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Entries in Josiah Bartlett Center (163)

Sunday
Mar082015

Josiah Bartlett Center - Price Controls are Still Bad 

Sunshine week is coming up!
Be sure to check out our government transparency database to keep an eye on state spending.

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Weekly Update from the Josiah Bartlett Center

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

Price Controls are Still Bad

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.

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Saturday
Feb282015

Josiah Bartlett Center - Delayed Decisions are Difficult Decisions 

Google Your Government
 
Click on the Coin to check out our database of all state spending. We have 5.8 million transactions, all uploaded to our easily searchable platform. 

 


The decisions a politician makes this year will have an impact next year, particularly as it relates to the budget. Nonetheless, most politicians ignore short term consequences and pretend the future doesn’t exist. The logical outcomes of choices they make are often ignored and many decisions are delayed for a year or two as a way to avoid them.
 
In the state’s budget process, putting off decisions seems to haunt us every two years. In general, politicians are expected to balance current levels of spending with the revenues they raise in the same budget. But enough games and gimmicks are available that clever budget writers can cover up holes until they become much bigger two years later. They then feign surprise and look for a new gimmick.... Click here to keep reading.

 
Saturday
Feb072015

Josiah Bartlett Center - Gov's Budget, Trains, and School Choice 

Weekly Update from the
Josiah Bartlett Center

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

February is that exciting time of the year when the governor gives us a special valentine in the form of her budget address. Much better than candy or flowers, it is an outline of the two-year state budget – the policy document that guides every little thing the government does and defines an administration. With government currently divided, we should listen carefully to see if this critical address is meaningless theater or the first step toward something constructive happening despite political antagonism. Click here to keep reading.


This week, the Capitol Corridor Rail and Transit Study’s final report was released. The study, which began in 2013, examined a number of transit options for the corridor, with most of the public and political attention focused on the possibility of extending commuter rail into the state. The final study looked at 7 transit options, three for commuter rail, three for bus and a ‘no build’ option. These options were reduced to 5 with the elimination of two of the bus proposals from further consideration. This piece details the commuter rail options presented in the report. Click here to keep reading.


Last month we celebrated School Choice Week here at the Center, highlighting all of the great things that happen when parents are empowered to make get the best education possible for their children. 

A short documentary, Live Free and Learn, was produced by our friends at Cato, that details the School Choice Scholarship Tax Credit here in New Hampshire, and the impact it is having on education.

And
a podcast featuring our own Charlie Arlinghaus discussing education reform in New Hampshire. Click here to listen.

Tuesday
Jan272015

Josiah Bartlett Center - Lessons from Saturn and Pension Reform Rulings 

Weekly Update from the
Josiah Bartlett Center

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

Politicians often seem like they are from another planet but today I think a few people in Concord could learn a lot from Saturn. Politicians on both sides of the political spectrum are easily tempted to come up with pretend solutions that aren’t focused on the real problem but serve their own political purposes. The more complex a problem is, the greater the political temptation can be. 

It is no secret that the greatest challenge facing New Hampshire’s future is economic development. A once proud and thriving state now languishes in the doldrums of economic stagnation. Oddly, politicians familiar with the problem nonetheless can’t see how it might affect other issues they fret over
Click here to keep reading.
 


Last week the New Hampshire Supreme Court issued a ruling in the case of American Federation of Teachers –New Hampshire et al v State of New Hampshire, which upheld pension reforms made in 2007 and 2008.

This suit, brought in 2009 by most of the state’s public sector unions, was against two particular changes made to the system. The first dealt with changing the definition of ‘earnable compensation’, by removing ‘other compensation’. In effect, it meant that special duty pay, for example, could not be used in calculating the pension payout. The second dealt with the method of funding cost of living adjustments (COLAs), specifically the move of $250 million from the Special Account into the rest of the trust fund and the elimination of annual COLAs. Both were efforts to shore up the financial stability of the New Hampshire Retirement System (NHRS). Click here to keep reading

 

 
Saturday
Dec202014

Josiah Bartlett Center - Books for Christmas and Pension Rulings 

Weekly Update from the
Josiah Bartlett Center

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

You’re reading the wrong books. Actually, maybe you’re okay but your friends or your kids need some help. Have no fear, I break from policy today to offer you some Advent reading advice in the final eight days before Christmas.

To begin with, I will presume that too many people who actually stop at this page and read this column are at least a trifle obsessed with politics and that whole bizarre universe. Please stop. Give no books by an “author” who has a radio talk show or is an elected official. Instead read history and economics with a healthy dose of a fiction mixed in. Click here to keep reading


Last week the New Hampshire Supreme Court handed down a ruling in the case of Professional Firefighters of New Hampshire, et al v State of New Hampshire; representing the culmination of nearly three and a half years of legal proceedings that sought to answer the question: how far can the state go in reforming pensions?

The answer: pretty far. The Supreme Court unanimously ruled that increases can be made in employee contribution rates for all employees, regardless of how long they have been working. The increase in employee contribution rates were a key component of the package of pension reform measures that passed in 2011.
 
Click here to keep reading