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Monday, August 17, 2009

Speaker's logic fails common sense test

The debate over cost-shifting continues in the Foster's Daily Democrat. Democrats in the NH Legislature claim their budget increased aid. The paper puts it like this - "The bottom line is that the state budget has forced local officials to play Twister with their budgets."
Monday, August 17, 2009

If N.H. House Speaker Terie Norelli and Sen. Maggie Hassan are correct — that the Legislature did not trim funding to cities and towns — why do those cities and towns think they did?

Case in point: Last week the speaker took Foster's to task for an Aug. 10 editorial, "Don't play the Concord Game."

That editorial discussed the loss of block grant money to cities and towns. Specifically noted was Dover's struggle to "fill a $600,000 gap in revenue."

In an editorial response published on Saturday, Aug. 15, the speaker took Foster's to task: "The editorial in Monday's Foster's Daily Democrat asserted that the state has 'piled a load of expenses' onto local communities and local taxpayers. This is simply not true."

The speaker then went on to point out how good a job the Legislature did in making "prudent choices," comments echoed in an earlier opinion piece by Sen. Hassan and published in Foster's.

What the speaker failed to address was Dover's non-shortfall shortfall in state funding of $600,000. Instead she changed the subject and defended the Legislature's decision to make cities and towns pay a greater share of retirement costs.

But as noted by Foster's before and here, isn't that cost shifting?

Well, approximately 155 of 193 municipalities and about half the school districts in New Hampshire think it is. Those are the numbers of expected participants in a lawsuit being mounted to challenge that decision. (more)

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