Jun 14, 2013
Rasmussen is out today with a new poll suggesting that the majority of Americans believe – or excuse us, FEAR – that the government will use NSA data to harass political opponents.
Fear is Rasmussen’s word, not ours. In fairness, the word fear does not appear in the survey question.
But still, MORE THAN HALF of Americans FEAR government targeting as a result of the collection of data.
This is a bad PR metric. Weeks after the IRS targeting scandal was exposed, Americans have made the connection to the NSA story.
Jun 14, 2013
Thanks to Sen. Rand Paul for posting this to facebook today. As he puts it, “Here’s a humorous look at a serious matter.”
Do you feel more secure or more digitally naked as a result of the cover being blown on the NSA surveillance program?
Jun 13, 2013
On Sunday, our otherwise admirable U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte announced her support for the Gang of 8′s immigration bill, which provides for immediate legalization of illegal aliens in exchange for a promise of increased border security, on Face the Nation. She followed it up with an op-ed explaining her position.
Nobody here is calling Kelly Ayotte a RINO, so spare us the indignance. But let’s take a close look at what she has openly embraced as her position. All emphasis is mine.
Everybody agrees that America’s immigration system is broken, threatening our security and holding back our economy. The combination of porous borders and lax enforcement has made us a magnet for illegal immigration.
If everybody agrees our immigration system is broken because of porous borders and lax enforcement, then why is the bill’s immediate priority the legalization of current illegal immigrants? Wouldn’t the priority be border security and enforcing the current laws, ie, fixing the porous borders and lax enforcement? (more…)
Jun 13, 2013
New Hampshire Democrats at the State and Federal level have been very vocal about their opposition to the online sales tax proposal currently in the US House. Funny how newly installed Attorney General (and former Democrat majority leader of the Senate) Joseph Foster apparently didn’t get the memo.
The AP is reporting today that three Attorneys General from three states without sales taxes sent letters to all 435 U.S. House representatives Wednesday urging them to oppose an Internet tax bill, saying the measure is unconstitutional and could prompt a legal challenge if it passes.
Attorneys General Tim Fox of Montana, Michael Geraghty of Alaska and Ellen Rosenblum of Oregon said in their letter the proposal has legal and economic pitfalls. They claim the bill is an unconstitutional violation of due process because it allows states to collect taxes from retailers that have little or no contact with that state.
They also say it is overly burdensome to require small businesses to collect and remit taxes to what they estimated would be 9,600 cities, counties and states.
The bill’s passage would prompt years of ‘‘costly, protracted and unnecessary litigation, the letter said.
Fox, flanked by a dozen small-business owners and executives, told reporters Wednesday that he is not threatening a lawsuit, but is appealing to the reason of federal legislators to halt the bill’s progress before it becomes a legal issue.
‘‘We need to speak up now before these things become law,’’ he said.
Notably absent from this letter was New Hampshire’s new Attorney General Joe Foster. Granted, he’s got a lot of stuff on his plate at the moment, but simply signing on to a letter would have continued the mantra from New Hampshire’s Democratic leaders that an online sales tax is bad for New Hampshire.
The online sales tax opposition is certainly one of convenience for NH Dems, who are always being accused of secretly wanting a state sales or income tax. Why then would the state’s chief law enforcement officer and former Democrat Majority Leader of the Senate not join the chorus?
In fairness, Delaware, the other state without a sales tax, also did not part take in this exercise, according to the AP story.
Jun 6, 2013
This week’s Democrat messaging blunder: Whether the Governor has authority to implement Medicaid Expansion without legislative approval.
On Monday, Speaker Norelli and Sen. Larsen held a press conference outlining their objections to the Senate budget proposal. In response to a question from a reporter, Sen. Larsen gave a surprisingly candid response on Medicaid Expansion, which Speaker Norelli then backed up.
… Senator Larsen and Speaker Norelli say they support exploring whether [Medicaid] expansion can take place even if the Senate opposes it.
LARSEN: “I believe the Governor’s staff is looking at it. I hope the attorney general’s office is looking at it.
NORELLI: “I also have my legal counsel looking at it as well.’
The Senate’s top budget-writer, Republican Chuck Morse of Salem says he doesn’t think the Governor has authority to expand Medicaid without legislative approval.
A spokesman for Governor Hassan says it “appears” the legislature would need to approve Medicaid expansion.
A similar story ran int the Concord Monitor entitled, “Top Democrats say it’s possible Hassan could expand Medicaid without Legislature’s okay.”
By Tuesday it was pretty clear Speaker Norelli and Sen. Larsen had gone way off message, when the Governor at a press conference offered the same concession as her spokesman, that the legislature “appears” to have a role.
From the Union Leader:
Gov. Maggie Hassan said Tuesday that Medicaid expansion “appears to need legislative approval” to proceed…
So just to review, here is what happened:
- Top Democratic legislative leaders show their hand by indicating the Governor, her staff and House Counsel are looking into how to bypass the legislature to implement parts of Obamacare.
- In the same story, and in other publications’ accounts of the press conference, the Governor’s comms director had to walk back those comments.
- The next day, the Governor herself had to verbally concede that legislative approval is needed.
By the way, is anyone else wondering why Speaker Norelli is using “part-time, $70,000 salary” House Counsel Paul Twomey to figure out ways to bypass her own legislature?
In the end, at least we have everyone on the record now as saying that legislative approval is needed… at least it “appears”.
Jun 5, 2013
Great news tonight out of Claremont. Joe Osgood (R) has beaten Larry Converse (D) in the Democrat district 322 votes to 246.
This is undoubtedly a huge blow to the Democrats and an indictment on Gov. Maggie Hassan who have been served another major loss.
Talk about your worst few weeks ever.
This also comes at a great time for the NHGOP. Seems they have gotten their act together and are now doing something that hasn’t been done there in a while….win.
May 30, 2013
Anyone who has read my previous columns or speeches will find it hardly surprising that I am an admirer of British history. Winston Churchill is my non-familial hero and the spirit and fortitude of the British during World War II was awe-inspiring.
It is that history of courage and heroism that makes the events of last week in south London as disappointing as they were horrifying.
As National Review’s Mark Steyn summarized: “The short version of what happened in Woolwich is that two Muslims butchered a British soldier in the name of Islam.” Making this incident even more shocking is that the murdering terrorists instead of fleeing the scene, hung around for photographs with the remains of Drummer Lee Rigby of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers.
In the meantime a group of civilians having witnessed the murder idly stood around having a discussion while others used cell phone cameras to interview the terrorists. In no event did any of them apprehend or otherwise seek to deter the terrorists. If one didn’t know any better you might have confused the incident for a traffic accident. If this was an episode of “What would you do?” these would be the folks you would recoil at in disgust. (more…)
May 29, 2013
The Senate Finance committee yesterday did what Gov. Hassan and House Democrats said was impossible: produce a balanced budget with no new taxes that increases funding to important education and health programs.
Here is the Senate’s press release following yesterday’s committee vote. The full Senate will vote on the budget proposal next week.
Senate Finance Committee Wraps Up Budget
$10.7B spending package for FY14-FY15 lower than House and Governor
Morse calls it a balanced budget that invests in education and critical services without raising taxes
CONCORD, NH — After eight weeks of presentations and debate, the Senate Finance Committee wrapped up its discussion of the state budget today, voting to pass a $10.7 billion spending package for the next biennium. The Senate’s version comes in some $400 million less than Governor Hassan’s proposed budget and $300 million less than the plan passed by the House without any reliance on increased taxes. The full Senate is scheduled to vote on the measure June 6th.
Finance Chairman Chuck Morse, R-Salem, commended his fellow committee members for their hard work and willingness to compromise. “In the end, we found a way to build a budget for the next two years that is balanced and invests in education and critical services without raising taxes or fees,” he said. “Overall, the Senate Finance Committee’s budget makes significant improvements over earlier versions submitted by the governor and passed by the Democratically-controlled House, including lower total and general fund spending, the use of realistic revenue estimates, and the removal of a number of unnecessary proposed programs.”
Other highlights regarding the Senate budget include:
- Revenues: The Senate budget relies on realistic revenue estimates that recognize an increase in business taxes over the House based on recent strong returns in the BPT and BET, but are more conservative in other traditional revenue categories, including a reduction of more than $100 million from expected Medicaid Enhancement Tax (MET) revenues.
- No Tax Increases: Senate budget writers removed the 12-cent gas tax and 20-cent tobacco tax passed by the House as well as House-passed tax increases on salt-water fishing and marriage licenses.
- Education: The Senate budget increases the combined general fund appropriation to the University and Community College Systems by over $100 million in addition to directing a total of $24.5 million to fully fund the UNIQUE Scholarship program. The budget also increases adequate education grants to cities and towns by nearly $4 million over the biennium, removes the moratorium on new charter schools and provides funding for four new charter schools and stops efforts to repeal the School Choice Scholarship Program.
- HHS: The Senate budget provides nearly $24 million more to the department than was appropriated by the House. This includes full funding for the DD waitlist, restoration of the breast and cervical cancer screening and prevention program, and a significant increase in payments to county nursing homes. In addition, the Senate maintained the House’s level of funding for the CHINS program, domestic violence prevention and mental health services.
- Uncompensated Care: After realizing honest MET revenues, the Senate increased funding for the state’s uncompensated care program by $20 million over the House’s budget to ensure both critical access hospitals as well as the state’s larger hospitals receive reimbursement for a portion of the uncompensated care they provide.
- Expanded Medicaid: The Senate budget removes provisions expanding Medicaid in New Hampshire opting instead to study the long-term costs of expansion via a bipartisan commission. The commission is charged with issuing a report by next December on a wide range of issues including the use of private insurers to cover New Hampshire residents and the impact expansion will have on taxpayers, patients, and providers.
- Dedicated Funds: The Senate budget removes provisions requested by the governor that would have granted her significant authority to raid dedicated funds to fill potential budget shortfalls. The Senate also ended the governor’s planned raid of the Land and Community Heritage Investment Program (LCHIP) fund, allowing the full $8.5 million raised by the program to be spent on conservation as intended by law.
- No New Programs: The Senate took steps to invigorate the economy by continuing business tax reductions and incentives rather than repealing them and proposing new programs that grow government. Budget writers believe strongly that the first priority should be funding the level of government we currently have before creating any new programs.
May 24, 2013
I know Salem GOP Rep. Bob Elliot doesn’t favor an income tax. But you have to think Susan Almy has an extra pep in her step this morning upon hearing that Bob described an income tax as “inevitable” after the defeat of the casino bill.
May 23, 2013
You know who illustrated my point about the DC Bar President from earlier today? None other than Harrell Kirstein himself!
If Harrell Kirstein were having drinks with me and Tom Williamson, he would say, “Why should we trust the current Second Amendment jurisprudence when the gun control lobby is trying their damndest to change it?”
Unfortunately for Harrell, his tweet does a good job of supporting my point, but not really his own. To his own query, one easily responds, “When the fed govt abolishes its minimum wage, NH can easily make its own decision at that time.” This is not so true of the Second Amendment. When it’s gone . . . it’s gone for good.