Rep Steve Vaillancourt



Tuesday
Dec062011

Why Nov. Revenues Aren't Really Off 30%

Aside from an exploding brouhaha over Medicaid enhancement payments which cost the state $50.3 million in revenue in November (and a hit in the always nebulous “other” category), revenues for the month were pretty much on schedule.

That may be a tough line to sell if you just look at the numbers.  November is traditionally a low revenue month, so the 50 percent shortage in Medicaid monies makes the bottom line look especially bad, $133.4 million for the month or 29.8 percent short of the expected $190.1 million.

However, three revenue sources which will ultimately carry the day—business taxes, real estate transfer taxes, and rooms and meals taxes—all came in ahead of plan for the month, so now is clearly not the time to push the panic button, even as the bottom line will read $45.8 million short (6.8%) for the first five months of the year.

Business taxes were $2.2 million (or 31.4 % of the paltry plan) for the month leaving us $13.3 million over for the year.

Rooms and meals revenues were slightly ahead of the $20.5 million planned and are now $2.5 million (2.2%) ahead of plan for the year.

Real estate transfer taxes came in at $7.0 million, 7.7 percent on the expected $6.5 million and are now $3 million ahead for the five months.

Those are three very good signs indeed whether or not the $50.3 million in Medicaid monies eventually show up.

Sin taxes continue to underperform.  Cigarette taxes were off $3.5 million for the month, liquor off $0.4 million, and lottery transfers off $2.9 million.  They are off $7 million, $2.3 million, and $2.4 million respectively for the year.

Interest and dividends revenue represents another problem area, generating negative $1.6 million due to refunds.  This category is off $4 million for the year.

The $2.9 million shortfall in the “other” category is mostly a timing issue and is expected to be made up.

 The best that can be said is that the state indeed seems to be fortunate that Republicans, now in control of the estimates, didn’t go higher as some had urged them to do so that more money could be budgeted.  Had Democrats been in control last spring, rest assured that rather than be off $45.8 million for the year with this unpleasant Medicaid surprise, we’d probably be short three or four times that much and facing a major crisis.

One of the numbers crunchers told me to expect to see $10 million of the $50 million shortfall on the Medicaid side recouped in coming weeks, but there is no guarantee. 

A full investigation is needed, but the problem should not blind us from the fact that other revenues are performing pretty much according to plan.

For that I say congratulations to House Ways and Means Chair Steve Stephanek and Senate Chair Bob O’Dell.

Tuesday
Dec062011

Vaillancarnak Channels Jerry Springer

WARNING!  WARNING!  WARNING! 

If humor isn't your cup of tea, you must avoid this entry at all cost.  Turn back to the usual pablum (or as spell check insists, the usual "pabulum")...warning, warning, warning.  This is a humor piece.

Ah, at last.  I see my hunchbacked assistant Igor, sporting his tres chic Joseph W. McQuaid mask (how, frightening!), is entering with a Mayonnaise jar containing envelopes which been sequestered on Funk and Wagnall's front porch since noon Friday.

In my infinite wisdom--bordering on supernatural--I shall now attempt to divine answers to questions having never before seen the questions.

Don't be shy Igor, the envelopes please.  Stop playing with that mask, Igor  You look stupid enough as it is.

Envelope number one.

Having never before seen the question, Vaillancarnak divines the answer to be--

"Jerry Springer and a vaudeville troupe of cross dressing midget vegan wrestlers".

It hardly seems possible, so let me see that envelope again.

The answer is--

Yes, it's true.  "Jerry Springer and a vaudeville troupe of cross dressing  midget vegan wrestlers".

The question is--oh yes--now I understand.

"After agreeing to Donald Trump as host, who is the Eft (aka Newt Gringrich) proposing to moderate the next Republican candidates' dabate?"

Oh my, I fear we've managed to alienate our loyal contingent of midget vegan readers, not to mention our large body of drag queens (such an ugly phrase "drag queen"...let's use transvestite from here on out). 

The next envelope, Igor.

Having never before seen the question, Vaillancarnak divines the answer to be--

"One immmoral serial wife cheater endorses another immoral serial wife cheater."

Don't get ahead of me now.  The question of course is--

"What will the headline be when Herman (We Hardly Knew Ye) Cain finally decides to endorse the Eft?"

Next envelope please, Igor.  Wasn't that hump on the other side when you arrived?

The next answer is--

"Nobody knows it."

The question of course is, "Who's the biggest serial wife cheater, Herman or the Eft?"

You've got to do better than this Igor or I'll strip that mask off your bony skull.

"Oh Lovey, Lovey, he's criticizing me again.  Make him stop, Lovey."

No, that's not the next answer.  That's McQuaid whining in the background.  "Lovey, lovey, make him stop."

Having never before seen the quetion, Vaillancarnak divines the answer to be--

"One phony conservative endorsing another phony conservative."

Before you get ahead of me again, the question of course is--

"What should the headline have been when McQuaid endorsed the Eft?"

Igor, I will not tell you again.  Stop playing with that mask and hand me the final envelope.  This skit isn't going as well as planned, Igor.

Having never before seen the question, Vaillancarnak divines the answer to be--

"He wants to spend more time in Dennis."

Really Igor, you've gone too far.  You've mixed up the envelopes.  That was last week's material.  No, I don't care about why Barney Frank is moving to the cape.  Really, Igor.

Get out of here.  This is a serious blog.  And stop playing with that mask.  It's bad enough watching your hump move from side to side.

Thursday
Dec012011

On Turning Sweet Six-TEE

No matter what you think of his position on certain issues (and we certainly disagree on the subject of gay marriage), Windham Republican Rep David Bates is one of the nicest people and most considerate people one could even hope to meet.

At the conclusion of today's redistricting meeting dealing with executive councilors, Rep Bates totaly surprised me by producing a birthday cake and card.

Tis true.  I'm 60 today.  I recall many stormy birthdays but the weather was mild ten years ago when I turned 50 just as it's mild today.

To say I never expected a cake would be an understatement although, come to think of it, Rep Bates has sent cards in past years.

He most certainly will be placed on the Christmas fudge list--batch number one went mostly to Vermont so another batch is in the offing this weekend.

Last year on my birthday for the TV show, the noted the two people who've had the greatest influence on my life, the late great talk show host Jerry Williams (WBZ and WRKO radio) and talk host Gene Burns who used to do the mid-day show on WRKO and is in San Francisco today.

This year, I'm celebrating with a 40 minute film my brother helped me produce in Vermont (in areas I grew up in) on Thanksviging Day.  The morons who follow me at the 10 o'clock hour on Channel 23 last night had nothing but bad things to say about me or the show, but apparently they watched the entire thing!

It's always great when people who claim to hate you hang on every word you say.

Thanks David; thanks Bro.  Vermont wasn't such a great place to grow up in; it's a nice place to visit (for a few hours), but I'd never want to move back there.  Now, Montreal, that might be a place to move to (I lived in Berlin, Germany for 15 months)...whoops...with talk like that, rumors will spread that I'm not running for re-election.  

 

Thursday
Dec012011

The Week In Polls--Dec. 1--Birth Of An Eft

            In honor of my late great Aunt Lee who taught me much about the value of “little” words in playing Scrabble, I will no longer refer to the Newtster or candidate Gingrich.  Henceforth, as a space saving device and in recognition of my total disdain for this fraud of a candidate, the three letters Eft (a small newt, a great Scrabble word albeit one which spell check refuses to accept) will always be used.  Although I despise the Eft, I will most assuredly report his poll numbers accurately (no matter how unreal they seem to me).

A red-spotted newt (eft stage) showing bright aposematic colouration.

             As Barack Obama continues to slip back toward a double digit deficit in popularity and as he’s even fallen behind the Eft in a head to head match-up from Rasmussen today (45-43), perhaps the best polling news for Democrats today is word from Zogby that Ron Paul, were he to run as a third party candidate (presumably Libertarian) could capture as much as 16 percent of the vote (presumably most of which would otherwise go to the Republican in the race).

            That might be the only way Barack Obama can get re-elected.

            16 percent say they would be very or somewhat likely to vote for Ron Paul as opposed to only nine percent for New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and seven percent for left wing gadfly Ralph Nader, the many who most certainly cost Al Gore the presidency in 2000.

            Paul gets 15 percent from Republicans, eight percent from Democrats and a whopping 28 percent from Independents.  Even if those numbers were to decline substantially (as they most assuredly would), it seems clear that a Ron Paul third party candidacy could prove to be Obama’s salvation.

            I personally am good evidence of that.  Were the Republicans to nominate the Eft or Santorum, I would gladly vote for Ron Paul or any other Libertarian candidate (I could vote for Romney or Huntsman and probably even Perry, but that’s not a likely option).  That’s how much disdain I hold for both the Eft and the former Pennsylvania senator.

            Ron Paul has neither ruled in nor out a third party run at this time.

            Zogby finds five percent of Republicans, nine percent of Democrats, and 12 percent of Independents likely to vote for Bloomberg.  The numbers are 3, 8, and 12 respectively for Nader.

            The Real Clear Politics average has Obama down to minus 8.2 today (43.2-51.4).  It seems the Qaddaffi death bounce, like the bin Laden death bounce, was indeed short-lived.

            Rasmussen, which actually had Obama one point in positive territory briefly last week, has him back down to negative 13 (43-56).

            Rasmussen, which also had Democrats edging to within one point on the generic Congressional ballot, has it back down to plus five for Republicans (38-43), and Rasmussen has a generic Republican beating Obama by six (48-42).  It would be interesting to see what numbers they come up with should Ron Paul be added in as a third party candidate.

            The very latest polls show the Eft pulling way ahead of Romney in certain individual states, especially Florida but also Iowa, South Carolina and even Montana.

            Since Florida is such a delegate-rich state, three polls must have Romney worried today.  The Eft leads Romney 50-19 in an ARG Florida poll with Cain at 10 percent and nobody else with more than three percent.  Insider Advantage has the Eft ahead of Romney 41-17 in Florida with Cain at 13, Perry 7, Paul 4, and Bachmann 3.  The Democratic mouthpiece PPP has Gingrich ahead of Romney 47-17 in Florida with Cain at 15 and Paul at 5.

            Thus, it’s not just one or two polls which show the Eft surging in the Sunshine State, but three.

            The Eft leads Romney by eight (31-23) in Georgia with Cain at 9 percent.  The Eft leads Romney by 23 points (38-15 with Cain at 13) in South Carolina.  Insider Advantage has the Eft up by 15 over Romney in Iowa (28-12 but Ron Paul is actually in second with 13 in that poll). 

            For some reason, PPP is polling in Montana and finds the Eft ahead with 37 percent to 12 for Ron Paul, 11 for Romney, and 10 for Cain and Bachmann.

            Thus, Romney has fallen to third place in at least a couple states.

            Good news for Mitt is that he leads the Eft 26-23 with Cain at 9 and Paul at 5 according to a Field poll in the most delegate-rich state of all, California.

            Yes, we’re at the point where national numbers begin to matter less and less, and individual state numbers are of paramount importance.

            Rasmussen has the Eft within 10 of Romney (34-24 with Ron Paul at 14 and Huntsman at 11) in New Hampshire, but I continue to expect Romney will win by more than a two to one margin when we go to the polls here January 10.

            Of course, the ideal situation would be for the Eft to fade, for Ron Paul to use that organizational effort to win Iowa and then make inroads in Romney’s lead here.

            As always, truth in blogging—I’m probably the biggest Ron Paul supporter you’re likely to encounter.  I hope to have a copy of the new Paul commercial attacking Gingrich for my TV show next week (More Politically Alert, Wednesday and Thursday at 9 p.m., Sunday at noon, Tuesday at 11 p.m. on Manhchestertv23 and always available at vimeo.com/channels/mpa).

            The most alarming news for Romney is that until today, he did better against Obama than any other Republican both nationwide and in individual states.  For example, Romney led Obama by seven (49-42) in Arizona while the Eft merely tied.  WMUR had Romney beating Obama by three (47-44) here in New Hampshire while the Eft loses by no less than 12 points (52-40).

            That’s why the Rasmussen number showing the Eft beating the Anointed One 45-43 nationwide has to be a concern for Romney.

            At least one U.S. Senate polls this week tends to confirm my view that Republicans will take control of that body next November.  Democrat incumbent Ben Nelson trails Bruning 45-39 in Nebraska.  While Democrat Casey leads by double digits in Pennsylvania, that was to be expected.  Were Casey to lose, Republicans would be up to 60 Senate seats by my rankings.  That’s not going to happen (unless you live in the make believe world of Dick Morris!).

Thursday
Dec012011

McQuaidian Hypocrisy Flares Again

            Once again Thursday, in the wake of the New Hampshire House failing to override Governor John Lynch’s veto, the Union Leader weighed in in support of right to work legislation.

            However, this is the same newspaper (and presumably the same editorial writer, either Drew Cline or his boss Joe W. McQuaid) which just a few weeks ago endorsed two prominent Manchester Republican defectors on the right to work issue.

            For School Board, the Union Leader endorsed West Side Rep Carlos Gonzalez (yes, the same Carlos Gonzalez who failed to hit the 30 percent mark when he ran for mayor against Bob Baines in 2003)who was absent for yesterday’s vote but who had not merely voted against right to work but had spoken against it earlier this year.  For School Board at Large, the Union Leader had endorsed Ward 7 Rep Ross Terrio who despite rumors that he would change his position and vote for the override yesterday did nothing of the sort.

            These two Manchester Reps are in the severe minority of Manchester Republicans who opposed right to work, yet there was the Union Leader endorsing them.

            Of course, a local school election is different from an issue such as right to work, but this latest instance of McQuaidian hypocrisy should not come as a surprise.  Clearly, the Union Leader publisher is either too lazy to find out the positions of those he chooses to endorse…or more likely, he simply doesn’t care.

            After all, how could McQuaid know such things?  He alone among the state’s media blocks this blog which has a history of reporting on how Manchester Reps vote, especially when they abandon the party line on such major issues.

            I can just hear McQuaid the Hack, endorser of the non-conservative hack for President, wailing now, “Oh lovey, he’s calling me a hypocrite.  Oh lovey, make him stop." 

            "And lovey, please don't confuse me with any more facts.  I can't handle the facts."