Tuesday, February 23, 2010
“This economy needs a boost,” Guinta said at a Town Hall meeting in Dover. “It’s all about trying to get money in the hands of people who create jobs [and] providing the environment for them so they can bring back people they’ve laid off.”
With the nation’s current budget deficit hitting about $2 trillion and the debt preparing to climb from $12.4 trillion, it is clear that the country has a spending problem, he said. The president promised 3.5 million jobs with his $1 trillion recovery bill. Instead, the country has lost 3.3 million jobs and unemployment is increasing. It is clear that spending money to stimulate the economy isn’t the right solution, Guinta said.
“What I would do is look at the amount of revenue that’s going to come in and make the tough decision to say we’re going to stop at this level where our revenues are expected to be,” Guinta said. “And at the other side of the ledger, make sure our expenditures don’t reach that level.”
Keeping a budget balanced is not easy, particularly when revenues are declining at the same time that constituents are demanding goods and services, Guinta said. Raising taxes is the easy way out of a budgetary hole. A better premise to start with is that the current revenue is all the government has to work with, he said.
“I think we’re a giving community, and I think we’re willing to help people in need, but ultimately, people want to be self-sufficient; they want to provide for their family,” Guinta said. “The only way you can do that is put everyone in a business environment to be able to be competitive and help make that happen.”
“When I was mayor, I had the charter. The first thing I would say is, ‘Is this a responsibility of city government?’,” Guinta said. “If it’s not, ‘Why are we doing it?’ If it is, ‘Are we doing it as effectively as we possibly can?’ That’s a very simple rule that I think legislators get away from.”
Guinta, a candidate for Congress in New Hampshire’s First District, carries a copy of the U.S. Constitution and The Federalist Papers around on his iPhone. He said members of Congress must read and respect their charter as the law of the land. If a bill is constitutional, representatives have a responsibility to make sure government is working as effectively as possible. If a bill is unconstitutional, Congress should immediately dismiss it, he said.
During the Town Hall meeting, Dover-area residents asked Guinta about the constitutionality of a national education curriculum and about the Obama-Pelosi-Reid plan to force citizens to buy health care.
Guinta noted that the constitution does not allow Congress to pass laws about what children are taught in school, and it doesn’t permit government to force people to buy a product, such as health insurance coverage. But as a father seeking the privilege of a public position, the congressional candidate would advocate for a traditional education that honors the nation’s founding fathers and the country they built.
“I am very much in favor of making sure that anything I do as an elected official is within the confines of the responsibilities outlined in that charter,” he said.
“I’ve just been in government for the last four years, and I can tell you firsthand that there are things government is not good at,” said Guinta, a candidate for Congress for New Hampshire in the First District. “If we come up with a different system, we shouldn’t be punishing [people] who have paid into Social Security, who require Medicare and Medicaid, but we should reform it for future users of a potential system.”
In Dover, the congressional candidate reaffirmed his pledge to repeal any law that creates a new government-run health care system. At the same time, the candidate said any existing government-run health care system such as Medicare must be delivered to the folks it’s been promised to. A new system for future generations should be the subject of debate for the next session of Congress, he said.
“There’s a problem at hand, and we have an obligation to solve it,” Guinta said. “Right now, Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare, Retirement, Pensions, they’re not solvent. I think most people, regardless of party affiliation, would agree with that. What I’d hope what people would want me to do is find a reasonable solution to that problem.”
The candidate said the solution to the problem would take some work to resolve, but work that he’s willing to undergo. Guinta said he would give an honest assessment of the issue and all of the bills that might be filed to address it, but more importantly, he will involve his constituents and listen to their suggestions and concerns.
“It’s a combination of representation and leadership,” he said.
Monday, February 15, 2010
“The government will spend whatever it gets; this government is spending what it doesn’t even have,” said Guinta, the former mayor of Manchester. “I will not be a congressman that looks to have those ribbon cuttings to [highlight] the millions of dollars I brought to you. I don’t think that’s the role [of government]; nor do I think that’s what people are asking for.”
As an example of government waste, Guinta highlighted a congressional party-line vote a few weeks ago in which the U.S. government purchased a park in the Virgin Islands for $50 million. The sitting congresswoman from New Hampshire’s first district voted in favor of the bill, not one month after the president said the country needs to freeze spending. And all the while, the nation faces a $1.9 trillion budget shortfall if the president gets his way.
“I don’t think there’s a justification for that kind of expenditure, but it’s an example of why people are angry and why they don’t trust their members,” Guinta said. “We need to elect people who are going to take this budget process seriously; who are going to look what the role of government is and do everything to be good stewards with taxpayer dollars.”
To highlight the seriousness of the country’s financial woes, Guinta noted that the country’s $12.3 trillion national debt would cost $41,000 per person to pay back. He also noted that the figure is growing by the week.
“That’s what each of our portion of the debt is, and next week it’s going to be bigger,” he said. “We need people who are going to prioritize, who are going to make tough decisions about how to curtail spending.”
“I think what you’re seeing in the country is a level of anger, where it’s not just at Democrats, it’s at incumbents who have made these promises [and failed to keep them],” said Guinta. “And I think people around the nation are now starting to realize that if we’re going to trust our government again, there has to be a basic set of principles that each and every member adheres to—and term limits have to be at the top of the list.”
Guinta has self-imposed term limits on each of the offices he’s held. He has served two terms as a Manchester alderman, two terms as a New Hampshire state representative and two terms as the mayor of Manchester. Seeking a constitutional amendment to require term limits for members of Congress is simply the next step.
“I’ve been to Washington to meet with some of the legislators already, and I said, ‘Look, New Hampshire [residents] need an independent voice. They want an independent voice. They want someone who’s going to break from their party when their party is out of touch.’ And I commit that to you; I commit it publicly.”
The people running for office in 2010 are bringing with them an energy that stems from the desire to serve the country, and that desire comes directly from the people, Guinta said.
“The mood of the country is they’re angry, and they’re frustrated, and they want to be able to trust the people who spend their money and are stewards of their money,” he said. “But how do you trust them when they make a promise and then they turn around and break their promises. So I think the country needs to go through a healing process.
“People who are elected need to make commitments and they need to honor them, and [term limits] are the way to do it,” Guinta said.
“The responsibilities outlined in the constitution: those are the things we should be focused on as a government,” said Guinta, addressing a Town Hall meeting in Rochester, N.H., last week. “One of them, and I think a very important one, one we haven’t talked about it yet, is the defense of our nation.”
These are “frightening” times, Guinta said, particularly with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s announcement last week that his country is capable of producing weapons-grade uranium. Yet, it is among the federal government’s top duties to keep the nation safe from threats, such as the menace Iran now poses.
“Part of my responsibility as mayor was to keep people safe in Manchester,” he said. “Part of the country’s duty is to keep you safe from people like Ahmadinejad, who, like it or not, wants to annihilate us.”
As a representative for New Hampshire in Washington, Guinta said government reform, tax cuts and defense based on good information will be his top priorities. When it comes to defense, Guinta said he would give deference to generals overseeing the situation directly.
“Any troop that protects us and serves us has to have the equipment and a game plan identified by the general on the ground,” he said.
Thursday, February 11, 2010
As former Mayor Frank Guinta continued his tour of the First District today in Rochester, N.H., he met with several business owners who clearly said they want someone in Washington who can come home, sit down with them and help them solve problems.
Serving in Washington “is about identifying problems that people have and then trying to solve them,” Guinta said during a sit-down meeting with Mel and Walter Belville at their restaurant, Mel Flannigan’s Irish Pub. “People want problem solvers; they want people who are willing to sit down with them and say, ‘OK, how can I help you to be a better business?”
Promoting such public servants does not mean Guinta thinks the federal government is the answer to everyone’s problems, because most of the time, it isn't. But a congressman who represents his constituents at the Capitol should also make the time to meet with them back home and help them come up with solutions, which they can then work to achieve on their own.
At Mel Flannigan’s Irish Pub at52 N. Main St. in Rochester, Guinta gave the Belvilles some possible solutions to generate more business in their downtown district.
“Rochester and the rest of the state needs a congressman that listens to the people and acts accordingly,” said Walter Belville, owner of Mel Flannigan’s Irish Pub. “I look forward to future meetings so we can further discuss some of the issues that we touched upon today; mainly, helping out the small businesses of New Hampshire, which are the backbone of the economy.”
Guinta also had great visits with Lenny Bernard, owner of the Pink Cadillac at 17 Farmington Road; Scott Brock, owner of Brock’s Plywood Sales at 298 North Main St.; Tim Galvin, operating manager of Nantucket Beadboard Co. at 109 Chestnut Hill Road; Michael Deegan, owner of Distinctive Forest Creations at 22 North Main St.; and Susan Jackson-Rafter, owner of The Portable Pantry at 12 Hanson St. He had meetings at City Hall, with the Rochester Main Street association and with the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce.
“I’m disappointed in the government’s attitude and the fiscal irresponsibility going on in the country right now,” said Bernard, owner of the Pink Cadillac diner. “My hope is the U.S. government will live within their means just like the majority of Americans are forced to do on a daily basis.”
Brock, who has run his lumber sales store for 32 years in Rochester, also noted Congress’s irresponsible spending spree. He said he had to lay off some 18 employees due to the deteriorating economy that has resulted. He now employs 52 people, who keep busy supplying clients with materials for their smaller projects.
Finally, several business owners urged Guinta to keep his independent spirit once elected to Congress.
“I’d like him to go in and not be partisan,” said Jackson-Rafter, owner of The Portable Pantry. “He should be someone to work for the people, and not the party.”
Thursday, February 4, 2010
"My big concerns are coming down to be taxes and having mandates placed on me—not only from Concord, but from Washington," said one Portsmouth businessman. "It seems like we're constantly being berated by our representatives who we send down to Washington, such as what we've been getting hit with by Carol Shea-Porter. And they're just not hearing what the needs are of individuals, but businesses as well."
First of all, let me just make it clear that I think businesses create jobs, not the government. And when I go to small business owners and ask them what they need to create jobs, they are telling me that they want less regulation, tax reform to put more cash in their pockets, and more affordable, private health insurance. They don't want a government-run program that's filled with more mandates, and they don't want a Cap & Trade bill that will tax them more for the energy they need to keep their businesses running.
As for health insurance, smaller companies should be able to pool their employees together to get the same discounted rates as larger businesses and they should be able to buy insurance from any company anywhere in the country. Such reforms would put real cash back into small businesses' bank accounts, which will lead directly to more jobs.
As for Cap & Trade, it's simply not the government's role to use taxes on energy to redistribute wealth, especially when power costs are already an issue for businesses. Government can use incentives to encourage environmentally friendly business practices, but it should leave it to business owners to make the right decisions for their companies and their employees.
— Frank Guinta
“People want to see this country in a better position economically right now; one that’s better for all of us,” said Guinta, who’s running for Congress in New Hampshire’s first district. “I don’t care if you’re 20, 30, 40, 50 or 60, that is one thing that unites all of us.”
The candidate sat with a group of students who were most concerned about whether they’d be able to find a job when they graduate. He noted that there is a real possibility that the younger generation of Americans may grow up worse off than their parents for the first time in American history, unless a new group of Congressmen can put an end to the radical agenda of the Obama Administration and the current Congress.
“The president has had a year with a Democratic Congress, and nothing has been done to improve anyone’s lives,” he said. “So far, we’ve had a government that has said, ‘Nope, even though [we’re losing jobs and the economy is faltering], we’re going to focus on changing the whole health care system’.”
UNH students, and particularly the senior class, face a difficult climate as they prepare to head into the job market, Guinta said. Businesses aren’t hiring because taxes are too high at the state and federal levels, and they’re mounting; health insurance costs keep growing, and would continue to swell under a government-run system; and the cost of doing business with credit cards is spiking, he said.
At the state level, the LLC tax and other regulations are driving businesses and insurance companies out of the state. At the federal level, the government is aiming to allow the Bush tax cuts to expire, which will further burden businesses and prevent them from creating jobs.
The election of a new Congress in 2010 would bring an immediate change of focus, however. Most importantly, a new Congress would be elevated with the understanding that government does not create jobs or wealth. Only businesses can create jobs and the money to pay for them.
Yet, government can implement policies to foster a stronger economy. First off, government should reduce health care costs for businesses by allowing small companies to pool employees together for policy discounts and it should remove barriers to competition among insurance companies nationwide. Businesses would take the savings and immediately invest it in their companies. Second, governments at the state and federal level must simplify and eliminate taxes.
Finally, government could streamline the services it offers, restricting them to the Constitution, and provide regulatory relief where people need it the most.
Monday, February 1, 2010
"I think, as a mayor, government should be limited in its functionality and it should be limited in the services it provides,” Guinta said. “I have never seen government compete as well as the private sector. It just doesn't happen.
“And honestly, I think we need that out of Congress, and I think we need that out of this administration,” he added.
But President Barack Obama, Sen. Harry Reid, Rep. Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Carol Shea-Porter seem to think that government is the answer to all our problems. In the past year, the president and Congress have taken over banks and the auto industry. They’ve promised lower unemployment and government-run health care using the heavy hand of the state.
In all its hopes for overreaching, this Congress has passed a $1 trillion stimulus bill and has worked to pass a $1 trillion health care burden that will be left for our grandchildren to pay. What do we have to show for these efforts other than 10 percent unemployment nationwide, with 7 percent unemployment in New Hampshire—about double its usual 3.5 percent?
Now Congress wants to spend more money on sweetheart deals to bribe some states into supporting its health care takeover plan—all while sending the rest of us the bill?
We’re already facing a $12 trillion debt, which is unfathomable to most people, but Congress wants to raise the debt ceiling another $2 trillion. When will it end?
"The thing is with the debt and deficit that I think people appreciate is that we feel we're leaving the next generation worse off than the last generation gave us as a nation,” Guinta said. “And that's something I think we feel very strongly about."
To fix this, we simply have to elect enough people with honor who know that their role in Washington is to represent the people back home. Sen.-elect Scott Brown’s victory in Massachusetts was just the beginning of this nationwide effort.
"New Hampshire has always been known for sending people down to Washington who are independent minded, who aren't just party people, and who will do what's best for New Hampshire,” Guinta said.
"What frustrates me is that there are basic solutions that are available that can affect costs and can deter the increases we've seen,” said Guinta, who is running for New Hampshire’s First District U.S. House seat. “It comes down to a little bit of personal responsibility and a little less government intrusion."
Guinta said legislation could be written and passed immediately that wouldn’t necessarily be opposed by the majority party in Washington. While touring the district, health care executives have told him that there is plenty of money in the system, it just isn’t being used wisely, he said.
Tort reform would solve many health-care-cost issues quickly. When patients visit their doctor or an emergency room for a problem, doctors now order thousands of dollars of medical tests to cover themselves from liability. A cap on liability would allow doctors to give patients advice and let their patients take responsibility for whether they follow it.
"Doctors are practicing defensive medicine because they do not want to be sued if they don't provide those battery of tests,” Guinta said. “There is significant cost that is wasted because of defensive medicine practices."
Another thing Washington needs to do is open health insurance markets across state lines.
"The notion that you cannot purchase insurance outside New Hampshire just makes no rational sense,” Guinta said. "There's a corner on the market right now. And it's a border from state to state to state to state. That issue alone would address costs."
Allowing small businesses to pool their employees together to generate a larger risk pool would also decrease costs, he said. Employers with more than 100 employees get an automatic 20 percent discount on rates. If smaller businesses joined together for health care pools to exceed the 100-employee benchmark, they would also receive the discounts.
Finally, folks should be able to carry their insurance with them wherever they work, Guinta said. They should also be able to get a plan that allows them to pay for full deductions. The latter idea would allow people to see how much they’re actually paying for health care, so they might actually shop around for the lowest price for their desired quality.
“When people know what the cost is, they think differently,” Guinta said. “When they feel they're paying, they think differently."