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Entries in Josiah Bartlett Center (131)

Sunday
Jan192014

Josiah Bartlett Center - What’s Noteworthy Here is the Governor’s Chutzpah 

Weekly Update from the
Josiah Bartlett Center


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


What's Noteworthy Here is the Governor's Chutzpah
 

The governor would like to spend state revenues directly for scholarships to be used at any approved school, public or private in the state. At the same time, in the same term, she is arguing that legislation that does the same thing is an unconstitutional breach that must be stopped. Rarely has any leader been so directly and perfectly contradictory.

In her budget address just eleven months ago, Gov. Hassan proposed spending $4 million from the state treasury directly to pay for “need-based scholarships that can be used at both public and private colleges.” This is not an unreasonable program. To allow lower-income students access to greater educational opportunity, the governor wants to target limited dollars to them. Rather than dictate a list of specific providers, the governor believes students and their parents should choose from any licensed school, public or private, religious or secular, in-state or out-of-state to develop the best educational option for that specific student....Click here to keep reading

Saturday
Jan112014

Josiah Bartlett Center - The Rainy Day Fund & ER Usage Under Medicaid Expansion

Weekly Update from the
Josiah Bartlett Center


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


Demand that the Legislature Follow its Own Budget Law
 

The law requires that any surplus be automatically deposited into a Revenue Stabilization Account, commonly called a rainy day fund.  In theory, the money is a small reserve collected in good times and set aside for unexpected shortfalls (just as you might save at home in case your furnace dies).

Politicians, however, are not happy planning for the long term at the expense of their current needs. In this way, they are similar to small children who are still developing impulse control.

Saving money to avoid a crisis five or ten years from now is not nearly as politically fun as spending it now and making someone happy before the next election. As a consequence, politicians of both parties routinely enact a “temporary suspension” of the rainy day fund law as part of the budget. That way the leftover money from before can be spent rather than saved....Click here to keep reading

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  A few years ago, Oregon chose to expand Medicaid coverage to the population now under consideration for coverage here in New Hampshire. In Oregon’s case, state funds would cover the total cost of the program. The problem for Oregon policy makers was that there was only enough money available to cover some, not all, of those eligible. To remain fair, coverage in the expanded Medicaid program was chosen by lottery.

This lottery presented a unique opportunity for researchers. Given the nature of the process, it created a randomized sample that received Medicaid coverage, while those that did not became a de facto control group. Budgetary limits had created the perfect case study to analyze the effects of Medicaid Expansion.

So far the results have 
been mixed, but the recent data on emergency room (ER) usage is troubling. After 18 months, the study has found that ER usage among the newly covered Medicaid population was 40% higher than the control group. Not only is this a sharp increase in real terms, but keep in mind the control group; it is people with no insurance coverage at all, who often uses emergency rooms as their primary source of healthcare.... Click here to keep reading
Saturday
Dec142013

Josiah Bartlett Center - Tax Reform and NH Obamacare Exchange Enrollments

Weekly Update from the
Josiah Bartlett Center

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


Changing Taxes Should Not Make the State More Money
 

Rep. David Hess wants to tax me but at least he’s going about it the right way. Too often tax reform is a sneaky way of raising taxes. New Hampshire’s history of recent tax reforms shows it doesn’t have to be. Tax reform, simplification, and loophole elimination often fail at the state and federal level because the politicians use reform as a guise to increase revenues. Rep. Hess isn’t and should be applauded for that whether you like his proposal or not...Click here to keep reading.

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November Obamacare Exchange Numbers Released

Only 1300 NH residents signed up

"The end result is that though Obamacare was designed to improve access to affordable healthcare, the majority of New Hampshire residents buying health insurance through the exchanges likely doing so either because their existing plan was canceled, or because they did not want to have insurance and are now required to have it."  Click here to keep reading.

Curious where your Tax Dollars Go?
NHOpenGov is the Center's government transparency project detailing every last transaction made by the state since 2008. We update our data on a regular basis and have more than 3.5 million transactions in our database. Help us to find government waste! Click here to start looking.
Wednesday
Dec112013

Josiah Bartlett Center - Grant's Greatest Hits 

Weekly Update from the
Josiah Bartlett Center

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

 
 
For the last five years, Grant Bosse has been an important part of the Josiah Bartlett Center. First as an employee writing about things no one else was covering. In the last year, he’s been a senior fellow with a varied portfolio. As was inevitable, he didn’t stay forever and moved on to a new challenge exactly five years after we got him.
 
We wish him well in his new position with the New Hampshire State Senate but I wanted to take this opportunity to tell you what you already know: he did great things for the Bartlett Center and will be very difficult to replace. He had a rare ability to both understand the complicated issues of state government and to explain them in an understandable way to those of us who hadn’t researched the issue ourselves, read the bond statement, or sit through the hearing.
 
At its core, that’s the mission of the Josiah Bartlett Center.
 
We’re going to take this newsletter to remind you of some of Grant’s work – much of it still relevant – to tide us all over until perhaps he joins us again.
~Charlie Arlinghaus                                              

One of the reasons I like shopping at Market Basket is the huge selection. On a recent trip, I counted 51 different kinds of mustard. These days the condiment aisle is a lawless frontier, with horseradish and wasabi, and even relish, intruding on the very idea of what mustard is. The big yellow French’s bottle reminded me of childhood baloney sandwiches.Fussy little gourmet jars featured garlic and dill and white wine. I have to mention my personal go-to hotdog sauce, Gulden’s Spicy Brown. If the free market can provide such rich variety in something as mundane and trivial as mustard, why do we have just one choice for our kids’ school? Click here to keep reading.

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Meet the MET

How the Medicaid Enhancement Tax Works and Why it is so Important
 
This paper will outline the history of the Medicaid Enhancement Tax in New Hampshire, describe how the complex tax works in conjunction with the Disproportionate Share Hospital Program, and dispel some of the many misunderstandings that trip up budget writers trying to incorporate this brand new, 20-year old tax into the FY14-15 State Budget... Click here to keep reading

Do Certificate of Need Boards Reduce Costs or Hurt Patients?

Certificate of Need laws, or CONs, have been set up across the country under the assumption that rationing hospital construction and expansion would limit increases in health care costs. Four decades of experience have shown that CONs do not control costs, but do provide a significant barrier to entryClick here to keep reading

 
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RGGI: The First Two Years

 
The Northeast Cap and Trade program

In 2008, New Hampshire joined a ten-state regional compact designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through a cap-and-trade program on electric generation facilities. This report examines how that program has been implemented in New Hampshire over the past two years, how much revenue has been generated from the sale of carbon allowances, and how New Hampshire officials have spent that money. Click here to keep reading

Thursday
Nov282013

Josiah Bartlett Center - A Pilgrim in the Marketplace 

www.jbartlett.org

Weekly Update from the
Josiah Bartlett Center


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


This piece by our own Grant Bosse perfectly captures both the spirit of Thanksgiving and the mission of the Josiah Bartlett Center. Please accept our best wishes for a very Happy Thanksgiving.

 

                                                                                      ~ Charlie
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A Pilgrim in the Marketplace

Grant D. Bosse

As Originally Published in the Concord Monitor

I don’t think I would have done well in 1621. I haven’t been hiking or camping in years. My shooting skills are limited to paper silhouettes. And the only fires I’ve lit recently have been in a barbecue grill or a wood pellet stove. I don’t even want to think about going through the day without hot and cold running water.

The Pilgrims of Plymouth who survived two months at sea and a brutal New England winter celebrated their first harvest in the autumn of 1621, inviting the nearby Wampanoag tribe for a feast of thanksgiving. The Pilgrims likely went out “fowling” for local ducks, while the Wampanoag brought several deer. The meals would have likely included squash, onions, cabbage, shellfish and a mashed corn porridge known as samp. Following the feast, the Detroit Lions began an annual tradition by losing by three touchdowns.

In a letter back to England, future colonial governor Edward Winslow described the abundance of the New World:

“For fish and fowl, we have great abundance. Fresh cod in the summer is but coarse meat with us. Our bay is full of lobsters all the summer, and affords a variety of other fish. In September we can take a hogshead of eels in a night, with small labor, and can dig them out of their beds all the winter. We have mussels and others at our doors. Oysters we have none near, but we can have them brought by the Indians when we will. All the springtime the earth sends forth naturally very good salad herbs. Here are grapes, white and red, and very sweet and strong also; strawberries, gooseberries, raspberries, etc.; plums of three sorts, white, black, and red, being almost as good as a damson; abundance of roses, white, red and damask; single, but very sweet indeed.”

Winslow lost his wife over the first winter. He soon married Susannah White, who had just been widowed as well. Yet his letter proclaims the bounty and opportunity of his new home, and gives advice for the “industrious men” who would join them.

We laud the resilience of this small band of religious refugees, seeking freedom of worship across the ocean from civilization.

Yet we should not glorify the harsh conditions that they survived. Self-sufficiency is a path to abject poverty. I’m thankful I can rely on strangers for my daily needs, and don’t have to worry about where I’m getting my food, water and firewood as the days become shorter and the nights colder.

I have no idea who installed the plumbing in my house, or who designed the two-in-one showerhead that helps clear the cobwebs out of my brain each morning. No one at Crest or Oral B went to work out of altruistic concern for my dental hygiene. I didn’t promise anyone I’d go get a coffee and a bagel this morning, but both were conveniently available on command.

We owe our current prosperity, literally unthinkable in 1621, not to self-sufficiency or charity, but through the self-interested actions of people we’ll never meet. The tremendous efficiencies unleashed through trade and specialization are the true American cornucopia.

Living standards are higher for everyone, and so are our standards for what is acceptable.

Fortunately, the wealth created through the free market affords us the opportunity to help those less fortunate. Capitalism is not incompatible with charity, or with safety-net programs funded through government taxation. But it is voluntary private action that creates the resources we would like to redirect to the poor.

The lesson I take from that first Thanksgiving was the cooperation between two very different tribes. The Pilgrims and the Wampanoag helped each other survive, enriching both groups. We have fallen tragically short of that standard so often in the past 400 years, and not only with our treatment of Native American tribes. Our mercantile shortsightedness has led to wars, and slowed the growth in our prosperity.

Civilizations advanced before the spread of economic and political freedom, and we’ll keep moving forward even with an oversized government stifling innovation. But the pace of progress quickens only through trade. Free exchange of goods, services, and most importantly ideas, drives economic expansion. The self-organizing economy vastly outperforms the command economy, as it relies of the diffuse talent and drive of millions, rather than the limited knowledge of a few well-meaning elites. And that’s before we account for the inevitable corruption of central planning.

The Pilgrims would have starved without trade. When I rail against government interference in markets, whether it’s through excessive regulation, protectionism or favoritism toward unions and incumbents firms, it’s not really because I object to the short-term costs of these bad policies. And it’s not because of the corporate conspiracy theories that obsess the modern left. It’s because I don’t want to sacrifice the invisible possibilities of free market progress.

Where we’ll be in 100, or 400 years, is as incomprehensible to me as it would be for Edward Winslow walking into Market Basket. I’m thankful to be living in his unimaginable future, and for what’s next.

If you’ll excuse me, I have to plant some rye seeds if I want to have any bread next spring. Happy Thanksgiving.

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