May 15, 2014REGION — The third time was not the charm as New Hampshire's House of Representatives voted May 7 to shut down reconsideration of the gambling bill.
While opponents of expanded gambling have argued that doing so would harm the character of the state and do more harm than good, supporters have pleaded throughout this session for the House to consider the need for revenue and the loss of business to expanded gambling in neighboring states.
On April 30, expanded gambling almost passed, until the presiding officer at that day's vote broke the 172-172 tie and voted to kill the bill.
On May 7, a motion was made to reconsider the bill that would have legalized two casinos sharing a total of 5,000 video slot machines and 240 table games. The bill also called for distributing $25 million of state revenues from the casinos to communities to offset property taxes. For this vote, 87 percent of state legislators were present to vote but it failed 192-172.
It's not completely a dead issue for this year, yet. Also on May 7, the House voted 183-179 not to bar reconsidering different casino measures before they adjourn for the summer on June 5.
The Governor has said many times that she supports only one casino, located in the southern part of the state.
All Carroll County representatives were on hand for the May 7 vote to reconsider. The following six voted not to reconsider: Gene Chandler (R-Bartlett), Glen Cordelli (R-Moultonborough), Karel Crawford (R-Moultonborough), Tom Lavender (D-Brookfield), Bill Nelson (R-Brookfield) and Susan Ticehurst (D-Tamworth). The nine representatives who were willing to reconsider and voted in favor of doing so were: Harry Merrow (R-Ossipee), Mark McConkey (R-Freedom), Karen Umberger (R-Conway), Stephen Schmidt (R-Wolfeboro), Ed Butler (D-Hart's Location), Syndi White (D-Conway), Tom Buco (D-Conway), Chris Ahlgren (R-Wolfeboro), and Donald Wright (R-Tuftonboro).
Closer to home, Carroll County Delegation is set to hold a public meeting Monday, May 19 beginning at 9 a.m. at Carroll County Administration Building in Ossipee. The purpose of their meeting is to review the first quarter 2014 county expenditures and revenue and to set the salaries for elected officials. The meetings typically open with an amount of time reserved for public comment.
Though it had been requested of the county commissioners previously by this reporter, the first quarter county budget is not available on the county website at www.carrollcountynh.net as of press time. The request was made to allow those interested to get a peek at the budget prior to the delegation meeting to prepare any related questions for public comment.
As reported last week, the Carroll County sheriff's salary is the only elected official's salary here that is comparable to what others across the state are paid. In Carroll County the sheriff, county attorney, and register of deeds are also eligible to participate in the County's health insurance plan. The County taxpayers pay 80 percent of a single-person coverage plan. If the elected official wishes to insure a spouse or their family, they bear the full cost of the additional coverage. This reporter contacted all 10 county business offices in the state to ask about health coverage. Of the seven that responded, Carroll County elected officials pay the highest percentage of their healthcare benefit.