State of Democracy

NHPR's reporting initiative focused on the impact of politics and public policy on the residents of New Hampshire and beyond. Learn more here.

Emily Corwin / NHPR

Throughout the 2016 presidential season, NHPR will bring you profiles of the people and places behind the scenes of the New Hampshire Primary. We start with Geno's Chowder and Sandwich Shop, an iconic campaign stop in Portsmouth for candidates looking to meet voters - and maybe sample a lobster roll.

Nearly two thirds of the contributions from New Hampshire residents to presidential candidates since January went to Democrats, with Hillary Clinton collecting more from Granite Staters than all the Republicans combined.

Via the NH Rebellion on Facebook

As they make their way around the Granite State, the presidential contenders being met by potential voters frustrated with the political influence of wealthy donors.

NHPR’s digital reporter Brian Wallstin has been reporting on the issue of money in politics and where the candidates stand, and he’s here to talk about what he’s learned.

Even when most Americans regard the next presidential election as a distant rumor, people in New Hampshire, with its first-in-the-nation primary, and Iowa, with its even-earlier-than-that caucuses, are attentively tuned to the twists and turns of the campaigns. 

Sara Plourde / NHPR

Governor Maggie Hassan’s veto of the Republican-backed state budget bill has dominated State House news in recent weeks. But Hassan’s veto pen has seen plenty of non-budget action this session, as well.

At campaign events, house parties and town hall meetings across the state, presidential contenders are being met by potential voters who want to know what they plan to do about the role of money in politics.

And the candidates aren’t shying away from the question.

Democrats have taken aim at Citizens United, the Supreme Court’s 2010 ruling that struck down limits on independent expenditures by corporations and unions.

Four Things You Should Know About Money in Politics

Jul 9, 2015
Beverly via Flickr CC

What are the limits on presidential campaign funding? Can I really spend whatever I want to help my candidate get elected?

Campaign Finance Reformers Find Voice on 2016 Trail

Jul 9, 2015
Courtesy Emma Stein

In December 1999, six weeks before the 2000 New Hampshire primary, John Rauh watched as Republican Sen. John McCain and Democrat Bill Bradley met in Claremont to denounce the role of money in politics.

Thomas Fearon / NHPR

A new report finds New Hampshire is struggling to improve its mental health system, as it agreed to in a $30 million dollar lawsuit settlement. 

A court-appointed monitor finds, one year into the settlement, the state is lagging on nearly every benchmark. 

The Hechinger Report

Here at State of Democracy, we love a good graphic. Maps, charts, tables -- any illustration that displays lots of data in a clear, informative manner earns a gold star from us. Here's one recent example that caught our eye: a map showing the graduation rate for nearly every school district in the United States in 2013.

Independence Day means fireworks, BBQs, flags – and, in New Hampshire, presidential politics.

The three-day weekend has lured at least eight candidates for president to the Granite State. The candidates, Republican and Democratic, will appear up and down the state, Friday through Sunday. So, if you've always wanted to discuss foreign policy with the future leader of the Free World while holding a sparkler, now might be your chance.

www.merrimack4th.com

You may be planning a lazy holiday weekend this Fourth of July. But for many presidential candidates, the Fourth is just another opportunity to work for votes, though with one big difference: On Independence Day, the campaign trail is likely to follow a parade route.

Sara Plourde / NHPR

The House and Senate have officially passed a budget for the next two years – a plan that Governor Maggie Hassan promises to veto. Here’s a breakdown of how the governor’s budget proposal compares with the Legislature’s on a few of the major policy and funding points.

NHPR Staff

Funding for public higher education is a core issue in the budget battle now being waged between the Governor and the Legislature. Meanwhile, budget woes are brewing on the state's community college campuses, too, where students, faculty, and senior administrators don’t agree on how to balance the books.

The financial partnership between local governments and the state of New Hampshire has splintered since the recession. 

Jennifer Cochran / Flickr/Creative Commons

Amherst Public Works Director Bruce Berry was a happy man last spring when Gov. Maggie Hassan signed the first increase to the state’s gas tax in more than 20 years.

The legislation promised to double the money the state doles out to repair municipally owned bridges, from $6.8 million a year to $13.6 million. At the time, Amherst had three bridges “red-listed” as structurally deficient, including one on Manchester Road that had been closed for 18 months.

Sara Plourde / NHPR

Negotiators in the House and Senate agreed to a compromise version of the next two-year budget earlier this week. Here's a summary of how the deal was reached.

Jack Rodolico

As the next state budget takes shape, Gov. Maggie Hassan and legislative leaders have been debating how to fund New Hampshire's mental health system. The state spends more than $100 million each year providing these services, and one word sums up the sentiment in the mental health community right now: uncertainty.

  Case in point, a construction site at New Hampshire Hospital.

Two proposed changes to the the state's education funding formula have been passed by the two chambers of the New Hampshire Legislature. Both seek to increase or lift altogether the state's cap on growth in per-pupil spending. And both would pay for such it by reducing so-called "stabilization grants," created in 2011 to keep certain school districts from losing huge amounts of funding after the last round of changes to the base aid formula.

Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

With lawmakers now in the final phase of crafting the state budget for the next two years, schools around the state are watching the process uneasily. The Legislature is looking, once again, to tweak the formula it uses to send money to local districts. 

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

State budgets contain multitudes: billions of dollar signs, thousands of policy decisions, and almost as many political calculations. For any governor, the budget is likely to be the single biggest political test in his or her two-year term. For Gov. Maggie Hassan, this year’s budget poses a particular challenge: how to get a product she likes, or can at least claim to like, from an all-Republican legislature while heading into a big election year. 


Sara Plourde / NHPR

The debate over New Hampshire’s business taxes has largely played out along partisan lines this year, with Republicans supporting staggered cuts to the state's corporate tax rates, and Democrats opposed. But political rhetoric aside, let's look at the underlying numbers to better grasp the core policy issues.

NHPR Staff

From the start of this year's budget negotiations, Republican leaders, as well as many business groups, have stressed that New Hampshire's corporate taxes, among the highest in the country, are driving away business.

Dave Juvet, senior vice president of the state’s Business and Industry Association, says as other states have made efforts to lower their rates, New Hampshire has lost ground.

Sara Plourde / NHPR

If you’re hoping to follow the money in the 2016 presidential primary race, you’ve got a tough task. The fundraising tools available to candidates and their supporters are perhaps more complicated now than in any previous campaign. You've got your political actions committees (or PACs), your super PACs, your exploratory committees, your run-of-the-mill candidate committees, and countless other groups throwing their 2 (billion) cents into the 2016 presidential race.

 NHPR's 2016 Primary candidate calendar and map are your best sources for details on where and when to catch all of the contenders in this year's race for the White House.

Download our iPhone app, State of Democracy, for a mobile interactive map of candidate events. 

 

Dan Barrick, News Director

Dan serves as NHPR's News Director and also directs NHPR's State of Democracy initiative, which explores how politics and public policy decisions affect the lives of Granite Staters. Before joining NHPR in 2015, Dan was deputy director of the New Hampshire Center for Public Policy Studies, an independent, non-partisan think tank.

He worked previously as an editor and reporter at the Concord Monitor. The New Hampshire Press Association named him Writer of the Year in 2010. Dan holds a degree from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism. He lives with his wife and two children in Concord.

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