A Special Thank You to our Corporate Sponsors:
In the midst of hearings for the next budget, Gov. Maggie Hassan (D) is asking state agencies to cut $18 million from the current budget.Gov. Hassan said there are two reasons for the budget deficit. First, the Department of Health and Human Services is dealing with a large influx of new Medicaid enrollees. Second, changes to state business taxes - raising the filing threshold for the business enterprise tax from $100,000 to $200,000, and exempting certain trusts from the interest and dividends tax - has significantly decreased revenue.Although a legislative committee approved Gov. Hassan's spending cuts, Republican leadership disagreed with the cause of the deficit. They are concerned that Gov. Hassan is preparing to propose increasing business taxes."This definitely is a spending problem," said Senate President Chuck Morse (R).Which do you think is causing the current budget deficit: excessive spending or low business tax revenue? CLICK HERE to post your thoughts on our site.CLICK HERE to read coverage from NHPR.
The nonpartisan, nonprofit Live Free or Die Alliance (LFDA) serves New Hampshire citizens by providing objective information about issues and candidates; promoting the civil exchange of opinions in a variety of forums, online and in person; and connecting citizens with their elected officials.Show your support for our mission: join the LFDA community today! Membership is always free, and gives you posting privileges on our website.Want to learn more about us first? Visit our About Page to learn about our mission, our Issue pages to learn about hot topics in New Hampshire government, our Voter Resources section to learn about elected officials, or our Member Posts to see what fellow Granite Staters have to say. And don't forget to like us on Facebook!
An October security inspection found three security issues at the Seabrook Nuclear Power Plant.The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) will not reveal details of the problems, in order to protect the plant from would-be attackers. However, the NRC said the security issues will be fixed and do not merit extra oversight.Meanwhile the Seabrook plant continues to seek an operating license renewal, which would extend the life of the plant from 2030 to 2050. One main issue is holding up the license renewal: the alkali-silica reaction (ASR) causing small cracks in concrete at the facility.The NRC maintains that the cracks do not currently threaten public safety. However, environmentalist groups insist that any defects in the concrete are cause for concern. Opponents to the license renewal will also no doubt make note of the new security violations. NextEra Energy, which owns the plant, is paying for specialized tests at the University of Texas to study the long-term effects of ASR.Do you have an opinion on the license renewal for Seabrook Nuclear Power Plant? CLICK HERE to post your thoughts on our site.CLICK HERE to learn more about the nuclear power plant's application for license renewal.CLICK HERE to read coverage from the Eagle Tribune.
On Thursday the New Hampshire Rail Transit Authority (NHRTA) released the results of a feasibility study for a southern New Hampshire commuter rail.The study examined three rail options: a line connecting Nashua to Massachusetts, a line extending to Manchester, and a line extending all the way to Concord.The "Nashua Minimum" option would be primarily funded by federal and Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) contributions, leaving $4 million in additional costs each year. The "Manchester Regional" option would also be funded in large part by federal and MBTA contributions, leaving $7 million in additional costs each year. Lastly, the "Concord Intercity" option would get federal funds, but no MBTA contributions. It would cost the state an additional $15 million each year.The additional $4, $7, or $15 million each year could be funded through parking fees, vehicle registration fees, municipal contributions, lottery revenues, the state Energy Efficiency Fund, or some other state government source."We firmly believe that the options are clear: invest in passenger rail or choose the status quo and face the negative consequences associated with our young people fleeing the state while our existing population ages and in-migration continues to decline," said NHRTA chair Thomas Mahon.Rep. Bill O'Brien (R-Mont Vernon), the Republican choice for 2015 Speaker of the House, disagreed."It’s not an energy-efficient way to move people; not a good use of money; and it would create a state bureaucracy that requires more taxation to sustain," said O'Brien.Do you support a commuter rail in southern New Hampshire? CLICK HERE to post your thoughts on our site.CLICK HERE to learn more about the debate over a commuter rail in southern New Hampshire.CLICK HERE to read coverage from the Union Leader.
On Thursday a legislative panel approved regulations for New Hampshire's medicinal marijuana dispensaries.The rules allow four medicinal marijuana dispensaries in four regions of the state: the seacoast, central New Hampshire, western New Hampshire, and the North Country.The price of a patient's therapeutic cannabis identification card will be $50.Although the legislative panel approved the regulations, one question remains: whether or not the dispensaries will pay property tax.The medicinal marijuana law passed in 2013 requires that dispensaries be "not for profit." That could potentially exempt dispensaries from property taxes.Sen. John Reagan (R-Deerfield), a member of the legislative panel, said he will look into filing legislation to make the dispensaries pay property taxes.The medicinal marijuana law also requires the state to issue a license for the first dispensary by the end of January 2015. That means the state has just two months for the license application process.Do you have an opinion on the regulations for medicinal marijuana dispensaries? CLICK HERE to post your thoughts on our site.CLICK HERE to learn more about the debate over medicinal marijuana.CLICK HERE to read coverage from the Concord Monitor.
On Tuesday stakeholders and elected officials from Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont gathered to discuss the aging population in the region.The three states have the oldest populations in the U.S.There are many public policy challenges related to an aging population, such as a smaller labor pool and higher demand for state assistance.However, the conference on Tuesday highlighted several opportunities in an aging population. For example, New Hampshire, Maine, and Vermont could attract businesses that sell new medical technologies. The states might also provide a testing ground for driverless cars."It's not all about the problems that will be created by the aging society, it's partly about how we actively reshape our society," said Charles Colgan, professor of public policy at the University of Southern Maine.Do you think New Hampshire's aging population could be an asset? CLICK HERE to post your thoughts on our site.CLICK HERE to learn more about the demographics shift in New Hampshire.CLICK HERE to read coverage from Seacoast Online.
Concord Monitor — 11/25/2014
LFDA Virtual Town Hall — 11/25/2014
Gov. Maggie Hassan ordered state agencies on Monday to cut a collective $18 million from their budgets in an effort to avoid a shortfall when the current two-year budget ends June 30.
In The NH News