Well, it’s not only Monday, but it’s the last year of the fiscal year for both the city of Manchester and the state of New Hampshire. Tomorrow marks the first day of the new fiscal year which means a whole bunch of new taxes and fees will come into play. On the state level, of course, the big one is the twenty three percent gas tax increase. For some reason, we think today’s going to be a busy day at the pump as Granite Staters continue to express their dissatisfaction with lawmakers for hiking the gas tax as gas prices are at or above historic highs. In the Queen City, fee hikes for building, planning and zoning permit fees will zap taxpayers starting tomorrow as will a new fee to dispose of so called “e waste” at the city’s Dunbarton Road drop off facility. Expect to pay seven and a half cents per pound for you televisions, computer monitors and the like. Somehow, I’m thinking that’s only gonna add to the number of abandoned television sets along city sidewalks and in alleyways.
Anyway, speaking of tomorrow, the Manchester Board of Mayor and Aldermen will be in session. As expected, there’s little on the agenda to indicate that the board is serious about changing the way the city does business. In fact, there’s evidence that they’re looking to do more of the same as the Committee on the Community Improvement Program voted to allow the police department to apply for more federal COPS grants, something that Mayor Ted Gatsas has opposed. Also on the agenda is a request from Fire Chief James Burkush to eliminate a District Chief and create a lesser paid Fire Marshall to oversee the two inspectors and their secretary in the Fire Prevention Bureau, which proves what some of us have said for twenty years, by the way, and that is you don’t need a district chief to oversee the Fire Prevention Bureau, and begs a question: Why can’t one of the two deputy chiefs or the chief himself directly oversee the two inspectors and their secretary?
Also on the agenda is a reply from Second District Congresswoman Ann McLane Kuster to Mayor Gatsas’ request that the state’s congressional delegation seek a waiver for the city to the ObamaCare Cadillac Tax. Kuster explained that the tax is quote “aimed at helping with the rate of growth in health care costs and implementation of the law.” So, according to Kuster, the eighty billion dollars she says the tax is projected to raise over the next ten years will lower the rate of growth in health care costs. Ah-hem, she went on to tell Gatsas that she would quote “keep his thoughtful views and concerns in mind as she continues to work with her colleagues on both sides of the aisle to monitor and improve the rollout of the A C A.” Gatsas’ Letter, Kuster’s Letter.
News from our own backyard continues after this
Fallout in the state continues in wake of the U S Supreme Court‘s unanimous rejection of the Massachusetts Buffer Zone Bill. That bill established a protest free zone around abortion clinics in the Commonwealth and served as the model for the law recently enacted in New Hampshire. Former Senator Bob Smith issued a statement on Friday applauding the decision and hammering rival Scott Brown for his support of the law. Senator Smith said, “ The unanimous decision of the Justices speaks volumes, as to how extreme this law was in the first place. It was a direct affront to our First Amendment freedoms and the law was originally crafted to harass pro-life people, who only wished to peacefully protest and perhaps save the life of an unborn child. Scott Brown voted for the buffer zone bill, when he was a Massachusetts state senator. Liberal Governor, Maggie Hassan, also signed the ‘buffer zone’ into law in New Hampshire and Senator Shaheen has long been an outspoken advocate for abortion. Once again Senator Brown finds himself aligned with the left and out of touch with the Republican Party. I am proud to announce that I am thrilled with the high court’s decision and that I am the only pro-life Republican in the race for U.S. Senate and that I support the Republican Party platform 100%.” End quote. Brown has been quoted in media reports saying he didn’t regret his vote and called on Governor Margaret Wood Hassan and the General Court to take what he called the court’s guidance and modify the bill to comply with the ruling.
The New Hampshire Republican Party is condemning the state’s two Democratic congresswomen for voting against a bi-partisan bill aimed at lowering gas prices. House Resolution forty eight ninety nine, the Lowering Gasoline Prices to Fuel an America That Works Act of 2 0 1 4, would open new areas to energy exploration and development on our vast on and off-shore federal lands. The bill reverses the Obama Administration’s policies that have driven federal oil production down six percent and federal natural gas down 28 percent since the president took office. Currently, the U.S. is experiencing an energy boom on state and private lands – where natural gas production is up 33 percent and oil is up 61 percent since two thousand nine. G O P Chair Jennifer Horn said the failure of Carol Shea Porter and Ann McLane Kuster to support the bill which passed the House with a bi-partisan vote, showed the Democratic congresswomen were quote “wildly out of touch with the needs of New Hampshire, and their vote against lowering gas prices during the busiest driving season of the year hurts the working class families who are already struggling.” The G O P released noted gas prices are at a six year high.
Finally this morning, our congratulations to Sergeant Brandon Murphy of the Manchester Police Department. He was awarded the American Legion’s prestigious New Hampshire Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Award.