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Legislative Action Alert Week of June 6, 2011

Legislative Action Alert Week of June 6, 2011

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Published by Doug Grant
Jackie's Latest -- she says
"Good Evening:

Attached is the weekly Legislative Action Alert. Reflective of the legislature winding down, this one is considerably shorter than previous ones.

Over the next few weeks I will do my best to keep you updated as to the final disposition of bills that we have followed together over these many months. Also, as we move through the summer months I've been thinking of reducing the number of Alerts to a couple per month and delving more deeply into the background infomation on more complex topics such as the NH Retirement System.

I would like to hear from you in that regard as to what, if anything, you might like to see covered in the off-session months. Of course, there's always the option of simply taking the summer off, but then I'd have all that time to get myself into mischief and where would you find such entertaining reading:-)
Jackie's Latest -- she says
"Good Evening:

Attached is the weekly Legislative Action Alert. Reflective of the legislature winding down, this one is considerably shorter than previous ones.

Over the next few weeks I will do my best to keep you updated as to the final disposition of bills that we have followed together over these many months. Also, as we move through the summer months I've been thinking of reducing the number of Alerts to a couple per month and delving more deeply into the background infomation on more complex topics such as the NH Retirement System.

I would like to hear from you in that regard as to what, if anything, you might like to see covered in the off-session months. Of course, there's always the option of simply taking the summer off, but then I'd have all that time to get myself into mischief and where would you find such entertaining reading:-)

More info:

Published by: Doug Grant on Jun 10, 2011
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06/10/2011

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Legislative Action AlertWeek of June 6, 2011 Jackie Cilley jcilley@aol.comWhen Middle Ground Doesn’t Exist
Late last week an area newspaper carried an editorial titled “The Right Placeis in the Middle.”
The point was this right-leaning paperwas in agreement with the left-leaning Boston Globe that there should becompromise, a meeting in the middle (more to the right of the middleaccording to the editorial) over the national budget – the perfect spot wassomewhere between Rep. Paul Ryan’s plan and that supported by theObama administration. The editorial echoed other recent articles and letters to the editor suggestingthe public wants negotiation and compromise, it wants “civility in discourse”and it wants to see those who represent us working together. Ideas of finding the middle ground have been on my mind a great deal lately.As a former elected official I believed compromise could be a path to betteroutcomes. While I may have fallen short of always meeting others halfway, Inonetheless fully embraced the notion that negotiation and compromisewere admirable approaches to governance. I believed what I believed mostfolks believe. And, I believe that most folks do, indeed, believe that. The current chasm in policy arguments is causing me to rethink this. I findmyself repeatedly coming back to one central question: Is it possible to findmiddle ground between a myth or lie and fact? Is it possible, for example, tofind a consensus view of our nation’s history between Sarah Palin’s distortionof Paul Revere’s ride and the historical account that even Revere himself conveyed to the ages? Is it possible to find negotiated solutions to climatechange between those who don’t believe it is occurring at all and theoverwhelming majority of the world’s credible scientists who say our climateis changing in dangerous ways propelled, at least in part, by human activity?Is it possible to find meaningful economic solutions between those whoadhere to the thoroughly debunked idea of supply side “economics” andthose who subscribe to almost any other supportable economic theory?A case in point of an adherence to a baseless ideology is the story of Arizona(a state that just so happens to have the highest number of legislators whohave signed the Grover Norquist pledge explained in an earlier issue of theAlert). Since 1992 Arizona has cut more than 45 individual taxes and fees.In the current year, the Arizona legislature once again passed a package of tax cuts that will trim an additional $538 million from state coffers despiterunning a deficit in excess of $3 billion.
1
 
 The particularly interesting thing about Arizona lawmakers’ unflagging marchtoward yet still lower taxes is that every single time they have instituted atax cut they have used the exact same mantra that businesses will now beable to “create new high paying jobs and grow the economy.” The actualfactual results: Arizona is 48
th
in job creation, it has lost 300,000+ jobs sincethe beginning of the recession, has some of the highest foreclosure rates inthe country while continuously shifting the tax burden to local propertytaxpayers and away from businesses (this will have a very familiar ring inNew Hampshire soon), and has sold off most of its state assets including itsstate Capitol which it must now lease back – ultimately costing the state farmore. Add to those pieces of data that 18.9 percent of Arizona’s citizenslack health insurance and more than a quarter of a million children in thestate do not have coverage.Arizona is a microcosm of what is happening on a national level and in stateafter state currently. It has served as a laboratory for the fullest experimentof supply side economics we have seen in this country. On every singlemeasure the evidence is clear and compelling that the policy is an abysmalfailure. Certainly the notion that repeatedly cutting taxes produces “highpaying jobs and grows the economy” has been utterly discredited. How doesone find middle ground when one side of the debate is grounded in a falsepremise? The problem closer to home in New Hampshire goes even deeper. Theargument proffered by the Free State/Tea Party faction with increasinglymore influence over the Republican side of the aisle is that government islargely unnecessary save for “the protection of life, liberty and property”interpreted in the narrowest possible way. How do we find workable middleground solutions to challenges in education when one side begins with theposition that public education is unnecessary? How do we find negotiatedconsumer protections when one side argues that the very market from whichcertain harms arise will self-correct – if, and that’s a big “if,” it does at all itwill only do so after significant harm has befallen some group(s) of consumers.One conclusion that I have drawn from these considerations is that folks may
say 
they want compromise and negotiation but they most assuredly don’twant
halfway 
solutions. We all really want
sound 
solutions, solutions thatproduce real, measurable results, to the problems we face. We often makethe assumption that these are more likely from compromise. In truth, thatcan only happen if both sides begin with evidence-basedpositions/approaches and negotiate from there. There really isn’t a viablemid-point between a lie and a truth, between a myth and a fact.
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Contents
 
Page
 Thought for the Week: When Middle Ground Doesnt Exist1Late Breaking News3 The Week in Brief4CoC Schedule a Mystery4Right to Work Vote More of a Mystery5Roads End for Select Legislation5New Hampshires Minimum Wage5Is RGGI In or Out6NH Gets Expanded Death Penalty7Senate Has Its Own Drama8
Late Breaking News
As the Alert was being readied for distribution today (Thursday, June 9) thefirst Committee of Conference on the biennial budget met. While the policydecisions underscoring the budget have yet to be hammered out, arguablythe most important decision was made this afternoon. House and Senateconferees agreed that they would spend $24 million less than the Senateused in revenue estimates. You may recall that there was a difference of $75 million between theHouse’s utterly draconian budget and the Senate’s merely really painfulbudget that was itself $244 million less than the Governor’s proposedbudget. It now appears that the difference between the two chambers willbe $51 million and there will be more cuts coming. The budget conferees have from now until Thursday, June 16 to come toagreement on where the revenues they have agreed to will be spent. Therewas considerable difference between the two chambers on priorities withinthe budget with the Senate clearly directing more funding to Health andHuman Service programs for persons with mental illness and persons withdevelopmental disabilities. The next schedule meeting of the CoC on the
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