Ed Butler: State support for tourism an easy investment to make

From Jaffrey to Pittsburg, New Hampshire’s tourism industry is an important driver of the economies of our local communities. 
We know that New Hampshire’s tourism industry employs more than 60,000 Granite Staters. Indeed, tourism is the second largest industry in our economy, generating over $5 billion in economic activity annually. A basic rule of thumb (and arguing point!) is that every $1 spent on tourism promotion generates more than $8 in revenue. Some would argue, as did a recent article in Forbes, that tourism drives even more money into our state – what about those second homes that are purchased by those who visit a few times, love New Hampshire and decide to invest in a vacation home? Or decide to retire here? Or decide to live here and raise their family because of our quality of life?

The trick is to reach out to those considering an adventurous vacation or a quick getaway to renew their relationships and their energies — to get them to choose New Hampshire. And that is done, in significant part, by our state Department of Travel and Tourism, and the marketing monies with which they support our local chambers and other New Hampshire marketing entities.

As an owner, with my husband, of a country inn in Crawford Notch, I know firsthand the benefit of promoting our state’s tourism economy. People come back season after season, year after year, for the quiet beauty of nature that surrounds us and the activities that nature provides. They explore the many bounties of our mountains and lakes while also enjoying our restaurants, shops and attractions.

A few years ago, the legislature made the decision to make a small increase in the rooms and meals tax in order to dedicate a portion of that money to increasing the promotion of our state. The payoff has been better than we expected, with continued growth in the tourism sector helping communities across the state.

Gov. Maggie Hassan’s budget called for about $9.4 million in funding for tourism promotion. The House budget slashed that to almost nothing. The Senate committee recently voted to put back some of that money. Yes! But not to the level proposed by the governor.

We keep talking about wanting to improve our state’s economy; that we need to find ways to increase revenues so that we can better fund essential services and yet, by underfunding a sector that clearly supports tens of thousands of jobs and returns the investment many times over, we are, yet again, being penny-wise and pound-foolish. 

I can’t see the logic, and I urge you to reach out to your state Senator and ask them to fully restore the funding for promotion of our state.

Bringing more people to experience our state’s beauty, hospitality and the adventures that await should be an easy investment to make. It always pays off.

http://www.conwaydailysun.com/opinion/columns/120838-ed-butler-state-support-for-tourism-an-easy-investment-to-make
Rep. Ed Butler, D-Hart’s Location is the representative for Carroll District 7, which includes the towns of Albany, Bartlett, Chatham, Conway, Eaton, Freedom, Hale’s Location, Hart’s Location, Jackson, Madison and Tamworth.

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the majority agrees: Frank Guinta should resign

A new American Research Group survey finds that 74% of registered voters in New Hampshire’s 1st congressional district say Rep. Frank Guinta (R-NH) should resign from Congress following the FEC finding that Guinta broke federal campaign finance laws by accepting illegal campaign contributions from his parents.   (source)

Guinta also received sizeable donations of both time and money from Republican presidential hopefuls looking to score votes in 2016.

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Community Conversation on NH State Budget ~ Wolfeboro, May 21

From NH Citizens Alliance:

The budget proposals being considered for the NH State budget may result in increased property tax and other local expenses.  There is still a window of opportunity to express your concerns to your NH Senator. To learn more please plan to attend our FINAL Community Conversation on the Budget. This is NH Citizens Alliances’ second round of Community Conversations.  This series has featured budget expert Jeff McLynch of NH Fiscal Policy Institute. 

Community Conversation on NH State Budget  ~  Wolfeboro

Thursday  5/21/15  5:30-7pm;  Wolfeboro Public Libary 259 So. Main St, Wolfeboro, NH 03894

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Lincoln Chafee in Wakefield May 21

Former RI Senator and Governor exploring Presidential Run

Lincoln Davenport Chafee has the distinction of serving as a mayor, governor, and United States Senator. He is now exploring the possibility of running for President in 2016 and would like the opportunity to meet with NH voters one-on-one.  To achieve that he will be joining the Moose Mountain Democrats at the Poor Peoples Pub in Wakefield NH on Thursday May 21st at noon.  All are welcome to come meet the former mayor/governor/Senator and the rest of the Moose Mountain Democrats.

Poor Peoples Pub is located at 1 Witchtrot Rd, Sanbornville, NH 03872

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Jacki Cilley on the Budget

Published Date: Friday, 15 May 2015 08:33

The New Hampshire Senate held more than five hours of budget hearings on Wednesday, May 6. For several hours I listened to one citizen after another plead for funding for a host of our state’s needs. Through it all there was a nagging feeling that something was missing.

My heart ached for a mother who lost one child to cancer last year and was losing another to the ravages of mental illness as she pled for adequate funding for mental health.

Still there was something missing.

Representatives Hall was filled to capacity as was the House gallery, the ante-room, and the corridor outside. Some attendees were escorted to the State House cafeteria to wait for room to open up in the House chamber. More than 1,000 citizens are estimated to have turned out for the hearing. Approximately 400 signed up to testify on the House-passed budget. Others signed in favor or in opposition. Still others just came to bear witness.

Yet, there was something missing.

One mother said, “I come here every two years to say the same things. We shouldn’t have to beg you for support year after year.” Like so many parents of developmentally disabled children, she beseeched the committee to reinstate the thin safety net that provides for someone to care for her child while she works each day. These parents pay property and other taxes and save the state tens of thousands, if not millions, of dollars by not turning these adult children over to state care.

But, there was something missing.

Folks from chambers of commerce and tourism-related businesses asked for restoration of state tourism promotional dollars, noting a nine-to-one return on every dollar invested in promoting New Hampshire’s tourism, an industry accounting for more than 34 million visits and $4.5 billion in spending.

There were students from New Hampshire colleges, including the student president of Keene State College who has seen friends drop out due to tuition costs and escalating debt. “I love New Hampshire. I want to stay here and contribute, but my college debt and the lack of affordability of living here will likely result in my leaving when I graduate.” He won’t be alone as he joins an alarming number of our young people abandoning New Hampshire for more hospitable climes.

Many sported neon green T-shirts with the chalk outline of a body on the front bearing the number 321, the number of those who had died in the past year from drug over-doses. They entreated the Committee to restore funding for drug and alcohol treatment and prevention to save lives. They noted New Hampshire is now experiencing the worst opioid crisis of its history.
Dozens of seniors asked the Committee to save ServiceLink, a coordinating agency for seniors, and to restore funding for Meals on Wheels. There are very practical and economic reasons for maintaining adequate services to allow seniors to stay in their homes. If cuts result in the need for nursing home care, we currently could not accommodate them within the existing county nursing home structures.

Then, suddenly amid the supplications for prudent investments in New Hampshire’s economy, in educating and retaining our young people, and in crafting a budget that demonstrates our moral priorities, I realized what was missing. In all the hours of testimony, I had not heard one — not one — who stood up and asked for cuts to the budget, not one who implored the committee to tighten our collective belt and eliminate any of the programs being discussed. Not one person demanded fee and tax cuts. Even a North Country executive councilor, known for advocating fiscal belt tightening, pleaded with the committee to restore funding for economic development and services needed by his constituents.

Of the more than 800 signatures on sign-in sheets, 10 were in favor of the budget and the remainder in opposition. Some of the 10 may have been an error as two individuals indicated they were homeless (funds for homeless shelters have also been cut). Even if we accept every one of those 10 as being in favor of the budget, that is 1.2 percent of the citizens present at the hearings.

One has to ask where the outcry to slash these programs comes from. As one woman said to the Senate committee, “We heard loud and clear from the House: You don’t matter to us, your children don’t matter to us. Will you tell us the same thing?”
Is that really what we want to tell the citizens of our state — the vulnerable, our students, seniors, tourism businesses, the homeless — you don’t matter to us. Is that truly the best we can do?

Jackie Cilley is a New Hampshire State Representative and a native of Berlin.

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Mike Cryans Op-Ed

To the editor:
I am extremely disappointed with the recent budget passed by the New Hampshire House of Representatives. In particular, I want to highlight the impact it will have on crucial senior services.
This year’s budget calls for a 50 percent cut to the Meals on Wheels program, congregate meals at senior centers, transportation services for seniors, as well as the elimination of ServiceLink, which connects seniors to services available to them.
Over the years I have attended many congregate meals at numerous senior centers throughout northern New Hampshire. I thoroughly enjoy being part of the social atmosphere these dinners provide, as well as seeing the seniors appreciate a nutritious, delicious meal. After the meal, many of them remain at the center to relax, socialize, play various games, listen to entertainment, etc. I have seen firsthand the value of this wonderful program.
I had never actually participated in the Meals on Wheels program until last week, when I was able to join a Meals on Wheels driver during his rounds. It was an eye-opening experience.
In addition to having meals delivered to them, for many housebound seniors the deliverer is the only person they see all day. The driver I rode with explained to me the importance of checking in on these seniors to make sure they are safe. While many of them are experiencing difficult living situations, they are very appreciative just to see a smiling face. And, it is equally gratifying for the deliverer to visit with them.
I encourage all state senators as they prepare their budget to do as I did — take a ride with someone who delivers for the Meals on Wheels program. If they see firsthand what I saw, I doubt they will cut this valuable program along with the services being impacted by the House budget.
Indeed, all of the above programs help many seniors stay in their own homes/apartments at a much lower cost than their being in nursing homes.
My final thought. Can you imagine these vital services being cut by a staggering 50 percent? I can’t.
Michael J. Cryans
Grafton County
Commissioner
Hanover

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Carroll County Caucus

Please join us for the Carroll County Democratic Committee Caucus on Thursday, May 14, 2015, 6 p.m. at Runnells Hall, Chocorua, NH, and hear from our keynote speaker, EXECUTIVE COUNCILOR CHRIS PAPPAS, and other speakers who will get us ready for the 2015-2016 election season!!  Other business will include elect our officers for 2015-2016, and talking about how we can best elect Democrats up and down the ticket in 2016.   Please note that this event is a potluck and BYOB, please consider bringing a dish, and please consider running for a position on our executive committee (however please do not feel compelled to do any of these things to attend).    We will be electing a Chair, Vice-Chair, Secretary, Treasurer, and two at-large seats.    

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Madison, Tamworth & Freedom Democratic Caucus, Monday March 30th

Tonight; 6:30PM @ the Madison Library.

There will be a three-town caucus for all registered Democrats in Madison, Tamworth & Freedom.  The purpose of the caucus is to talk about local Democratic organizing and elect town coordinators who will help organize our efforts over the next few years.  We will discuss whether it makes sense for us to join forces to create a more effective local outreach and communication effort.

Please join us.  Representatives Butler and Ticehurst will attend and answer any questions you may have about the current legislative season.  Your Democratic neighbors and friends will discuss how we can be more successful in our local efforts.

The Madison Library is on Village Road next to the Fire Station and Town Hall and across the street from the Post Office.

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CARROLL COUNTY DEMOCRATIC CAUCUS

Thursday, May 14, 2015, 6 p.m. at Runnells Hall, Chocorua, NH

Please join us for the Carroll County Democratic Committee Caucus on Thursday, May 14, 2015, 6 p.m. at Runnells Hall, Chocorua, NH.  The caucus occurs every other year to elect our officers and prepare for the coming elections.  Our keynote speaker will be announced at a later date.  Please note that this event is a potluck and BYOB, and please consider running for a position on our executive committee.  We will be electing a Chair, Vice-Chair, Secretary, Treasurer, and two at-large seats.
E-Mail ctmeier@gmail.com with any questions, thoughts, or agenda items.

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