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Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Another Budget Lawsuit

For the second day in a row, the Concord Monitor is reporting on another previously unrecognized fiscal issue facing the State. This time, Lauren Dorgan focuses on yet another lawsuit claiming provisions of the recently enacted State budget are unconstitutional:
Retired state employees plan to file suit against the state today, claiming that a provision of the new state budget requiring young retirees to pay $65 a month for their formerly free, state-provided health care is unconstitutional.

The heart of the complaint centers on the way the state is taking the insurance premium, rather than the premium itself: Starting last week, a charge of $65 per single retiree or $130 per couple was deducted directly from the pension checks of hundreds of retired state employees who are under the age of 65.

The retirees claim that the deduction is an "illegal 'encumbrance' and 'diversion' " because the retirees' rights to a full pension payment is "contractually vested," according to a draft version of the lawsuit provided to the Monitor. State and federal constitutions "forbid legislation that impairs vested rights," the lawsuit reads. …

The lawsuit is the latest in a string of filed or threatened legal challenges to the new budget. Last week, a judge ruled against the state's attempt to seize $110 million from a medical malpractice fund; the state is appealing that decision to the New Hampshire Supreme Court. Earlier this summer, a judge froze a $9 million fund that both the state and a coalition of nursing homes claim to rightfully own.
Further proof the Democrats' state budget is balanced at best by gimmicks and at worst by theft and lawlessness.

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