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Steve Winter
State Representative
District 3

February 8, 2011
"Constituent  Mail"

Steven Winter represents the towns of Newbury and Sutton, Merrimack District 3, in the NH House of Representatives.

Representative Winter is a member of the House Executive Department & Administration  Committee, The Special Committee on Public Employee Pension Reform and the Joint Legislative Committee on Administrative Rules (JLCAR).

"First law on holes - when you're in one, stop digging!" Ė Denis Healey, British author

I received the following message via email: "My family and I are strongly opposed to House Bill 113, which would effectively eliminate state funding for New Hampshire Public Television. Please take into consideration all of the wonderful educational programs public television has to share. As an educator, public television is a great resource. Thank you."

This person is an obvious fan of NHPTV. So am I. But we have a dire financial situation here in New Hampshire. We absolutely must start prioritizing between wants and needs. Here is my response to this correspondent for the benefit of other NHPTV lovers:

Thank you for your message.  I, too, enjoy Public Television.  Its programming is far superior to the dreadful stuff passing as entertainment on most of the commercial stations.  Just this evening, I watched one of my favorite programs, Antique Roadshow.  I also thoroughly enjoy Rick Steves Europe, other travel shows, and many of the historic works regularly presented on public television.  Our short television evenings always begin with a check of what is showing on the three PBS television channels we receive by satellite.

However, the state of New Hampshire, along with many other states, has serious financial shortfalls.  We are looking at a shortage of nearly one billion dollars as we construct our new budget.  We must prioritize our allocations of funds.  We must make difficult choices regarding our wants and our needs.  Unfortunately, using that standard, NHPTV does not make the cut.  We must choose human needs over our personal wants.  We must make sure that the least among us have adequate housing, food, warmth and other basic necessities.

But do not despair.  Iím sure that NHPTV will not go away.  Its quality programming will somehow survive.  Its mangers will just need to re-invent their product in perhaps another format, just as they did many years ago when they began to make "thank you" advertisements for their corporate and foundation donors.  This reinvention may require a greater amount of corporate advertising but, with our contributions, these advertisements will probably still be far fewer than those we see on commercial television.  Iím sure that with the quality of NHPTVís program schedule, commercial advertisers are waiting in the wings to sponsor this superlative programming for its unique discriminating market.  A side benefit might also be a reduction of the interminable periods of pleading for funds we currently endure.

The choice to vote for HB 113 does not make me joyous.  On the other hand, I feel that the choice for feeding the hungry and providing other more basic services is a prudent and rational choice, considering our circumstances.  The alternative is a large increase in taxes, not just for NHPTV but many other "wants" in these difficult times or, perhaps, even state bankruptcy as we could possibly see in other states with less courage than New Hampshire to make those difficult choices.

Again, thank you for your message.


Steve Winter, Representative, Merrimack District 3
Newbury and Sutton, New Hampshire 

Telephone:  603-271- 3125 and 271-3319

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