In a recent op-ed, former Speaker Terie Norelli (D-Portsmouth) based her arguments on several glaring inaccuracies about the Right to Work law (HB 474) that 63% of the New Hampshire House recently voted to pass into law.

Ironically, given her own history of procedural abuses, Rep. Norelli questions the process that the recent veto override vote took.  Her complaints that the vote was not taken up on her party’s request is certainly strange given the contortions that Norelli herself put the Legislature through in order pass gay marriage back in 2009.  This involved multiple votes after early failures of the bill, actual physical intimidation on the House floor by Democratic leadership, and a lack of transparency throughout the process.  Given her history, making complaints about the process truly shows the meaning of hypocrisy.

Moreover, former Speaker and current Minority Leader Norelli is wrong about the Right to Work.  The economic benefits of giving workers their freedom to associate with unions are well documented.  A recent study by the outlines how Right to Work leads to more jobs, a stronger economy, and increased investment in the states that have added this important protection for their workers.

Finally, Minority Leader Norelli wrongly complains about the state budget that fixes the fiscal mess she and her cohorts created over the prior two legislative terms.  She complains thatNew Hampshire’s unemployment has bumped up since the budget was passed.  What she fails to note is that unemployment has dropped since Republicans took over after last year’s historic election (from 5.7% to 5.3%), as nearly 6,800 more Granite Staters have jobs because employers are beginning to develop confidence that we will no longer see the over 100 tax and fee increases that took place under Norelli’s legislative leadership.

It is, however, true that unemployment has increased after the budget passed in June.  This is a result of the fact that in July, the nearly $600 million in borrowed, federal stimulus spending stopped flowing into the state.  Take away the federal stimulus and the state’s economy lost numerous government and government-funded jobs.  These displaced workers now have to find work in the private sector and those sustainable jobs are returning.  What the former Minority Leader Norelli wants is for government to continue to take money from all of us to employ these people, event though the state can function just fine without them and those jobs are not sustainable.

There is good news on the horizon.  In last month’s employment report, the state created over 2,200 new jobs in October.  More encouraging is the fact that nearly 2,000 of our friends and neighbors who had left the labor force have rejoined the workforce, a great sign that people believe that there are better prospects ahead.

The fiscal responsibility and commitment to helping the private sector flourish is paying dividends in New Hampshire.  Adding Right to Work would accelerate these efforts and make this state’s economy easily the strongest in the region.  New Hampshire citizens may rest assured.  We will not give up the fight to Right to Work for More.  New Hampshire can do better than continue to harm its economic future by forcing state and private workers to pay money to unions.

A recent editorial by the Portsmouth Herald suggests that the state should continue forward on the policy on near annual tobacco tax increases.  The liberal editorial page of that paper suggests that the reduction in the tax is “costing the state revenue,” proposing that the state could spend more money to further grow government if the tax were increased.

The logic of the editorial misses the bigger picture of the state’s economic situation.  According to the state’s most recent , all of the so-called “sin” tax revenue items have failed to meet projections.  Moreover, on a percentage basis, the amount that the tobacco tax has missed targets (-6.9%) for the year falls well behind other sin tax revenue sources, such as lottery sales (-10.4%) and charitable gaming (-9.1%).  Even liquor (-3.9%) and the beer tax (-1.6%) have failed to meet expectations.

Oddly, the Herald editorial doesn’t call for the reinstitution of the lottery winnings tax to help offset the loss of revenue for lottery sales.  Under their logic, that tax reduction is “costing the state revenue,” even though rational minds realized that it was hurting, not helping, the economy.

What appears more accurate is that our residents are cutting back and simply not spending as much money on these sin tax items, across the board.  In tough economic times, people are just more likely to cut back on buying lottery tickets, playing bingo and purchasing cigarettes, beer and wine, and the state is dealing with the impact of this behavioral change.

One of the key arguments for reducing the tobacco tax was to make sure that New Hampshire is competitive for all good, across the board.  When the legislature included this savings to consumers, the clear message was to let everyone in the region know that the Granite State is the place to go for inexpensive goods.  With no sales tax, and the lowest taxes on gasoline and tobacco in New England, we have a natural advantage to exploit, and we need to be at the top in all areas if we want to keep visitors coming here.  That’s why the state’s Grocers’ Association has just begun a campaign to educate out-of-staters of the advantage of buying good here.

This month’s revenue report shows this advantage playing out.  During budget discussions, proponents of the tobacco tax reduction said that passing it would help to increase other revenue sources, as people who cross the border to buy cigarettes will also buy other goods.  That’s why it’s no surprise to see meals and room tax revenues beating projections (+2.2%) and most importantly, business tax revenues are way ahead of estimates (+9.7%), the strongest sign of a strengthening economy.

Finally, it is odd to see Governor Lynch criticizing the tobacco tax reduction.  While he gladly signed four tobacco tax increases in the past six years, he opposed the first reduction that would make New Hampshire more competitive.  Oddly, in the Governor’s budget projections, he suggested that tobacco revenue would increase this year and next, even though cigarette sales have dropped by over 21% the past five years as fewer people smoke.  Had the legislature accepted his figures, even without reducing the tax, we would have had a revenue hole that would have dwarfed the current gap.

“When fact gives way to fiction, credibility goes down the drain.” ~

Again this week Foster’s Daily Democrat chided New Hampshire Democratic Party spokesperson Harrell Kirestein for unnecessary mischaracterization of the usefulness of a jobs fair organized by Congressman Frank Guinta.

In fact, Foster’s notes that in the press release, Kirstein refers to the job fair as, “useless.”

We’re not sure what Kirstein would deem useful or successful, but with 40 employers represented and reports that several military veterans were hired as a result, we’d agree with Foster’s that the event did not warrant a hyper-partisan and baseless attack from the NHDP.

The full editorial appears below:


November 26, 2011

Last week Foster’s Daily Democrat and newspapers throughout the state received a press release from state Democratic Party press secretary Harrell Kirstein.

Kirstein’s missive accused GOP Congressman Frank Guinta of holding a “useless jobs fair.”

The accusation was based on a letter written to the Concord Monitor supposedly detailing a visit by Lee Richardson of Bradford.

As it turns out, however, Guinta’s “useless” jobs fair was anything but. There were more than 40 companies represented, some of which later told Guinta they had hired some veterans as a result of the fair.

To make a long story short, Foster’s Daily Democrat emailed Kirstein in hopes of getting a follow-up press release. Unfortunately, no response came, no apology, no correction, not even a clarification.

In order to remain credible any PR flak has to base his news releases on fact — a least a little bit of it. When fact gives way to fiction, credibility goes down the drain.

While that reflects poorly on the Democratic Party as a whole, it is embarrassing for those who send letters to Foster’s and other newspapers based on the information as if it were fact.

It is to these loyal Democrats, the Democratic press office owes a correction of some sort and an apology. 

Claim:

During the 2011 House session, some Democratic House members have taken issue with Republican House members being temporarily appointed to their committee when Republican members of that committee were absent. They claim that Speaker O’Brien’s frequency of use of this process is unprecedented and an attempt to ‘stack the deck’ for committee votes.

We thought we’d examine the numbers to see if, in fact, temporary committee assignments were exclusive to Republicans and Speaker O’Brien.

Fact Check:

Temporary committee assignments have been a tool of Speakers of the House for decades.

According to publicly available documents maintained by the House Clerk, there were several hundred temporary committee assignments made during the 2009-2010 legislative session under then Speaker Terie Norelli.

Since July 1, 2011,  there have been a total of 258 replacements made for members of both parties absent during committee exec sessions. Currently the make-up of the house is 104 Democrats and 294 Republicans – or roughly 26%/74%. Of the 258 replacements made, 66 were for Democrats absent from their committee executive sessions, 192 for Republicans – or roughly 26%/74% – the same ratio as the make-up of the House.

When absent Democrats were replaced during committee executive sessions, they were replaced by a member of the House Democratic leadership 20% of the time.

Republicans replaced 192 out of 490 total absences or 39% of the absenses
Democrats replaced 66 out of 193 absences or 34% of the time.

Conclusions:

It would be hypocritical for Democrats to claim there was any wrong doing when, in fact, they partook in the practice at the same rate as Republicans.

We’ll try to monitor and keep a running tally of temporary committee assignments made during the 2012 House session.

Foster’s Daily Democrat today published a scathing editorial that sheds light on the desperate measures taken by New Hampshire Democratic Party spokesman Harrell Kirstein. The paper accuses Kirstein of “bogus” claims and  ”political theater” in his claims that cuts resulting from the legislature’s efforts to balance the state budget caused job losses at hospitals and within the judicial branch.

Foster’s also suggests the claims are hypocritical asking how many jobs were lost as a result of legislation enacted by the House Democrats from 2007-2010.

Kirstein and the NHDP may get an ‘A’ for creativity, as the headline suggests, but according to one of the state’s leading publishers, they get an ‘F’ in believability.

 

 

An ‘A’ for creativity

If nothing else, we’ve got to appreciate the creativity of the state Democratic Party’s press office.

Among the missives delivered by Al Gore’s Internet last week was one castigating the  Republican Party for killing more than 1,500 jobs.

This “reckless” disregard came about because of cuts to the state budget, claimed spokesman Harrell Kirstein.

But a close look at the numbers offers some added insight.

The majority of the 1,769 jobs came from cuts at hospitals such as Exeter (owned by Exeter Health Resources) and Wentworth-Douglass in Dover.

These and other hospitals are embroiled in a lawsuit with the state over funding. In addition, many of these hospitals are undergoing or have undergone multi-millon dollar expansion funded by millions of dollars in profits.

This brings into question the whys and wherefores of layoffs — and undercuts much of the Democratic Party’s claims.

As for smaller job losses, the state court system was destined to lose jobs through a reorganization and computerization that will save time and money for those who use it. Would the Democrats argue feathered pen and inkwell still be used to preserve those 68 jobs?

But let’s assume for a moment there is substance to Kirstein’s claims. How many jobs were lost when the Democratic-led Legislature nearly outlawed same-day lending services and drove many of those jobs out of the state? How many small businesses went under, cut jobs or were unable to hire as the state demanded more dollars in the form of added fees?

The argument Kirstein makes is bogus, but good political theater — and nothing more.

Fact Check: Sen. Shaheen’s Comments on Speaker O’Brien Incorrect, Hypocritical

Claim, as reported by :

Speaking before a crowd of more than 200 Democrats, U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., took an aggressive stance against N.H. Speaker of the House William O’Brien, R-Mont Vernon, telling the crowd that it’s “time to put an end” to his career in politics.

The lively crowd at Castleton was vocal in supporting Shaheen during her speech, including one supporter who joked back and forth with her while she quipped with Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick about taking O’Brien back with him.

“Gov. Patrick… Bill O’Brien is one of yours. He’s from Massachusetts,” said Shaheen.

[link] Recommended you read here

Fact Check:

  • Speaker O’Brien was in fact not born in Massachusetts but at Fort Dix, NJ while his father was fighting to defend America’s freedom in the Korean War
  • Sen. Shaheen was born in St. Charles, Missouri, educated in Pennsylvania and began her professional career in Mississippi before relocating to New Hampshire Sen. Shaheen, like Speaker O’Brien, was employed in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, most recently as director of  
  • 57% of New Hampshire residents were born out of state, and like Speaker O’Brien and Sen. Shaheen, have chosen to make their home here, many of whom serve their communities including as members of the legislature including:
      • Former Speaker, Current House Democratic Leader, Rep Terie Norelli (Orange, NJ)
      • Deputy House Democratic Leader Mary Jane Wallner (St. Louis, MO)
      • Assistant Democratic Leaders Bernard Benn (Plainfield, NJ), Gary Richardson (Windsor, VT) & Lucy Weber (New York, NY)
      • Assistant Democratic Floor Leaders David Pierce (Port Arthur, TX), Cindy Rosenwald (White Plains, NY) & Donna Schlachman (New York, NY)
      • Senior Democratic Advisor Sharon Nordgren (Chicago, IL)
  • Nearly 300 members of the New Hampshire House were born in a state other than New Hampshire, including:
      • 41 from New York
      • 12 from Maine
      • 11 from Illinois
      • 91 from Massachusetts
      • 12 from Connecticut
      • 3 from Florida
      • 2 from Oregon
      • 14 from New Jersey
      • 3 from Maryland
      • 13 from Vermont
      • 8 from Rhode Island
      • 6 from Michigan
      • 6 from Indiana
      • 4 from Washington, D.C.
      • 2 from West Virginia
      • 2 from Hawaii
      • 13 from Pennsylvania
      • 2 from Minnesota
      • 3 from Colorado
      • 5 from Ohio
      • 8 from California
      • 3 form Texas
      • 2 from Arizona
      • 1 from Virginia
      • 1 from Oklahoma
      • 1 from Wyoming
      • 1 from South Carolina
      • 1 Wisconsin
      • 1 Kansas
      • 1 from Missouri
      • And members from Canada, Germany, Spain, Italy, Haiti & Dominican Republic

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