Why I'm Moving Home

New York Times
COLUMBUS, Ohio — In recent months, I’ve frequently found myself in places hit hard by manufacturing job losses, speaking to people affected in various ways. Sometimes, the conversation turns to the conflict people feel between the love of their home and the desire to leave in search of better work.
It’s a conflict I know well: I left my home state, Ohio, for the Marine Corps when I was 19. And while I’ve returned home for months or even years at a time, job opportunities often pull me away.
Experts have warned for years now that our rates of geographic mobility have fallen to troubling lows. Given that some areas have unemployment rates around 2 percent and others many times that, this lack of movement may mean joblessness for those who could otherwise work.
But from the community’s perspective, mobility can be a problem. The economist Matthew Kahn has shown that in Appalachia, for instance, the highly skilled are much likelier to leave not just their hometowns but also the region as a whole. This is the classic “brain drain” problem: Those who are able to leave very often do.
The brain drain also encourages a uniquely modern form of cultural detachment. Eventually, the young people who’ve moved out marry — typically to partners with similar economic prospects. They raise children in increasingly segregated neighborhoods, giving rise to something the conservative scholar Charles Murray calls “super ZIPs.” These super ZIPs are veritable bastions of opportunity and optimism, places where divorce and joblessness are rare.
As one of my college professors recently told me about higher education, “The sociological role we play is to suck talent out of small towns and redistribute it to big cities.” There have always been regional and class inequalities in our society, but the data tells us that we’re living through a unique period of segregation.
This has consequences beyond the purely material. Jesse Sussell and James A. Thomson of the RAND Corporation argue that this geographic sorting has heightened the polarization that now animates politics. This polarization reflects itself not just in our voting patterns, but also in our political culture: Not long before the election, a friend forwarded me a conspiracy theory about Bill and Hillary Clinton’s involvement in a pedophilia ring and asked me whether it was true.
It’s easy to dismiss these questions as the ramblings of “fake news” consumers. But the more difficult truth is that people naturally trust the people they know — their friend sharing a story on Facebook — more than strangers who work for faraway institutions. And when we’re surrounded by polarized, ideologically homogeneous crowds, whether online or off, it becomes easier to believe bizarre things about them. This problem runs in both directions: I’ve heard ugly words uttered about “flyover country” and some of its inhabitants from well-educated, generally well-meaning people.
I’ve long worried whether I’ve become a part of this problem. For two years, I’d lived in Silicon Valley, surrounded by other highly educated transplants with seemingly perfect lives. It’s jarring to live in a world where every person feels his life will only get better when you came from a world where many rightfully believe that things have become worse. And I’ve suspected that this optimism blinds many in Silicon Valley to the real struggles in other parts of the country. So I decided to move home, to Ohio.
It wasn’t an easy choice. I scaled back my commitments to a job I love because of the relocation. My wife and I worry about the quality of local public schools, and whether she (a San Diego native) could stand the unpredictable weather.
But there were practical reasons to move: I’m founding an organization to combat Ohio’s opioid epidemic. We chose Columbus because I travel a lot, and I need to be centrally located in the state and close to an airport. And the truth is that not every motivation is rational: Part of me loves Ohio simply because it’s home.
I recently asked a friend, Ami Vitori Kimener, how she thought about her own return home. A Georgetown graduate, Ami left a successful career in Washington to start new businesses in Middletown, Ohio. Middletown is in some ways a classic Midwestern city: Once thriving, it was hit hard by the decline of the region’s manufacturing base in recent decades. But the town is showing early signs of revitalization, thanks in part to the efforts of those like Ami.
Talking with Ami, I realized that we often frame civic responsibility in terms of government taxes and transfer payments, so that our society’s least fortunate families are able to provide basic necessities. But this focus can miss something important: that what many communities need most is not just financial support, but talent and energy and committed citizens to build viable businesses and other civic institutions.
Of course, not every town can or should be saved. Many people should leave struggling places in search of economic opportunity, and many of them won’t be able to return. Some people will move back to their hometowns; others, like me, will move back to their home state. The calculation will undoubtedly differ for each person, as it should. But those of us who are lucky enough to choose where we live would do well to ask ourselves, as part of that calculation, whether the choices we make for ourselves are necessarily the best for our home communities — and for the country.
(J. D. Vance is the author of “Hillbilly Elegy” and a contributing opinion writer.)

Poof Tardiff: 1949 X

Hello fellow Berlinites. During the fall of 1949, it was noted that two local men had passed away because of the results of polio. Both men were only 30 years of age and this prompted the local news media to put in their headlines that “Berlin's polio cases are no reason for alarm”.

“There was no reason for panic or even alarm in connection with Berlin's recent cases of polio back in 1949”, said Dr. E. M. Danais who had taken a special course in the study and treatment of this disease recently in New York City.

This had to be a tough thing to explain to the friends and relatives of the two men who had lost their lives after contracting polio. It was also alarming for those living here to know what had transpired, as others were diagnosed with this disease..

“”Four cases among 20,000 people is not an epidemic and should not cause alarm”, said Danais. “Very few polio victims remain paralyzed and such a case as that which caused the deaths the other day was rare”. Anyone who had a persistent headache, a pain in the neck or stiff neck, a sore throat and mild fever back then, should have seen a doctor, advised Berlin's East Side physician. “Although the symptoms were in no way a definite indication of polio, they were present in most cases”, he said.

When there was a possibility that a child might have contracted polio, the other children in the family should have remained home and had a medical checkup. Also, because medical knowledge of polio was still incomplete, there were no standard steps. People had good reason to be nervous about polio back then because of its effects. It wasn't until 1955, that Dr. Jonas Salk introduced the vaccine to fight polio.

On December 8, 1949, a new automotive store opened at 80 Main Street. This store was called Myrals and had a complete stock of toys and accessories. Gerard Caron of this city, served as manager of the store, which opened for the citizens convenience with electrical work on interior and exterior still remaining to be finished. This business was eventually replaced by Mount Forest Studio in later years.

On Saturday, November 19, 1949, seven people were rescued in a huge Berlin blaze. This early morning fire burned up part of the Costello filling station and its annex ( across Pleasant Street from today's Dunkin Donuts), into a blazing inferno.

The fire routed seven people from their beds, injured two men and cost $75,000 damage. The fire which occurred on November 19, 1949, was believed to have been caused by a defective wire beneath a stairway in the center of the building.

The fire spread into the three-story annex and then out through the garage and over the filling station that was all located at the corner of Pleasant and Green Streets. This conflagration burned away a part of the stairway so that John Ainesworth, night attendant at the gas station, found it impossible to dash up into the flaming building to rescue his wife. He was forced to leap back down the stairway to save his own life and in the process suffered a sprained ankle and burns about his face. Mr. Ainesworth was treated by Dr. R. H. McVetty, a long time famous local MD.

Police Marshall Oleson and Etienne Vallee were the first to notice this destructive fire. Officer Oleson said that he first saw a few flames about 6:40 am in one part of the building and began running toward the fire alarm box. After glancing back a few seconds later and noticed that the flames had grown tremendously.

Mrs. Ainesworth, along with Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Landers, Mrs. Robert Cooney and two-year-old daughter Sharon, Emile Lacasse and Miss Olive Larrivee, climbed out windows onto the connecting roof and were assisted to safety by the firefighters. Call firemen Arthur Montminy tore a ligament in his right leg and was treated by Dr. Irving Moffett.

The fire alarms and sirens caused people in all sections of the city to notice the flames leaping high into the sky on the”Square”. A crowd gathered quickly at the scene and remained throughout the early part of the morning. It was believed to have been the most destructive fire since the nearby Armour building burned in the early 1940's.

Three autos, lodged in the rear of the garage were destroyed. They were owned by Herbert Costello, Carl Day and Lucien Lavoie.

When the firemen began connecting hose to the hydrants, a hydrant in the rear of the building broke and supplied hardly any water during the height of the fire. Chief Bergquist reported that the fire could have been knocked down quicker, if the hydrant at not been broken.

A stream of water was played on the wall of the nearby Connare recapping plant in a successful effort to keep the flames from reaching the tires.

The chief explained that one of the stairways could not be used because of a junk pile at the bottom and this left too few exits for the people that were stuck in the building. This city was lucky not to lose any lives in this fire.

Berlin had a distinguished and controversial speaker in town, when Mr. William Loeb of Manchester, New Hampshire and Burlington, Vermont visited to give a feature talk at the annual banquet of the Chamber of Commerce in early December.

At the time, he was the president of the Union Leader Corporation and publisher of the New Hampshire Sunday News. He was also at this time the publisher of Burlington Daily News and the St. Alban's Messenger.

Mr. Loeb was the son of the secretary of Theodore Roosevelt and was born in Washington, DC during 1905. He was well educated at Williams College and Harvard Law school. His discussion was on national and foreign affairs.

Finally, Miss JoAnn Rydin, a graduate of Berlin High School in 1947 and enrolled with the class of UNH in 1950 was chosen as Kampus Kitten the third week of October 1949, by the staff of the University's weekly newspaper.

JoAnn, was the vice president of AlphaKi and was planning on teaching French. She was also a member of the French, Canterbury and Felio clubs and enjoyed swimming and dancing.

Her vitals statistics reported by the”New Hampshire” were: height 5'4”, weight 120 pounds, hair satin brown, eyes deep blue, personality plus; dating data unknown; favorite songs , “Some Enchanted Evening” and “Embraceable You” She followed last year's Kampus Kitten who was another Berlin belle by the name of Mary Ann Prowell.

I will finish with this historical year in my next writing.

Poof Tardiff writes a weekly column for The Berlin Daily Sun. Questions or comments email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Also, join the many fans of “Once upon a Berlin Time” on Facebook and guess at the weekly posted mystery pictures.

Rydin JoAnnJoAnn Rydin

Loeb WilliamWilliam Loeb

Danais E.ME.M. Danais

Costelloss GarageCostello's Garage

The Need for Transparency

By Garry Rayno
Distant Dome

Public officials and other notables never learn: It is not the crime, but the cover-up that will get you every time.
From Nixon’s Watergate to Martha Stewart’s insider trading, the cover-up brought them down, not a third-rate burglary or the actual stock trade prior to a major corporate announcement.
While not on as big of a stage, the Croydon school board is dancing on a very fine line by refusing to release the names of those who contributed to the board’s legal defense fund.
The courts ruled against the board’s use of tax money to send a handful of their students to a private school, including its chair’s two children and her nephew. The town’s school teaches kindergarten through fourth grade, and the town contracts with the Newport School District to provide education for fifth through twelfth grades.
By sending students to private schools, the school board is establishing a school voucher program, something defeated by state lawmakers numerous times.
To fight the state attorney general’s ruling that prohibits the use of tax dollars to send students to private schools, the board established a legal fund and sought donations. To date, the board has refused to release the names of people who contributed to the fund, citing a law that does not apply to a legal fund for a public entity and the privacy rights of the contributors.
Newly appointed Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut didn’t disclose that he contributed to the fund when he was nominated to the post earlier this year by Gov. Chris Sununu, although he sponsored legislation last year supporting Croydon and backed the board’s cause as a gubernatorial candidate.
He publicly said he contributed earlier this week after Executive Councilor Andru Volinsky, D-Concord, asked him directly if he had.
With the blessing of Sununu, lawmakers are soon likely to approve allowing communities without schools of their own to send students to private and religious schools and the issue will be mute.
But that does not address the question of who contributed to the legal fund.
The issue is accountability and the public’s right-to-know who is influencing decisions made by public officials.
Finding out who pulls the strings of influence of lawmakers is becoming more and more difficult with the advent of “advocacy groups” that do not have to publicly name their contributors.
Political candidates and their political action committees do have to release the names of contributors.
Education or advocacy groups are forbidden from contributing or actively working for or against candidates, but many push the limits to the breaking point and often have a political counterpart for the direct contributions.
For example, Americans For Prosperity fought Medicaid expansion in New Hampshire and continues to oppose its reauthorization. While the group did not endorse any candidates, it worked very hard to defeat the Republican state senators and House members who supported the Affordable Care Act program.
Americans For Prosperity has continually pushed business tax reductions, the repeal of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), and right-to-work legislation, but does not disclose who its donors are although most of the organization’s money comes from the Koch brothers.
Another group, Cornerstone Action, actively worked to defeat last year’s bill outlawing conversion therapy to change a teenager’s sexual orientation. The group opposes Common Core, and advocates for school vouchers, pro-choice legislation, parental rights, religious freedom and limited government.
As part of its advocacy, it taps into national groups whose members are more than willing to send emails and make phone calls for their positions.
The group organized an email and phone effort against the transgender rights bill that caught the attention of Republican House Speaker Shawn Jasper, who worked successfully to defeat the bill after the House Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs Committee voted 15-2 to approve the bill before the House vote.
Several House members noted most of the emails opposing the bill were from out-of-state residents and not their constituents.
The advocacy groups are not only on the right side of the political spectrum, but are also on the left.
One such group, Granite State Progress, advocates on many issues before New Hampshire lawmakers, from raising the minimum wage to opposing repealing the need for a concealed weapons permit.
Another group, NH Freedom to Marry, helped push through same-sex marriage several years ago and continues to monitor attempts to change the law.
Neither group has to disclose its donors.
The problem is transparency.
Who is influencing Granite State legislators, executive councilors, or even the governor in crafting policy and laws for New Hampshire?
Groups like the Business and Industry Association have members so you know who they represent, as you do with NEA-NH and other labor unions or groups representing auto dealers and restaurant owners.
A national group, the Marijuana Policy Project, has fought for years to at least decriminalize the possession of small amounts of cannabis, with an eye to eventually legalizing its use.
Public opinion polls show legalizing marijuana is supported by a majority of state residents, yet the attempts to reduce the penalty for possession to the equivalent of a parking ticket has failed to either pass the Senate or the governor’s desk.
Why? Because the NH police chiefs association has opposed it and worked hard to convince lawmakers of its position.
In the past, liquor brokers had a great deal of influence with lawmakers as did the race tracks and railroads.
There used to be the university mafia that advocated for UNH and the other public, higher-education institutions.
And there used to be the influence of the Union Leader, Concord Monitor, Foster’s Daily Democrat, Nashua Telegraph and WMUR, but no longer.
People lament the influence of money in the political system, particularly at the national level, but small states like New Hampshire are not immune from the massive amounts of money now being spent on elections and influencing policy, laws and regulations.
Small states like New Hampshire are very susceptible to outside money as well as the legions of volunteers the advocacy groups attract to knock on doors, make phone calls and man booths at events.
Several years ago, the state Senate tried to make advocacy groups who were mailing negative brochures against candidates disclose their donors.
The subcommittee gave up trying to make any meaningful change after many months of work, having found it difficult to legally separate the American Cancer Society or Easter Seals from those dumping thousands of dollars of last-minute attack pieces against a candidate.
This session, three Republican senators — Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley, and Sens. Sharon Carson and Dan Innis — have introduced Senate Bill 33, which will modify the definition of “political advocacy organization” to include any group that spends over $5,000 and refers to a clearly identified candidate or candidates.
The Senate Election Law and Internal Affairs Committee voted 3-2 to recommend killing SB33, but the Senate voted 14-9 to pass it with five Republicans joining nine Democrats to send the bill to the House, which has yet to act on it.
This is “Sunshine Week,” when news organizations try to shed some light on information that government tries to keep from the public.
If SB33 passes the House, maybe a little “sunshine” will illuminate some of the dark money flowing into the state to influence elections.
More work needs to be done to shed light on the money used to affect policy and laws in New Hampshire, because that requires a change at the federal level and that is not going to happen any time soon.
(Garry Rayno’s Distant Dome will explore a broader perspective on State House – and state – happenings. Over his three-decade career Rayno has closely covered the NH State House for the New Hampshire Union Leader and Foster’s Daily Democrat. His column is sponsored by Manchester Ink Link and InDepthNH.org.

Poof Tardiff: 1949 IX

Hello fellow Berlinites. After all the hoopla that we had a couple of weeks ago about the refurbished Nansen Ski Jump, the Olympic star Sarah Hendrickson and her historic jump, a great story about jumping was printed in an October paper of 1949.

The city of Berlin was awarded a top ski event for January 21-22, 1950. It was the National Combined Championship in both jumping and cross-country, which was awarded to the Nansen Ski Club. This championship meet was the most outstanding combined event awarded by the National Ski Association to any club at this time.

The jumping and skiing would be held at the great 80 meter ski jump on the Berlin-Milan Road and arrangements were made so that skiers from Norway, Sweden, Finland, Canada and the United States would compete in this event The Nansen Ski Club had already begun work on the big hill to make it as smooth as possible and dug out the bottom in order to enable the jumpers to reach their maximum distance on the hill.

Also, the club had laid out the cross-country course in 1947 that was about 12 miles in length. This course ran from the big jump towards Milan, over Milan Hill, towards, Copperville, around Cates Hill and back to the place of origin. This course had been carefully measured in order to meet the specifications governing cross-country skiing in the entire world. The path was one third uphill, one third downhill and one third on flat land.

According to the previous runners in the past two winters, the Berlin track was recognized as one of the best laid out courses in the United States. By October of 1949, the Nansen Ski Club was already working hard on this championship event, in hopes of making it the most interesting meet in the East in 1950. The club felt that this could be accomplished in view of the fact that the field of competitors would be so large.

During a Sunday afternoon October 16, 1949, the Birdie Tebbetts All-Star baseball game was played here at the Memorial Field and it was a huge success from a spectator standpoint, but not monetarily. The weather was ideal and the big leaguers put on a great show, as did the local players.

The major-league baseball players acted as professionals both on and off the field while they were in town. There were a credit to the game of baseball, as our Berlin youngsters were impressed and their idols did not let them down.

“The Bowladrome opens eight modern bowling alleys on Glen Avenue”. This was the headline in Berlin's business news on October 13, 1949. “For a bang-up time try the new C+S Bowladrome”, which opened on October 12, 1949. This building was a two-year project, built by Alfred “Chubby” Willette and Gerard “Sam” Morin, with the help of relatives during off-duty hours, evenings and Saturdays.

It was a completely new modern building with a rustic knotty pine interior. The structure was air-conditioned for summer and also heated for winter comfort.. The building which was 105 feet long and 45 feet wide was well lighted with overhead florescent fixtures. There was also a well-equipped refreshment bar where ice cream and soft drinks were served. Also, ample parking space was available for afternoon and evening bowling.

Mr. Willette who was popularly called “Chubby” and Mr. Morin named “Sam”, were both veterans of World War II. Mr. Willette served with the Navy Seabees and Mr. Morin with the US Army Infantry. Following honorable separations from the Armed Forces “Chubby” went to work for Lavigne's Red Wing express and Sam for the Brown Company.

This great bowling establishment on Glen Avenue went down in a mass of flames on March 26, 1974 and was in the same location as today's (2017) Verizon Cellular on Glen Avenue. It was under different ownership by then.

The local police station, which was on Mason Street in 1949, was making the headlines in the late September 1949, when the Police Commission wanted an addition added. After Councilman Laurier Lamontagne had voiced strong objections against the city spending money toward any addition to the police station during this year, the council voted to refer the matter to the Finance Committee.

The communication from the Police Commission to the Council read as follows: “Owing to the inadequate and unsanitary condition of space for our Meter Men and great need for more locker room for police officers, storage room and rooms for the attorneys who have had no available room to interview their clients at court time, we are herewith submitting for your consideration and approval, a set of plans for a proposed addition to our present headquarters”.

After a motion to refer the matter to the Finance Committee, Councilman Lamontagne stood up and began speaking against making the addition this year. After a brief discussion with Mayor Toussaint, the councilman had apparently realized that the matter was only being referred to the Finance Committee and agreed to hold off his comments until this committee had reported.

In his brief statement, Councilman Lamontagne explained that the Meter Department needed additional space. He said that he was in favor of this addition, but the city could not afford it until 1949.

Earlier in the meeting, the Council had heard a recommendation from the Police Commission in connection with a proposal to enlarge the police station, to install parking meters. It read: “We respectfully suggest that the parking area adjacent to the Police Headquarters be put in the proper shape and that parking meters be installed. This would eliminate any all day parking and others who used this much needed space for storage”. Parking meters seemed to be the answer to parking problems back then.

There was also more urgency about our Police Headquarters that was brought up by Councilman Leo Leblanc. As a member of the Health Committee, he explained the unsanitary basement quarters in which the parking meter crew worked. He said that if he were the Health Officer, this place would have been condemned right away.

The Health Officer was asked his opinion after checking out the situation and said that certainly the quarters downstairs in the Police Station were certainly unsanitary and the locker rooms were too crowded.

The general impression by the Health officer and the Councilmen was that although the Police Department was unsanitary, the citizens of Berlin had not yet reached the moral level which would not require a Police Department, neither had the city's financial state taken on enough weight to stand the shock of even thinking about building a new Police Station. That building was formally the Cole School, built in the late 1800s and is a parking lot today next to the Citizen's Bank.

I will continue with the history of the year 1949 in my next writing.

Poof Tardiff writes a weekly column for The Berlin Daily Sun. Questions or comments email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Also, join the many fans of “Once upon a Berlin Time” on Facebook and guess at the posted weekly mystery pictures.

Tebbetts BirdieBirdie Tebbetts

Police Headquaters Mason StPolice Headquarters Mason St

Nansen Ski JumpNansen Ski Jump

Lamontagne LaurierLaurier Lamontagne

Distant Dome by Gary Rayno

With new administrations in Concord and in Washington D.C., a long-running Broadway musical comes to mind — Promises, Promises — a play about power and lust.
Voters have to wonder whether promises made during the heat of the campaign will be kept as the long, complicated legislative process unfolds.
But in Concord, perhaps, the more appropriate question is: “What promises made by past legislatures and governors will be broken by this legislature and governor?”
Promises made by past legislatures may be and often are changed by future legislatures leaving a trail of tears for anyone — public employees; cities, towns, school districts and their taxpayers; service providers, and state contractors — who believes they have a permanent deal with lawmakers.
For example, state employees were promised free healthcare when they retired if they served the state for more than 10 years as retired State Police Major Ernie Loomis likes to remind lawmakers.
Around the turn of the century with state finances hurting, lawmakers doubled the service time to 20 years for free healthcare.
Slipping revenues later meant retirees under 65 years old had to pay a portion of their health premium which is now close to 20 percent.
Co-pays and deductibles were added, but the state continued to pay “Medi-gap” insurance for retirees over 65 years old at least until the latest budget proposal was unveiled.

When new Gov. Chris Sununu presented his proposed budget last month, retirees over 65 years old will be expected to pay half of what he called a $12 million shortfall in the account.
The current two-year budget did not fully fund the cost of older retirees’ healthcare resulting in the shortfall.
The next two-year spending plan is not finalized and changes may be made.
More broken promises
Another trail of promises broken in the proposed budget involves the state’s hospitals and the Medicaid Enhancement Tax.
The tax was instituted in the early 1990s to use federal money to balance a state budget several hundred million in deficit.
The state taxes hospitals for services they provide, and uses the money to match federal Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) funds intended to help health facilities that provide a significant amount of free or what is called uncompensated care.
After the federal match, the state returns the money to the hospitals. New Hampshire literally reaped billions of federal dollars over the years from what was known as Mediscam.
With many states using the scheme, the federal government clamped down and required the money going back to hospitals to actually reflect the uncompensated care they provided so it was not necessarily revenue neutral as some hospitals receive less than they gave and others more.
But when budget resources tightened in 2011, lawmakers kept most of the money for other purposes and the hospitals successfully sued claiming the tax was unconstitutional. Rehabilitation centers also sued successfully.

Former Gov. Maggie Hassan’s office negotiated a settlement that guaranteed smaller hospitals would receive at least 75 percent of their uncompensated care and larger hospitals 50 percent. Any left over money had to be used for healthcare services for the poor.
With the agreement, hospitals agreed to drop their constitutional challenges and to continue to pay the tax.
According to the settlement, hospitals are projected to pay taxes of approximately $236 million in fiscal year 2018 and $243 million in fiscal year 2019.
The DSH payments were expected to be at the cap established in the settlement of $241 million per year.
However, Sununu’s budget allocates $166 million for each to the next two fiscal years, and Steve Ahnen, president of the NH Hospital Association said that potentially puts the state in violation of the settlement agreement.
“We will work with the governor and lawmakers as the budget moves forward to address these concerns and the significant risks to the state and patient care of not budgeting in compliance with the settlement agreement,” Ahnen said in a statement.
Translated: “If you don’t live up to the agreement, we’ll be back in court where you lost twice.”
Speaking to lawmakers after he presented his budget, Sununu said there is disagreement over the amount of uncompensated care the hospitals provide.
This will be interesting to watch as the budget progresses.
Cities, towns on their own
Cities and towns, however, do not have the court system as a back stop when the state breaks its promises to them.
The state — until about a decade ago — used to pay 35 percent of the state retirement system contributions for municipal, school and county workers. The state agreed to contribute to grow the system to make it more robust and stable.
However, when state revenues plunged into the nether regions during the financial crisis brought on by bad mortgages that nearly tanked the country’s and the world’s economy, lawmakers first cut back its contribution and then eliminated it, saving the state tens of millions of dollars by shifting the burden to local property taxpayers.
During the same financial crisis, the state also eliminated revenue sharing with cities and towns.

When the state overhauled its tax system under former Gov. Walter Peterson in the 1960s, the stock and trade tax that benefited local communities was eliminated. As part of the bargain, communities were to receive $25 million in revenue sharing money including 40 percent of the rooms and meals proceeds.
Over time, the $25 million never increased and the percentage of rooms and meals revenue dwindled until the 1990s when former Sen. John King of Manchester shepherded a bill through the legislature to begin restoring the municipal share of the tax.
The restoration stopped in the financial crisis about a decade ago and then revenue sharing was eliminated.
Cities and towns also have not always received the state’s share for water and sewer projects.
Under the Clean Water Act, the federal government used to pay 75 percent of water and sewer project costs, but that was eliminated under former President Ronald Reagan and instead states were given grants to establish revolving loan funds, but states still have to pay their share of the costs.
Federal programs that pay to repair damages from disasters such as the Alstead flood or the tornado that ripped a path from Deerfield to Freedom, require a state and local match.
‘Used to pay’
The state used to pay the local share but once again has been slow to reimburse communities as it has for two flood control projects. Massachusetts, which is the chief beneficiary of the projects, is supposed to reimburse communities for lost property taxes on the land taken for the projects. Massachusetts seldom pays but New Hampshire used to cover what towns were owed, but stopped doing that until recently.
The legislature has also reneged on promises to school districts. The state settled a lawsuit over education funding brought by Laconia and agreed to pay more for schools under the Augenblick formula, but never fully funded it.
The state once paid a percentage of school building and rehabilitation costs ranging from 50 to 75 percent depending on the number of communities in the school district.
That program was suspended during the last financial crisis, but reinstated recently. But — you guessed it — without adequate funding to add more than one or two new small projects a year.
And the state has not increased funding for the formula put in place due to the Claremont education lawsuit for a decade while the disparities between rich and poor districts and the educational opportunities they can provide their students grows.
Remember while lawmakers are balancing the state budget, all these broken promises to cities, towns and school districts raise local property taxes.
Cities, towns and school districts are not the only ones to feel the pain of broken promises, those who receive state help are affected too.
When the Laconia State School closed, the state set up area agencies to ensure the developmentally disabled would continue to receive services in their communities. Much like the state’s decentralization of its mental health system when the old New Hampshire Hospital campus was closed, the localized programs received awards and were models for other states.
However funding levels slipped over time and a waiting list for developmentally disabled services grew as those turning 21 years old moved from the local school district’s responsibility to the state’s and continues today. Sununu proposes adding millions of dollars to eliminate the wait.
Mental health morass
Inadequacies in the state’s mental health system prompted clients and the federal government to successfully sue. Not only did the state fail to provide adequate mental health services at the local and state level, but many seriously impaired have had to wait in hospital emergency rooms for an opening at the state hospital, the suit claimed.
An overseer tracks the state’s progress to improve its mental health system. Progress is being made, but not at the speed envisioned in the agreement.
Lawmakers will determine how much additional money goes into the system and that can keep yet another promise from fruition.