Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Budget Cuts and Gas Tax Increases

This morning at NH Watchdog:

How deep are the Governor's proposed budget cuts, and should New Hampshire tap the Rainy Day Fund?

Will New Hampshire will increase its gas tax?

Should the Executive Council give up its oversight over low-dollar state contracts?

Monday, November 24, 2008


Here's the podcast from my Saturday appearance on Meet the New Press with Doug and Skip from Granite Grok.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

On the air

I'm in studio with Doug and Skip on Meet the New Press this morning at 9am.
We were pleased both for our friend Grant, who we enthusiastically endorsed in the NH 2nd CD Republican primary, and for the Josiah Bartlett Center, an excellent Granite State public policy think tank. Grant will join us in the studio to discuss his new position, Governor Lynch's budget cuts in Concord (yep-- they all made fun of Joe Kenney for his cell phone usage reduction to save $$ and, guess what?!) and proposed budget requests for next year. What's a couple billion dollars more among friends?

Friday, November 21, 2008

Deal With It

Sarah Palin doe the whole pardon-a-turkey thing.
TV cameras interview her.
Turkeys are killed.
HuffPo freaks.
After the pardon Palin proceeded to do an interview with a local TV station while the turkeys were being SLAUGHTERED in the background!! Seemingly oblivious to the gruesomeness going on over her shoulder, she carries on talking for over three minutes.

Ann Althouse has the only proper response.
Deal with it, you candy-asses. If you eat meat, something like that is going on in the background for you too.

Oh well, I guess this is what's going to make news while we wait for the 3rd Clinton Inaugural in January. Enjoy your tasty, no-longer alive, turkey next week.


I feel like Doctor Evil. The annual kabuke theater of state agency budget requests kicked off this afternoon, and by the end of the biennium, our bureaucrats are asking for over $2 trillion a year in General Fund spending. That would be a record.

Thanks Wally

Thanks to the folks at PolitickerNH, who seem to think I'm a good fit at the Bartlett Center.

Winners and Losers


Grant Bosse

Policy wonk lands on his feet at the Bartlett Center. About as good of a fit as you could dream up.

Of course, I was on their Winners List a lot during the Primary, and we all saw where that got me.

Budget Cuts

Governor Lynch is proposing roughly $56 million in budget cuts to the Fiscal Committee.

I'll be covering the hearing at NHWatchdog.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Lynch proposing limited cuts to budget

Read about the Governor's proposed budget cuts at my new blog, NH Watchdog.

Sununu Against Auto Bailout

In the morning's Union Leader, our outgoing Senator nails why the currently proposed bailout in an awful idea:

It is simply not the role or the responsibility of government to provide subsidies, support or special benefits to specific businesses. Using government funds for such purposes is unfair to taxpayers, especially those working for businesses that are left out. Instead, the government's role should be to create the best possible environment for investment, job creation and economic growth, and then to let businesses compete for customers on a level playing field.

Government subsidies for the auto manufacturers or any other business also create a moral hazard -- the significant risk that bad behavior and investments will only be encouraged in the future. We have seen the very real implications of moral hazard in the spectacular failures of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Senator Sununu's support of the Wall Street bailout package was both bad policy and bad politics, though not enough to have changed the outcome of his race. Glad to see he's making such a clear case against this latest incarnation.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Where was this in October?

Okay, the toxic atmosphere of the Bush Presidency probably wasn't going to allow a Republican victory in 2008, but jumping feet first into socialism certainly didn't help. Today, Mitt Romney finds the message that the GOP should have adopted at the beginning of the Wall Street Meltdown:

IF General Motors, Ford and Chrysler get the bailout that their chief executives asked for yesterday, you can kiss the American automotive industry goodbye. It won’t go overnight, but its demise will be virtually guaranteed.

Without that bailout, Detroit will need to drastically restructure itself. With it, the automakers will stay the course — the suicidal course of declining market shares, insurmountable labor and retiree burdens, technology atrophy, product inferiority and never-ending job losses. Detroit needs a turnaround, not a check.
This is the New York Times, which may require a password to access.

Forget next election, worry about now

In this morning's Union Leader, Charlie Arlinghaus reminds us that there's something between the last election and the next one, governing:

In New Hampshire, we face a significant budget crisis, perhaps the greatest in recent history. Partisans on all sides will be tempted to look ahead to the next election. They need to avoid that temptation and follow Gov. Palin's advice to focus on the task at hand, the job they were elected to do.

In doing that job, they can focus on principle or abandon principle in search of some mythic consensus or middle ground. Lamar Alexander suggests action based on principle.

Voters elect people to represent them. We expect each to do the right thing, to adopt policies he or she believes will be effective and to accomplish something. Sometimes a policy choice might achieve consensus or something close to it. However, consensus is necessarily rare. If it weren't, it would be because there were no policy differences and elections wouldn't matter.

Out in Alaska

Ted Stevens will not be returning to the U.S. Senate. He lost his re-election bid to Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich. I don't know Begich at all, but I do know Stevens, and it was past time for him to go.

Ted Stevens has led an amazing life, including distinguished service in WWII, as a U.S. attorney, and possibly the man most responsible for Alaska's statehood. He is the longest serving Republican in Senate history, and it was past time for his to go.

Pork-barrel politics is toxic to American democracy. Politically, it is especially poisonous to Republicans. Stevens was a staunch defender of earmarking, believing it was his responsibility to bring back federal money to his constituents. His recent conviction on seven counts of failing to disclose gifts was marred by prosecutorial misconduct, and will likely be overturned on appeal. But Stevens' casual comfort exchanging favors with those lobbying his Senate Committee was disturbing enough, even if it were legal.

As a Republican, I'm not thrilled that the Senate will have someone who by all appearances will be nothing more than another rubber-stamp for Majority Leader Harry Reid. But I also see an opportunity to bring the Republican Party back to its core values. Tom Delay destroyed the Republican Caucus in the House, and he's gone. Ted Stevens was the King of Pork, and he's leaving. The GOP needs new leadership in Washington to end earmarking, hold the Democrats accountable for their shady tactics and failed policies, and present an agenda of smaller, more responsible government to the American people.

I'm sad today for Ted Stevens. He has served his country and his state for longer than most of us have been alive. But his way of doing things was long past over, and I'm not sad to see him go.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Politics, taxes, and gambling

Some more of this morning's guests from WGIR Morning News.

James Pindell of PolitickerNH.com on Republican leadership in the House and Senate.

Mike Biundo
of the NH Advantage Coalition on the Manchester Tax Cap.

Lauren Dorgan of the Concord Monitor on whether this is the year for casino gambling in New Hampshire.

Jim Rubens and Lou D'Allesandro on the pros and cons of slot machines.

Michael Yon live from Kuwait

Michael Yon called in from Kuwait to discuss his ongoing efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Good news in Iraq; sobering news from Afghanistan. Listen to the entire interview at WGIRam.com.

Pick up the best book I've read all year at Amazon.com.

And check out Michael's latest dispatched at PajamasMedia.com.

On the Air

I'm filling in again for Charlie Sherman on WGIR this morning.
Scheduled to appear:
Michael Yon, live from Iraq.

James Pindell of PolitickerNH.com
Monarchs Coach Mark Morris

Mike Biundo of the NH Advantage Coalition

We'll talk about gambling in New Hampshire, based on a story in yesterday's Concord Monitor:
Lauren Dorgan of the Concord Monitor
Jim Rubens from the NH Coalition Against Expanded Gambling
Senator Lou D'Allesandro, a strong supporter of slot machines at NH tracks.

Call in at (603) 645-6161 or tune in live at wgiram.com

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Gambling in NH?

As legislators scramble to fix the budget mess they created, they might turn to expanded gambling to generate free money. Lauren Dorgan takes an extensive look at the chances of slot machines coming to New Hampshire next year in this morning's Concord Monitor:

The pro-gambling case has made inroads in the House and Senate over the past year. Last spring, a slot machine bill narrowly failed in the Senate; this fall, the House Ways and Means Committee voted 9-8 to recommend a bill to expand gambling. That's a tremendous change, said Jim Demers, a lobbyist who represents Millennium Gaming, the Las Vegas-based company that wants to install slot machines at Salem's Rockingham Park, a horse and dog racetrack.

"I think the actions of the House Ways and Means Committee, which is not considered an extremely pro-gambling committee, speaks volumes to the concerns legislators have as to how to deal with the budgetary process," Demers said.

We'll talk to Lauren tomorrow morning on the WGIR Morning News, where I'll be filling in for Charlie Sherman.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

No Recount in District 3

Judge Bud Martin has withdrawn his recount request in District 3. Bill Denley is the Senator-Elect.

Congratulations, Senator Denley.

Speaking Out: Four Years Later

After four years without leadership, someone is finally starting to hold John Lynch accountable for his popular but directionless reign as Governor:
John Lynch is "the worst governor the state has ever had," former Gov. John H. Sununu told members of the Seacoast Federated Republican Women meeting yesterday in Portsmouth.

Later, explaining his opinion to a reporter, Sununu cited a $250 million state budget deficit; what he called the erosion of family values in the last legislative session; and Lynch's failure to persuade lawmakers from his own party to vote for his constitutional amendment on education.

"A deficit that size is huge and makes it impossible to do anything else worthwhile," Sununu said. "The deficit and the education issue are the two biggest issues in New Hampshire."

Lynch has never shown real leadership, has repeatedly been streamrolled by the extreme spenders in his own party, and has consistantly avoided making any decision that might risk his own popularity. I'm glad Governor Sununu is addressing New Hampshire's mounting financial trainwreck head-on, and John Lynch is driving the train.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Best of WGIR

Here are some of the best interviews from my three-day stint filling in for Charlie Sherman on the WGIR Morning News.

Doug and Skip of Granite Grok.

Manchester Mayor Frank Guinta

House Speaker Terie Norelli

Bond. And more Bond. Maybe I'll post a review of Quantum of Solace.

Jim Merrill, who wants to draft John Sununu for the RNC.

Newly elected Senate Minority Leader Peter Bragdon.

Back on the air Monday morning at 6am, with Michael Yon.

Victory is Mine!

Getting results in Manchester!

Yesterday was James Bond Day in Manchester. Thank you, Mayor Guinta.

UPDATE: Roger Ebert isn't thrilled. His review seems to long for the days of Roger Moore and underwater cars. Yikes!

Back to blogging

Okay, sorry about that whole two month absence.

I promised to keep blogging after the Primary, but as I was helping Bill Denley win a State Senate seat in Wolfeboro, I was a little busy.

Plus, I didn't want anything stupid I said to hurt his chances. Needless to say, I'm thrilled that Bill held off Bud Martin in District 3. Judge Martin seems like a good guy, and I certainly salute his service to New Hampshire for 30 years on the bench.

But he has no modesty at all about the role of government. At one debate, he actually gave a closing statement saying how he "wants to take care of you." Yikes!
Bill Denley is an experienced businessman, a distinguished veteran, a former school board member and State Rep. Now, he'll be an outstanding Senator.

So, I'll be back to posting. I welcome your comments and emails.