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SOTU NH Reax: "Unhealthy," "Better," and a Cautious "Thumbs Up"

January 24, 2007

President Bush has presented his ideas to help more families in New Hampshire - and across the country - get health care coverage. It includes tax deductions and new taxes at the same time, shifting insurance coverage at work to the "taxable income" category. Jay Ward with the State Employees' Association of New Hampshire says that's an unhealthy move for family take-home pay.

"A nursing home assistant caring for our elderly at the vets' home who makes about $24,000 per year would now have to pay taxes on the value of their health care, without ever seeing a wage increase."

John Thyng with New Hampshire for Health Care says there are better cures for the health care crisis, like looking at ways to cuts costs and negotiate better prescription prices.

"This is shifting costs and raising taxes on the few people today who have good health care coverage, rather than dealing with the heart of the problem and putting forth a solution that offers affordable health care coverage to the record number of uninsured American families."

Robert Greenstein with the Center on Budget Policy and Priorities gives a big "thumbs up" for talking about fiscal responsibility, although he says President Bush's call to make his tax cuts permanent has to be figured into the "responsibility" equation.

"(There has to be) a willingness by policymakers, regardless of where they stand along the political spectrum, to put all parts of the budget - both spending and taxes - on the table."

President Bush touched on the global warming concern, and Jan Pendlebury with the New Hampshire office of the National Environmental Trust says that's a good sign. She believes it's time to be exact and tough when it comes to cutting the pollution that is scientifically-linked to global warming.

"The United States has been formally committed to voluntary greenhouse gas reductions since 1992, over that time, the nation's carbon dioxide emissions have increased by 34 percent."

Deborah Smith/Eric Mack, Public News Service - NH