Steven J Connolly

Wednesday
Dec052012

Snow What Snow.

I tried to go skiing at Bretton Woods on Sunday and it rained.

I actually sat there at the base lodge and watched some of the main slopes turning into shades of brown and even green.  This isn’t good.

In addition to the fact that the ski area made artificial snow at a cost of some 7K an hour plus big capital items: like property taxes, equipment payments and leases don’t stop because there are no skiers purchasing tickets in the rainy weather.

This is another example of how state government fails New Hampshire.

Do you think Cannon is concerned about the rain and the loss of man made snow on their slopes? Name a bureaucracy that actually is concerned with anything other than collecting revenue.

But it also goes beyond this.

Why can’t things like property taxes be abated at least until it snows to give private companies like Bretton Woods  a chance to generate some cash flow from its primary revenue source:  skiing.

Instead the Department of Revenue Administration just wants the tax money and the Legislature wants its beloved revenue projections; so that they can get some more UNH professors on tenure track.

Keep going to the well and eventually the well runs dry.

Perhaps this is the way DRED wants it.  A Cannon Monopoly.

Let it snow.

 

Tuesday
Dec042012

M/S Pork Boat 

When Gov. Elect Hassan announced her Business Outreach Team I tried to be open minded after all this is supposed to be a new administration and new day for New Hampshire.

Then I saw the list of names on this important team including: former Commissioner of DRED Sean O’Kane.  For those of you who might not be familiar here. Mr. O’Kane is also owner of the M.S. Mount Washington a big white ship that cruises around Lake Winnipesaukee.

At taxpayer expense too.

That’s right. The M.S. Mount Washington is a tourist attraction that received an EPA grant for $600,000.00 to replace two main engines with CAT 750 HP C32 power plants. The air will be cleaner because of this expenditure.

$600,000.00 Taxpayer Financed Cruise Boat.

How many people have lost their homes in New Hampshire and this state is passing out grant money for tourist boats.

During the recent primary I overheard Republican candidate for Executive Council Jerry Thibideau stating that Councilor Ray Burton was a supporter of spending $600,000.00 of taxpayers’ money on this boat.

If this is true than it doesn’t look like a partisan issue here. It’s a pork spending issue.

M/S Mount Washington is Pork Spending. Does this ever stop?Back to the Business Outreach Team.

To date I’ve not seen them or any of their information in northern New Hampshire. Perhaps they’re too busy in southern NH giving out some all important advice for the future. The way it looks from this vantage point is that there is a lot of Keynesian Economic planning going on.

I’m sure that they do know what is best for New Hampshire.

 

Monday
Dec032012

Knight Again Is Rising. 

NHGOP. An alternative emerges. This is quality for many reasons. Power is a corruption in itself.The reported candidacy of Andrew Hemingway to be NHGOP Chairman is very good.

I’ve stated it before and for no other reason than Journalism Jen isn’t qualified for the position. It’s also very healthy that the party isn’t just accepting a candidate because the influential members “think it’s a good idea.”

These good ideas often underpinned with financial interests are what have led this party to the losing position that it is now in.

Andrew Hemingway can turn this around.

This is a short blog and I won’t recount what already appears in the Union Leader but to say that this candidate clearly has the needed organizational, fundraising and political strategy experience to be successful in this position at a time when the battles facing the Republican Party in New Hampshire are all going to be uphill.

And I mean uphill.

Andrew Hemingway would also be an injection of what this party needs: vitality, imagination and some new direction. This party needs rebuilding; this party needs retooling and this party needs a leader that will bring a statewide focus into what is right about the Republican Party.

 

Monday
Dec032012

Don't Revel In This. 

I’m doing 180 degrees in my position on expanded casino gaming in New Hampshire. It’s not that I don’t support the idea but one factor enters into the whole discussion that ruins the whole idea every time.

Politics.

There are two main directions for this upcoming legislative session I hope that both of these fail:

The first as reported in the news media is Gov. Elect Hassan’s idea to build a high end casino at Salem on the site of the famed Rockingham Race Track. This is a UTUBE video showing a new high end casino in Atlantic City called Revel. Even in a gaming and market rich area like AC; this new casino, is surrounded by substantial risk of all sorts. New Hampshire is a start up in the gaming field and to date I’ve seen no evidence that the market even exists for such a high end casino in Salem. Beyond this the rest of New Hampshire is neglected by the favoritism of Salem over other regions of the state for gaming licenses.

The Gatsas plan is slightly better in that it allows multiple licenses in location(s) throughout the state however, state control is an issue. New Hampshire can’t run a ski area and a network of liquor stores well how is the state going to run multiple casinos? Never mind granting the licenses.

The answer is they will not. And it won't be fair either.

New Hampshire is already behind the curve in the idea of expanded casino gaming. Suffolk Downs in Boston is progressing as the casino in Oxford, Maine both facilities will and continue to mine revenue from New Hampshire. I’m confident Maine will pass another license I’d be willing to bet it’s in either the Portland area or south like Old Orchard Beach. The market area would include New Hampshire residents bringing gaming revenue over to Maine plus the toll revenue on the Maine Turnpike!

So where does this leave New Hampshire?

I think the only three regions that have a clear shot now are western, central and the northern parts of the state the rest of the areas will simply be in direct trajectory competition with other casinos in nearby states.

 

Saturday
Dec012012

Predictions. 

Gov. Elect Hassan. Not quite ready for the prime time. Some dangers in listening to advisors.

It was my intention to leave it alone. Basically this means: let the new administration and the candidates assume their positions in January and without any comments political, policy or blogging.

I don't think this blog will do this. These are some predictions that I've had for some time. And these are:

Gov. Elect Hassan isn't quite ready for the primetime leadership position in New Hampshire. And the danger here I sense is that those around her office will over advise and over consult and over committee the new governor in the issues of the day. It won't take long to see where this leads, an example would be the upcoming DRED Commissioner nominee. New Hampshire needs some new ideas, visions and leadership directions. The ideal candidate and experience set won't be from New Hampshire. The new administration will quickly show it's hand with this nominee.

Jennifer Horn as Republican Party leader will be tantamount to pouring arsnic in clam chowder. It can't be tasted and it will be ruthless and deadly. I see the party treading water over the next two years in fundraising, which isn't good. So where does this leave things for 2014?

Speaker Norelli softens her stance on expanded casino gaming. In the process she'll extract huge concessions and agreements from the adminstration in additon to the casino intrests themselves. The Speaker could well emerge as the most powerful political leader in the statehouse. But the legislation will still fail in the Senate at least the Salem and Gatsas plans will.  

The continued budget cuts and employee morale at both the state prison system and state hospital boils over in a big way. I don't see a riot and tear gas like Attica in New York but something happens here. A headline in the Union Leader about a corrections officer being severely beaten or killed. As Commissioner Wrenn is responsible here but I only give him 40% of the blame as he is constrained by what has been given to his agency by the legislature and the adminstration; so they bear the 60% responsibility for this looming powder keg. The situation at the state hospital is almost parallel to this but instead the in-patients are simply sent home.

I don't like John Stephen as a candidate for higher office but I think he was the only Health & Human Services Commissioner that actually recognized and identified these issues and what is going to happen.

And it will happen. Not if but when.