The newsletter of the New Hampshire Center for Public Policy Studies
Policy Points informs you about our current research topics, including highlights of the important policy discussions going on in and around the State of New Hampshire.
In this issue:
Papers of Interest
May 2008 Graph of the Month
Executive Director Steve Norton appears on New Hampshire Public Radio, continuing the Center's mission to inform and educate the public concerning important policy matters.
Papers of Interest
In our report issued last September, Public Pension Predicament: New Hampshire's Retirement System, the Center called for reforming the NHRS by evaluating alternate pension plans for new employees, expanding financial reporting, fully funding any proposed benefit increase, and revising the assumed investment return. While the Legislature has made progress toward some of these goals, the NHRS itself has struggled with expanding financial reporting. As of May 19, 2008 the 2007 NHRS Annual Report had not yet been released to the general public.
House Bill 1645 called for reforms to the New Hampshire Retirement System (NHRS), including eliminating the now in place 8% per year increase in the subsidy used to purchase retiree health insurance, cancelling out the annual cost of living increase for pension benefits, requiring new firefighters and police to work an additional five years to receive a pension, and restructuring the Retirement Board of Trustees to remove the employee majority.
The Senate Executive Department and Administration Committee responded to employee advocates' pressure by modifying the House Bill, eliminating both the board restructuring, and the requirement that police and firefighters work an additional five years. The Senate Committee also wants to freeze the growth of that annual health insurance stipend for only four years, then providing a 4% annual increase after that.
The House and Senate versions of public pension reform will now have to be resolved in the Committee of Conference, which is scheduled to finish its work by the end of May.
In addition to our new Graph of the Month, the Center will be releasing several studies in the coming months, including:
- A re-examination of property tax exemptions and the impact on homeowner property tax bills.
- Updated information on hospital cost shifting.
- New data on trends in New Hampshire healthcare costs
Center Graph of the Month
Percent of Wages Earned by Healthcare Jobs by Labor Market Area 2006 is a preview of the Center’s upcoming work documenting global trends in healthcare finance.
The Center offers the Graph of the Month from the array of data we use to understand the policy landscape across a wide range of policy issues.
The Graph of the Month continues our mission to provide new perspectives on available data which will raise new ideas and improve policy debates through quality information and analysis on issues shaping New Hampshire's future.