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Sunday, October 18, 2009

For state, a $110 million question

Daniel Barrick recaps the JUA Lawsuit in the Concord Monitor, and examines what would happen if the state loses the $110 million it seized to balance the state budget.
"Am I concerned? You bet," House Speaker Terie Norelli said last week. "But am I afraid we're about to get knocked off a cliff? Not at all. There is not an immediate crisis."

Still, others say the tensions that accompanied last week's layoff announcement barely hint at the difficult decisions that will be necessary if the state loses its claim to the malpractice money. Some, including Republicans in the Legislature, are calling for Lynch to offer specific plans now in preparation for that outcome.

"Frankly, a hole of the magnitude we're talking about is going to require a top-to-bottom re-evaluation of the budget. You can't just tweak here and there," said Charlie Arlinghaus, president of the Josiah Bartlett Center for Public Policy, a free-market think tank in Concord. "The difficulties get worse the longer you delay."

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