If you’re serving in or hope to serve in high office, it would be best for you not to have opinions, show leadership, or otherwise do what might be considered your job. Leaders who lead are considered risky and bold. The political intelligentsia would advise you to be quiet, look ponderous, show grave concern, but avoid expressing too many actual opinions. Leave leadership to those in less responsible positions.
People who are old fashioned enough to believe in ideas are occasionally frustrated because nothing seems to happen. Similarly, politicians — who are rarely if ever confused with people who believe in anything — are sometimes befuddled by their inability to accomplish much. Surrounded by advisers constantly urging caution, too many putative leaders indulge themselves in regular hand-wringing about the dangers of having strong opinions.
We are used to the lionization of milquetoast on the local level and it promises to be on display regularly during the presidential campaign as well.Click here to keep reading.
The state budget seems chaotic after a draft passed the House but the details of the budget and the few large items subject to debate are now relatively clear. The next two months will see significant compromise on revenues and on human service spending with little or no drama about a final House and Senate approved draft and the almost certain though reluctant approval of the governor.Click here to keep reading.
The House of Representatives proposed budget in New Hampshire is good, bad, and ugly. It is not draconian by any measure but does represent a difficult struggle to patch together New Hampshire’s fiscal house within existing sources. Not everyone will agree with every decision but too often budget information is sacrificed to the woefully misleading caterwauling that passes for political discourse today.Click here to keep reading.
All too often for politicians the big picture can get lost by paying too much attention to details. The state’s budget season is a poster child for not being able to see the forest for the trees. The difficulty for politicians is that we expect them to simultaneously focus on the big picture and to pay strict attention to the details that threaten to obscure the big picture. However, our future as a state depends less on the particular lines of a spreadsheet and more on long term changes that will affect our future. Click here to keep reading.
Improvements in technology has made more data available than ever before and the Right to Know Law has been tweaked and expanded to cover newer forms of communications, like emails. However, despite the state’s strong commitment to transparency, it still needs defending. The current governor has repeatedly refused to release certain budget documents to local papers, and there is legislation that would allow the state and local governments charge people who file requests for public documents. Needless to say, both threaten to roll back the great progress made on transparency. Click here to keep reading.
Over the last twelve years charter schools have become a small but critically important part of New Hampshire’s education infrastructure. Today, they are under threat by a legislative apathy that threatens to starve them to death. Some opponents are content to ignore any problems hoping no one will notice as the schools fight a struggle for survival. Soft supporters are equally guilty of destruction through apathy – one can’t claim to support something and then ignore it to the point of destruction. Click here to keep reading.
The State budget consists of two bills, traditionally numbered House Bill 1 (HB1) and House Bill 2 (HB2). HB1 is essentially a spreadsheet laying out spending levels, while HB2 contains all of the legal language to make it work on the spending side, as well as any changes needed to the tax code on the revenue side. Most of the 117 items contained in the Governor’s bill are technical details, but inevitably some new policy makes it in as well. Below are some of the major changes, and all of the tax and fee increases included.Click here to keep reading.
Among politicians, price controls are a bad idea unless they’re your idea. In truth, the government setting prices is never the right solution to a problem.
Those who would have the state government set and control prices in the workers’ compensation part of health care should remind themselves that they were opposed to government price controls five years ago when it was then-Sen. Maggie Hassan’s idea for a hospital price fixing commission. They were right then. They should listen to their old selves now.
Employers looking for ways to reduce the cost of doing business in New Hampshire have looked to possible reforms in the workers’ compensation system. Workers’ compensation is the successor to Otto von Bismarck’s sickness and accident laws. It is a mandatory system of employer paid insurance to cover workers’ temporary and permanent disabilities. Click here to keep reading.