Rep Steve Vaillancourt



Friday
Mar302012

The Week In Polls--March 30--It's All Over!

            Now that most southern states have voted, expect pollsters to get it right on Republican presidential primaries.

            That’s good news indeed for Mitt Romney who has moved to an average ten point lead in Wisconsin and even more than that in Maryland and D.C. for next week.  In fact, as I’ve been saying for months, Romney has the nomination all wrapped up.  Polls in New York, California and other delegate-rich states affirm that.  Santorum is only two points ahead in his native Pennsylvania (he now lives inside the beltway) in the latest Franklin and Marshal poll (30-28 with Paul at 9 and the Eft—make that the Zombie—at 6).

            Rasmussen has Romney up ten in Wisconsin (44-34).  NBC News/Marist has it down to seven (40-33), but fivethirtyeight lists the margin at 45.4-36.0.

            Rasmussen has Romney up 17 in Maryland (45-28 with Eft at 12 and Dr. Paul 7).  Santorum isn’t even on the ballot in D.C.

            PPP has a 30-30 tie in North Carolina which one would think Santorum should win since he captured most of the South.  Santorum is also up 14 points in Nebraska (39-25), but there aren’t many delegates there.

            An LA Times poll has Romney up 19 points (42-23) in California.  Quinnipiac has him up 23 points (42-19) in Connecticut.   SurveyUSA has him up seven points (38-31) in Oregon, and while there’s no recent data out of New York, he was up more than 20 there last time I checked and likely to win almost all the state’s delegates.

            Meanwhile, Romney and Santorum will most likely split the delegates in Texas.  Give Santorum the edge in Arkansas, Kentucky, and West Virginia, but Romney will have this wrapped up long before he takes all of Utah’s 40 delegates in June.

            The picture of how he’ll do against Obama is less clear.  Rasmussen has Obama up one point today (46-45).  Obama’s favorability hovers around even.  Rasmussen has him down four points today (48-52) and Gallup down three (44-47).  Overall, Obama is up less than a point in the Real Clear Politics average, 47.7-47.0.

            Republicans are moving to clear leads in the Congressional generic ballot, and it’s not just Rasmussen which has the GOP up five (43-38).  McClatchy/Marist has Republicans up four (46-43), and Bloomberg up two (46-44). 

            Bad news for Republicans in New Hampshire comes from American Research Group which has Obama beating Romney by seven points here (48-41) and Santorum by 11 (48-37).  It was the other way around a few months ago.  ARG also has Obama up 48-46 in approval here, a total turnaround from two months ago.  His handling of the econony is still viewed unfavorabley 44-50 in NH, but not nearly as bad as earlier.  We await numbers from UNH, but should current data hold, I’ll have to update my predictions on Republicans holding the New Hampshire House and Senate and maybe even governorship.  As always, top of the ticket matters!

            U.S. Senate polling is all over the map.  Quinnipiac has incumbent Democrat Sherrod Brown up ten (46-36) in Ohio, but Rasmussen has Brown tied with Republican Mandel at 43-43, a state Democrats were not expected to lose.  Rasmussen has Republican Tommy Thompson four points up in Wisconsin (48-44) at the same time Obama leads Romney by double digits in that state.  Quinnipiac has incumbent Democrat Nelson up eight in Florida over Connie Mack (44-36), but Rasmussen has it even.  Go figure.

There’s a most interesting development in Connecticut where Joe Lieberman is stepping down.  Democrat Murphy leads Republican wrestling maven Linda McMahon by 15 (52-27), but leads former Republican Congressman Shays by only one point (41-40).  The problem for Republicans is that McMahon will most likely win the primary (she leads Shays by ten).  Too bad!  Shays is a good man.

            Godless New Hampshire—Gallup is out with a poll showing New Hampshire tied with Vermont for the least religious state in the country.  Only 23 percent here say they’re very religious.  Mississippi leads with 59 percent and other than Utah (57 percent), all the religious states are in the South—Alabama 56, Louisiana and Arkansas 54, Tennessee 52, North Carolina 50, Georgia 48.  No wonder Santorum did so well there.

            Not surprisingly, the least religious are in the Northeast or Northwest.  After New Hampshire and Vermont come Maine 25, Massachusetts 28, Connecticut 31, New York and Rhode Island 32.  Alaska is at 28, Oregon, Washington, and Nevada (most be those transplanted gambling sinners) at 30.

            All indications this week point to the Supreme Court striking down at least parts of Obamacare.  Rasmussen finds Americans want it struck down by a 50-37 percent margin, but believe it will be struck down b a 54-26 percent margin.  The liberal Huffington Post has opposition on average running five points ahead of support. 

Friday
Mar302012

Redistricting Update--Congress, Council, and Seven Manchester Weasels

            Expect Senate changes to House plans for both Congressional districts and executive council districts to hold the day.

            Republicans, clearly ashamed of the executive council dragon-like plan they put together and rammed through their lemming-like House, will vote to accept an amended plan which makes District 3 very Democratic but in a less flagrant manner than the House silliness.

            This blog has learned that a majority of executive councilors (all Republicans) will sign on to the Senate plan and House leadership will concur as a face saving devise (pity poor Paul Mirski who went out on a limb for a plan he knew was wrong only to have limb sawed off in the Senate).

            Similarly, embarrassed Republican leaders in the House will sign on to a Congressional plan which both Charlie Bass and Frank Guinta have now agreed to.

              Rather than simply moving Waterville Valley (and absurdly the three people in Sergeants location) as the House plan did, the Senate plan (SB202 which will be heard Tuesday at 11 a.m. by the House Redistricting panel…am I still on that committee?) will move a total of six towns.

            Sanbornton, Tilton, and Campton will go from district one to two.  Deerfield, Northwood, and Center Harbor will go from two to one. 

            The Sanbornton and Tilton move makes sense.  It was actually part of my plan which Republicans in the House ignored.  It’ll mean that all of Belknap County goes to district one, but whoops!  The plan then calls for moving Center Harbor (also Belknap County) out of the district.

            That plus the Campton move will create a rather strange shape, but if Guinta and Bass agree to it, you can be sure House Republicans will throw their previous ideas away and fall in line like sheep are supposed to fall in line.

Weasel

            Like Will Infantine and the six other Manchester Republican snakes in the grass fell in line on the House redistricting veto override Wednesday. 

            What do you think?

            Is weasel a better word than snake in the grass for the likes of Infantine who led the slimy seven Wednesday?

            Now Infantine has the chutzpah to think he’s atoned for his treachery by resigning as Chair of the Manchester delegation.

            Can anyone guess what the ONE THING INFANTINE DID IN TWO YEARS AS CHAIR OF THE DELEGATION?

            Yes the answer would be that he stood up in front of every Manchester Rep (and Mayor Ted Gatsas) and pledged to lead the effort to keep the delegation united to help sustain the Governor’s veto…and then stabbed his own city in the back.

            Judas is probably a more apt description than weasel or snake for Infantine leading the slimy seven.  After all, we wouldn’t want to give weasels or snakes a bad name.

            As for the House plan, I wash my hands of it.  The Concord Monitor reports that a law suit is likely.  I would be willing to sign on board as would my seatmate, Republican Rep J.R. Hoell.  Give me a call, Paul Twomey or whoever plans to sue.

            The outrage is total.

            Republicans in Manchester, thanks to Infantine leading the Slimy Seven, may well be extinct.  Yes, it’s possible that there will be ZERO Manchester Republican Reps next year…thanks to Infantine’s treachery.

            Four years ago, Democrats took all but six Manchester seats.  Saggy Tahir and Sandy Reeves, two of six, are gone.  Connie Soucy says she’s not running again.  Two of the other three, Irene Messier and I, probably won’t run.  Even if we do, we’re two Republicans who won’t do what the party tells us…Irene votes with Democrats more than just about any other Republicans, and y’all know I vote Libertarian.

            By the way, while I’d never give away a ladies’ age, Irene and my brother share the same birthday, May 9.  My brother will be 51 this May, and he’s 38 years younger than Irene.

            Irene and I are probably the only two Manchester Republicans who could get re-elected in the climate Infantine and the Slimy Seven have created.  And don’t expect either or us to run.     

            I’m sick of the slime.

            Oh yes, the other one of the six was Infantine himself, and I doubt Ward 6 will reward slime.

            Wouldn’t it be something if the only Manchester Republican Rep were from Litchfield?

            It could happen.

            You just can’t make this stuff up.

Ah lest we forget the six other weasels--they are:

Mike Ball, who stood up in front of the delegation and avowed that even though he is Republican City Chair, he would vote to sustain the veto;

Leo Pepino, who three times in the past month asked me when he was supposed to do as the Mayor and delegation had agreed to, then when it came time to keep his promise, weaseled out;

Cathy Cusson-Cail and Ross Terrio, sure losers this November in Ward 7 (bring back Bob Haley and Carol Williams--they may be liberals, but at least they're not weasels);

Carlos Gonzalez--poor, poor confused Carlos;

and the aformentioned Connie Soucy--I was convinced she'd back out on her word, but there's no excuse for Infantine, Ball and the others.

Anyone wanna guess how many times the Slimy Seven will be mentioned during next week's Liberty Express?   

Friday
Mar302012

Speaker O'Brien Lied To The N.H. House

Speaker Bill O'Brien owes the New Hampshire House and me personally an apology.

Never has there been such clear proof that a Speaker out and out lied before the New Hampshire House.

The very same week that the Speaker decided to shred the New Hampshire Constitution (Article 44) by bringing up a veto override vote prior to the veto message being printed in the House calendar, the Speaker made a liar out of himself regarding the matter of printing the debate on redistricting in the House calendar.

I almost always vote against printing debates in the Journal.  In this age of streaming audio and availability on the Internet, printing debates is a waste of time and money (both for stenographers to transcribe remarks and for extra pages and binding in permanent journals).

Thus, I always insist on a division vote when motions to print remarks are made.  That way, the Speaker cannot rule a voice vote as he chooses.  In fact, a few weeks ago, a Motion was made by Deputy Majority Leader Shawn Jasper to print ONLY THE REMARKS OF Majority Leader D.J. Bettencourt'on a topic in the journal (TOTALLY UNFAIR...IF YOU PRINT ONE PERSON'S REMARKS, IT'S ONLY FAIR TO PRINT THE ENTIRE DEBATE ON A GIVEN SUBJECT).  I insisted on a division vote, and the motion failed, as I had hoped it would.  Thus, Republicans had repudiated the vanity of their deputy and assistant deputy leader when votes were recorded rather than voiced.

 This week, a motion to print remarks on the gay marriage bill (HB437) failed by a close margin ON A DIVISION VOTE.

When Bettencourt moved to print the entire remarks of the redistricting override in the Journal this week, I immediately asked for a division vote (any single member may ask for a division).

Here's what the tape of the session proves.

Rep Vaillancourt stated, "My Speaker, I understood that a division had been requested and accepted prior to people filing their protests.  How could we go back on the division acceptance after the protest?"

Speaker O'Brien, who had ignored his own acceptance of a division and gone to a voice vote, lied, "The Chair will state the chair heard no division vote which is, after all, the criteria as to whether there will be a division vote."

OH REALLY?

Here's the truth, as will be reported to Democrats this week (and kept from Republicans unless they read it here).

Speaker O'Brien had earlier stated, "The question before the House is shall the debate surrounding the governor's veto be placed in the permanent journal.  IT WILL BE A DIVISION VOTE."

In other words, the Speaker had in fact heard my request for a division vote, and he had stated that it would in fact be a division vote.

YOU JUST CAN'T MAKE THIS STUFF UP.

Everyone in the room heard me ask for a division vote (I'm not known for a soft voice!).  As Representative Soltani noted, "Mr. Speaker, I heard it; and the birch trees outside of the Ronal Reagan plaza in Epsom heard it.  During the debate, a request for a division was made.  What has become of us?  What has become of our Republican party that we deprive a member a request for a division?"

 The evident is overwhelming.  Not only did the Speaker lie to the House about his hearing, but when I challenged the ruling of the Chair, Jasper (once again living up to his nickname HIS VILENESS) accused me of a "temper tantrum".

Getting to the truth a temper tantrum?  Only a truly vile person would so state!

YOU JUST CAN'T MAKE THIS STUFF UP! 

I won't hold my breath waiting for an apology from either O'Brien or Jasper.  In fact, it's not me they need to apologize to, but to the entire institution.

So what happened?

Between the time I asked for a division AND THE SPEAKER ACKNOWLEDGED THE HE HEARD IT, Democrats filed protests over the unannounced vote on redistricting.  Seven minutes elapsed, but those minutes certainly did not negate my ACKNOWLEDGED REQUEST FOR A DIVISION.

Rather than admit he made a mistake, the Speaker lied about his hearing. 

This whole episode helps define the meaning of tyranny...just as breaking the Constitution defines tyranny and denying Democrats a right to caucus (which O'Brien did Wedneady) defines tyranny.

 We have an out and out tyrant in the Speaker's chair, wielding the gavel of a once proud institution.

 Tyranny is abusing power because you have the votes to do it, and know you can get away with the abuse.

 The fact that only a few Republicans (who had all heard me ask for a division) were willing to stand on principles when I challenged the chair...such unprincipled lemming like action is what allows tyranny to exist.  When (supposed) good people refuse to stand up to a tyrant, then and only then can tyranny exist in New Hampshire or the United States.

 We have a liar and a tyrant in the Speaker's chair only because Republicans (who know better) allow it. 

 We now have the proof!

Friday
Mar302012

March Revenues Nearly On $596 Million Plan

            With only Saturday and end of month accounting remaining, it looks like state revenues for March will come in only slightly less than the $595.8 million planned.

            Currently, revenues are at $591.2 million or $4.6 million shy of plan.  However, it’s likely that three or four million (including up to $2.4 million in the “other” category which usually is accounted for in end of month squaring of accounts) will come in before final totals for the month are released.

            Percentages are misleading for the month since the entire $363.1 million of the statewide property tax comes in this month, and nearly all the insurance revenues ($73.2 million) come due in March.  Currently insurance revenues are off $1.9 million, but they may well come in as planned.

            Business taxes, pegged at $81.0 million for the month, are currently off $4.1 million (4.9 percent), but $5.1 million actually came in today, and more is expected prior to closing out books for the month.

            The real estate transfer tax hit its $4.3 million target spot on.

            Rooms and meals (even after the monthly $1.2 million transfer) is $1.1 million (6.9 percent) ahead of the $15.9 million plan.

            March was a banner month for lottery receipts, up 2.6 million (40 percent) over the $5.7 million plan.  With lottery tickets currently flying off the shelves all over the state, an even bigger boost will be expected when April numbers come in (lottery receipts run a month behind schedule in reporting).

            Liquor will come in nearly right on the $8.6 million plan.

            So with all the good news, why are we looking for a slight deficit for the month rather than a slight increase?
            Two words.

            Tobacco taxes.  With only a drib or a drab still to come in, tobacco monies are

$5.1 million (or 27 percent!) shy of the $18.9 million plan.  House Speaker Bill O’Brien will have to bear most of the blame for that.  He’s the one who demanded that the tobacco tax be lowered last year, insisting that revenues would remain stable due to increased cross border sales.  In fact, O’Brien held up the entire budget during committee of conference proceedings until the Senate agreed to cave on the tobacco tax cut.

            The Speaker was clearly wrong, and that rotting albatross will clearly be hung around his and his party’s neck come November.

            You just can’t make this stuff up!

            With only April (the biggest month for business taxes and interest and dividends taxes), May, and June still to come, it looks like the state will be very close (maybe $10 million ahead) of Ways and Means Committee projections.

            That’s assuming that Medicaid monies (which missed target earlier) will come in prior to July 1.

            Business taxes are tracking slightly ahead of plan as are rooms and meals and real estate transfer taxes while tobacco, lottery (until this month), and interest and dividends taxes have been the only drags.

            Thumbs up to Ways and Means estimators; thumbs down to Speaker O’Brien.

Tuesday
Mar272012

Don't Expect Redistricting Override Vote This Week

With the caveat that one should "never say never", it seems fairly safe to say that the New Hampshire House will NOT take up Governor John Lynch's veto on a redistricting plan this week.  Even should Speaker Bill O'Brien wish to take the matter up (and inside sources reveal that GOP leadership has been lobbying/whipping its members hard), there's a Constitutional provision that would most likely prevent any such action.

The Constitution requires that a governor's veto message be printed prior to a vote being taken, and since the most recent House Calendar does not include such a message (and time restraints would seem to prevent such a printing), one could assume there will be no vote this week.

Meanwhile, nhinsider.com has learned that Congressman Frank Guinta has declined the request by House GOP leadership to intercede with Manchester Representatives.  We have verified (through two additional sources) the report here last Friday that Speaker O'Brien and his Chief of Staff, the high paid Greg Moore, had made overtures to Guinta, as far back as weeks ago we're told, but that Guinta has declined the request.

Keep in mind that most of the 21 Republicans in the Manchester delegation have pledged to vote to sustain the veto  That means that, depending on attendance when the veto is taken up, as few as five to ten other Republicans would be enough to sustain a veto if in fact all Democrats vote to sustain.

As always, the question revolves around who will be in attendance on a given day.

Word from last Friday was that former Republican gubernatorial and Congressional candidate John Stephen, of Manchester, had also been approached by House leadership to try and twist a few Manchester arms.   As of late Wednesday, I had not heard of any calls from Stephen to Manchester Reps, and I have heard that no calls will be forthcoming from Guinta.

Any such calls would put the former Manchester Mayor at odds with current Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas and the Board of Aldermen who voted unanimously to ask the delegation not to support the redistricting plan; in other words, to vote to sustain the veto.

For those who come into this story like in the middle of a soap opera, it's really quite simply.  Manchester deserves 33 Reps of its own, but the House-approved plan would take two Manchester wards and "float" them with Litchfield, thus potentially denying the city of two representatives.

The plan also denies Pelham of any Reps of its own when the Constitutional provision, pushed by Republicans back in 2007, mandates that Pelham receive four of its own Reps.

Yes, that would be the same Republican Reps who are now in leadership who were pushing for the amendment back in 2007.

Truly, you just can't make this stuff up.

The vote on sustaining the Lynch veto is expected to be close.  A plan which would have obviated the need for a veto actually passed the House, but a furious O'Brien, following faulty advice from his high paid legal team, went berserk, demanded a GOP caucus, and convinced enough Republicans to switch their votes and opt for the unconstitutional plan.

Yes, I realize that last paragraph is highly opinionated (hey this is a blog, not a main stream media story), but it also happens to be true.

Governor Lynch has noted many of the reasons noted here in his yet-to-be-printed veto message.

Along with the Manchester/Litchfield (Pelham,/Hudson) problem, there's a huge problem in Concord, and the Republican Senator from Meredith voted against the plan because of a problem in that town.

In fact, even should the House override the veto, four Republican senators voted against the plan, and that would be enough to sustain the veto in the Senate.  I'm not naming names, but one of them approached me today asking what he could do to fix the problem.

The only fix involved sustaining the veto, a move which would compel stubborn House leaders to go back and "do the right thing", that is to say, fix the unconstitutional problems.

The House has one other option sitting on the table, a plan to force the Secretary of State to order redistricting without a bill going to the governor.  While that plan could certainly get past the Republican-controlled House, word is out that almost all senators from both parties would not by into such a scheme, and approval by the Senate would be required.

O’Brien and his go-along-to-get-along leadership team were so concerned about the veto being sustained that a few weeks ago they coerced all Chairmen and Vice Chairmen into signing a less than diplomatic letter to all Republican members, basically setting the Manchester delegation up as bad guys when in fact the Speaker, his legal aid/lobbyist/gendarme Ed Mosca, and other recalcitrant leaders are in fact the ones wearing black hats on this one (Snidely Whiplash perhaps)!

 Stand by till next week to see if Little Nell manages to extricate herself from the railroad tracks as the redistricting train roars toward her.