Saturday, July 2, 2011

Norelli again claims Portsmouth Herald misquoted her

September 23, 2009 by Patrick  
Filed under State House

For the second time, New Hampshire House Speaker Terie Norelli is claiming her hometown paper has misrepresented her remarks at a controversial editorial board meeting earlier this month.

The Portsmouth Herald reporter Michael McCord quoted the Speaker Tuesday downplaying the August drop in state revenues. “But July and August normally don’t provide us solid indicators. I think we will have a better idea of how things are going in this highly volatile economic environment with the September numbers. They will provide us with a lot more information,” Norelli said to the Herald.

But the Herald had previously reported that at her September 2nd editorial board meeting, Norelli said she would “absolutely” be concerned if August revenues were down:

Norelli was asked about state revenue reports released in August that were almost 16 percent lower than projected, in part because liquor and tobacco sales were not as robust as anticipated. The state’s rooms and meals tax revenue was also off by $3.7 million, or 13 percent, despite the Legislature’s move to increase that tax rate to 9 percent from 8 percent. Norelli said the figures represented “July money. And it rained all of July, so are we surprised?” When asked if she would be concerned if August revenue was also down, she said, “absolutely.”

“I said the same thing to the editorial [board] as I did to Mike McCord. Mike got it right,” Norelli told NowHampshire.com when asked about the discrepancy.

Wait until September

Wait until September

When asked specifically if she was suggesting the Herald had misrepresented her remarks, Norelli again asserted that McCord’s reporting was accurate.

“The [editorial board] asked specifically about rooms and meals, and it rained all July. I did tell them also that there are particular months that tell us more in general about revenue trends – Sept being one of them,” she said.

“Mike McCord got the whole context right,” she added.

NowHampshire.com reached out to the Portsmouth Herald for clarification but they did not respond to our request for comment.

This is the second time the Speaker has challenged the Herald’s version of events at the September editorial board meeting. Earlier in the month Republicans reacted with outrage after the Herald reported Norelli and other state leaders were planning to hold an “economic summit” to discuss, among other things, an income tax.

Norelli and other House Democratic leaders now say the event will be an “education session” and will not focus on an income tax at all.

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