electric market in New England is all about gas. The electric market is not state specific but regional and our region comprises the six New England states. Whether a power plant is in New Hampshire or Rhode Island is immaterial. Power is sold into a regional market which doesn’t care which state the plant is in.

The lion’s share of electricity in New England comes from natural gas so gas is said to set the price. Every resource bids into the market a price at which they are willing to supply a set amount of power. The sources are then “stacked” from least to highest bid until the power need is reached. All accepted providers then get that “clearing price” regardless of what their individual bids were. Gas generally sets the price as the last accepted bid....Click here to keep reading