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Stop 'repurposing' of highway funds & then see if we need more

To The Daily Sun,

This is in response to Nick Vazzana's letter in the April 9th Sun:

While I agree with some of the points he brings up about the need for repairing/upgrading our roads, I do not think increasing the gas tax is the first step that should be taken. Instead, we should be focusing upon the unconstitutional use of highway funds for purposes other than those mandated by the state Constitution (Part II, Article 6-a) which states:

"[Use of Certain Revenues Restricted to Highways.] All revenue in excess of the necessary cost of collection and administration accruing to the state from registration fees, operators' licenses, gasoline road tolls or any other special charges or taxes with respect to the operation of motor vehicles or the sale or consumption of motor vehicle fuels shall be appropriated and used exclusively for the construction, reconstruction and maintenance of public highways within this state, including the supervision of traffic thereon and payment of the interest and principal of obligations incurred for said purposes; and no part of such revenues shall, by transfer of funds or otherwise, be diverted to any other purpose whatsoever."

At one point during the John Lynch's administration, up to a third of the monies in the Highway Fund were being siphoned off to pay for things having absolutely no connection to maintaining, building, or patrolling our state's roads, or enforcement of various traffic and transportation laws and regulations. Instead funds were repurposed to Health and Human Services, Family Court, and other state functions that could in no way, shape, or form be construed to be part of maintenance, construction, patrolling, or enforcing the laws and regulations that cover our highways. Gov. Lynch rightly labeled such illegal repurposing as "the legislature using the Highway Fund as an ATM."

Perhaps we should audit where the money from the Highway Fund has been spent, stop the misuse of those funds for purposes not allowed under the state Constitution, and then see if there's still a need to raise the gas tax. Without fixing the problem beforehand, the additional revenues anticipated from raising the gas tax may end up going anywhere but for the purposes intended. If it is found that the abuse has stopped, has not recurred, and there are indeed insufficient funds needed to repair and upgrade our roads and highways, then by all means I can support (reluctantly) an increase in the gas taxes. (Yes, I am loath to increasing taxes. Call it my stubborn Yankee frugality kicking in.)

Dale Channing Eddy

Gilford

Last Updated on Wednesday, 09 April 2014 09:58

Hits: 76

I found good health insurance on N.H. Marketplace for $90 a month

To The Daily Sun,

Growing up I was lucky to always have health insurance, but following a divorce, I learned I was going to lose my coverage and wouldn't be able to get it through my employer. For the first time in my life I was going to be uninsured, and even though I'm a healthy 25-year-old woman, I knew I needed to get covered in case anything happened.

In January, I went to coveringnewhampshire.org to shop for a plan on the Health Insurance Marketplace. I have a good job as a waitress in the Lakes Region, but I have a budget and was worried about the cost. I was budgeting $250 a month for a decent plan, but was happy to find that the "silver" plan cost $90 a month. That's what I spend on gas in a month. It was definitely worth $90 for me to have the peace of mind you get with health insurance.

I was also surprised at how easy it was to sign up. In about 30 minutes I was enrolled in a plan that offers all of the basics, like emergency room visits, prescription drugs and doctor visits. If you have time to sit down and watch your favorite show, you have time to sign up for health care.

I am young and just starting out in life. Facing huge medical bills on top of my student loan debt seemed too risky to me. I feel a lot better knowing that I won't have thousands of dollars in medical expenses thrown at me if I slip on ice in my driveway or get into a car accident. Going without health insurance is something you just can't afford.

Michelle Stanyan

Laconia

Last Updated on Wednesday, 09 April 2014 10:02

Hits: 28

Senior Citizens should really want Obamacare to be successful

To The Daily Sun,

On Page 18 of the AARP Bulletin for March 2014 is a very good article on Medicare. As seniors, we know that AARP is a very powerful advocate for us. I recommend that you read the article for yourself.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA), also called Obamacare, has language that protects guaranteed benefits and "the good news for Medicare recipients is new protections and benefits in the health law that strengthens Medicare and give more coverage" says Nancy LeaMond, an officer for AARP.

That the ACA cut Medicare by $716 billion is taken out of context and has been used in advertisements for political gain. It is not like taking $716 billion out of a bank account as implied in the ads. The ads are deliberately misleading.

The ACA does a great deal for seniors. People in the "doughnut hole" have saved over $8 billion since 2010.

The Part A trust fund insurance has been extended to 2026. The medical profession is under pressure from the ACA to improve efficiency and put some controls on costs.

It is my opinion that seniors should really want the Affordable Care Act to be successful. It has a positive impact on Medicare for both present and future recipients. Seniors should also be wary of politicians who advocate for its repel without explaining how they would guarantee benefits for Medicare.

Paul Bonneville

Lochmere (Tilton)

Last Updated on Tuesday, 08 April 2014 09:21

Hits: 85

Wicwas Lake Grange, now largest in N.H., will host open house

To The Daily Sun,

The Wicwas Lake Grange is a non-profit fraternal organization located in Meredith that does a significant amount of community service, including donating dictionaries to third-graders in schools located in the Lakes Region. In 2010, the Wicwas Lake Grange was in danger of closing its doors for good, due to a decline in membership. With the community's help, the Wicwas Lake Grange has grown from 10 members to nearly 100 members, making the Wicwas Lake Grange the largest Grange in the state of New Hampshire.

A little history of the New Hampshire Grange that people may not know. The Grange is responsible for the Rural Free Delivery program of the United States Post Office. The Grange is responsible for local libraries that have now become community public libraries. The Grange lobbied for the New Hampshire State Police Force and helped to establish the New Hampshire University System Agricultural Stations.

It is with great honor to recognize our long-time members who have outstanding years of service with the Wicwas Lake Grange. On Saturday, April 12, 2014, from 1-4 p.m., at the Wicwas Lake Grange, located at 150 Meredith Center Road in Meredith, the Wicwas Lake Grange will be holding its annual Open House to the public and recognizing their outstanding members for their years of service. Those names include Irene Greenleaf, 70 years; Joanne Berry, Mary Chamberlain, 65 years; Patricia Chamberlain, 55 years; Wayne Blake, 50 years; Linda Phelps, 40 years; Dana Lowe, 35 years; and Faith Clark, 25 years.

We will also be giving out the Meredith 2014 Citizen of the Year Award. Along with the recognition awards and the Citizen of the Year award, there will be displays for the dictionary project, history of the Grange, Junior Grange, UNH Agricultural display and a Maple Sapping display. The public is invited to attend the Open House.

Again, a very special "thank you" to our outstanding members.

Helga Paquin

Wicwas Lake Grange Secretary

Meredith

Last Updated on Tuesday, 08 April 2014 09:18

Hits: 92

Remember, New Hampshire does not need new energy facilities

To The Daily Sun,

Iberdrola announced they are "pausing" on the Wild Meadows Wind Farm. Yet, local residents aren't listening, mainly because they're still seeing work being conducted. Land is being cleared, studies are happening and utility trucks are seen frequently in the area.

The rumor behind the scene, on the so called "pause," is twofold: First: Iberdrola is being told by the state to fix the Groton mess, and second: the summer residents are coming. It's complicated, petty and political — but it's clearly an active construction site.

There are nine renewable energy plants and proposals within seven miles of Newfound Lake's shoreline. We're destined to become the state's largest renewable energy corridor with eight power plants and part of the Northern Pass project. Four of these will be wind power plants, two bio-mass plants, two hydro plants and part of the Northern Pass power line project.

Residents have consistently voted against additional wind power plants in the community. Their true concerns are: 1) watershed concerns, 2) lack of decommissioning funds, 3) safety concerns, 4) property value concerns, 5) tourism concerns, 6) jobs concerns 7) wildlife concerns, 8) sound concerns, 9) visual concerns and 10) legal issues at the Groton Wind Plant.

True concerns, lots of politics and very little answers are playing out. We're asking our leaders in Concord to protect businesses and residents alike. Why should New Hampshire businesses and residents pay higher electrical prices for electricity destined for southern states?

New Hampshire has been in the business of exporting excess electricity for decades and much of that money has helped New Hampshire residents. How does a foreign wind company taking profits, not only out-of-state but out-of-our-country, make sense for New Hampshire? And will our current power plants export less electricity because of it? That would be a worse-case scenario for New Hampshire.

Why are we paying to power southern states? Why are foreign energy companies being allowed to cut into our electricity exporting program (a proven program that our state has perfected and prospered from for decades) by entertaining the thought of an "unreliable" intermittent wind power source.

Remember: We don't have a "'need" for new energy facilities — this is all being driven by southern states. New Hampshire has more than enough "reliable" energy sources at hand. We have more than enough reliable electricity, we don't need more, let alone intermittent electricity.

Ray Cunningham

Bridgewater

Last Updated on Tuesday, 08 April 2014 09:13

Hits: 32

 
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