Shawn Jasper Makes a Farce Out of Right-to-Work

I do not think that right-to-work is the paramount policy issue facing New Hampshire at this time.  (Right-to-work describes a law law that guarantees that an employee cannot be compelled, as a condition of employment, to join or to pay dues to a union.)

But if Governor-elect Chris Sununu and the GOP legislative leadership are going to make right-to-work their top legislative priority, they should at least do it right. Continue reading

What Kind of Governor?

Soon New Hampshire will have its first Republican Governor since Craig Benson in 2003-2004.  Benson was a one-and-done Governor (that is, he was not reelected), and was the first GOP Governor of New Hampshire since Steve Merrill, who served two terms between 1993 and 1996.  Needless to say, having held the corner office only two out the last 20 years, the GOP has a lot riding on Chris Sununu.

So what kind of Governor will Sununu be?  Perhaps a better way to frame the question is whether Sununu will be a status quo Governor or a transformational Governor.

The first indication we will get of the kind of Governor that Sununu will be is whether he recommends a status quo budget or a transformational budget. Continue reading

The “Downshifting” Canard

Running in today’s Concord Monitor is an opinion piece by Representative Steve Shurtleff titled “The season of downshifting.”

Essentially, Shurtleff argues that there should be a greater utilization of State tax revenues to pay for local spending in order to keep local property taxes from rising:

In New Hampshire, funding for schools and local government comes primarily from two sources: state aid and the property tax. When state aid is reduced, or not maintained at a level to match living expenses, the only way for municipalities to maintain obligations is to increase the property tax.

According to Shurtleff, State tax revenues are basically free money because they are paid by businesses and “out-of-staters”:

Municipal taxes are borne exclusively by property owners, whereas state taxes assess moneys from businesses and out-of-staters.

Shurtleff’s “free money” pitch raises an obvious question: if State tax revenues are “free money”, then why isn’t Shurtleff suggesting doing away with municipal taxes altogether and funding schools and local government exclusively with State taxes? Continue reading

2016 Winners and Losers — Biggest National Political Loser

So we’ve named the Biggest Local Political Winner of 2016 – Governor-elect Chris Sununu, and the Biggest Local Political Loser of 2016 – #StinkyJoe McQuaid.  And we’ve named the Biggest National Political Winner of 2016 – President-elect Donald J. Trump.  So all that’s left is to name the Biggest National Political Loser of 2016. Continue reading

A Flawed Analysis of New Hampshire’s Senate Race

Jason Sorens, the creator of the Free State Project, recently blogged that Yes, Aaron Day Probably Cost Kelly Ayotte Re-Election.  According to Sorens:

Now, Kelly Ayotte lost by 1,000 votes, just over 0.1 percentage points. My estimates suggest that without Aaron Day in the race, Kelly Ayotte would have won her race by about 15,000 votes, similar to Republican Chris Sununu’s margin of victory in the governor’s race.

So here are the results of the Senate race and the Governor’s race: Continue reading

Unlike Trump’s Transformational Agenda, New Hampshire GOP Largely Content to Tweak the Status Quo

Ask anyone who follows politics, indeed even someone who doesn’t follow politics, what President-Elect Trump’s agenda is and there will be no hesitation: Repeal and replace Obamacare; bring back manufacturing jobs; build a wall on our border with Mexico; a massive overhaul of the tax code aimed at restoring traditional levels of economic growth; appoint a judge in the mold of Antonin Scalia to fill the open seat on the Supreme Court; rebuild the military. With Republicans in control of both houses of Congress, albeit not with a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, it’s a good bet that this agenda in some form or another will be enacted.

Republicans also control the entire government in New Hampshire. Yet in stark contrast to the transformational agenda in Washington DC the agenda in Concord is essentially a few tweaks to the status quo: Continue reading