The competing bills, L.D. 239 vs. L.D. 644, are dramatically different. To properly evaluate each proposal, the legislators need to look at the whole picture. In other words, what does the state get at the end of 10 years?

Seth Goodall’s bill (L.D. 644) is a remake of the last liquor contract with different numbers. It calls for $200 million up front and maybe $15 million to $20 million per year because the value of the liquor business is about $45 million per year. The $15 million to $20 million annually will go into the General Fund and buy services at the rate of $1 for $1.

In summary, the hospitals get paid and the state has spent $150 million to $200 million on who knows what. Total maximum benefit — $400 million plus the federal share of the hospitals’ bill ($300 million) for a total of $700 million.

The governor’s bill (L.D. 239) will pay the hospitals out of a 10-year bond that will cost about $22 million per year and the remainder goes to infrastructure investments and a rainy day fund.

The infrastructure investments bring in federal matching funds up to 5 to 1. This means that the federal match every year could be as high as $70 million to $80 million.

At the end of 10 years, the governor’s proposal will 1) pay the hospital loan; 2) bring in $700 million to $800 million in federal matching funds; 3) lower some liquor costs and 4) put $50 million to $100 million in a rainy day fund.

The total benefit to the state is greater than $1.4 billion over the 10-year period even after the interest ($40 million) is paid on the hospital loan. What’s not to like about the governor’s proposal?

Al Hodsdon


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