Entries by Editorial Staff

Rich Ashooh assumes chairmanship of the Josiah Bartlett Center

The Josiah Bartlett Center for Public Policy, New Hampshire’s free-market think tank, today announced the election of Richard Ashooh as Chairman of its Board of Directors. Ashooh has served on the Center’s Board since 2010, and succeeds Manchester attorney Eugene Van Loan, who remains on the Board himself. Ashooh takes over an organization known for […]

RGGI in New Hampshire: The First Two Years

In 2008, New Hampshire joined a ten-state regional compact designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through a cap-and-trade program on electric generation facilities. This report examines how that program has been implemented in New Hampshire over the past two years, how much revenue has been generated from the sale of carbon allowances, and how New Hampshire officials have spent that money.

Walter Peterson 1922-2011

Former Chairman of the Josiah Bartlett Center Walter Peterson was one of the great treasures of the state of New Hampshire. A former governor and university president, he was known to everyone simply as Walter and no one remembers him as anything other than a warm and wonderful man.

The Pension System is Broken and Can’t Be Fixed By Tinkering

Pension and retirement obligations are the biggest long term problem facing the state. New Hampshire’s four long-term pension and retiree health benefit obligations have current unfunded liabilities of more than $7 billion. Changing the state’s pension and health obligations is no longer optional.

Through the Retirement System, the state administers a pension plan for state and local employees and a retirement health benefit. Those two components have unfunded liabilities of $4.7 billion. In addition, outside of the system there is a much larger health benefit with an unfunded liability of $2.4 billion and a much smaller judicial retirement plan with rapidly eroding funding — $15 million in the hole after just five years.

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Higher Vanity Plate Fees bring small drop in Sales

Fewer New Hampshire drivers are paying a premium to customize their license plates, following a 60% increase in the fee. The New Hampshire Legislature increased the annual surcharge for customized plates from $25 to $40 as part of the 2009-2010 budget. The higher rate went into effect on August 1, 2009. One year after the fee increase, there were nearly 10,000 fewer vehicles with premium New Hampshire license plates. This drop-off represents a small fraction of car owners, as the percentage of vehicles with vanity plates has fallen from 14.8% to 14.3% of all cars on the road.

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Fiscal Management Starts at Home

The incoming Senate and House have their work cut out for them when it comes to the state budget. The economic downturn, coupled with decisions on the parts of both the Legislature and the Governor, have left a $700 to $800 million dollar hole in the budget. The Legislature, while looking for cuts in other departments, which resulted in hiring freezes and layoffs, increased its own budget faster than the budget overall. Given current revenue forecasts, overall spending will have to decrease. The Legislative Branch, having seen the largest increases, has much more room to cut than other departments. Though the Legislative Branch accounts for less than 1% of the budget, it is crucial for legislators to lead by example