Tuesday, August 11, 2009

New Hampshire Is Not Fiscally Responsible

It's ironic that Governor John Lynch is touting New Hampshire to other states as an example of fiscal responsibility. Ironic because it isn't true.

In the face of a deep national recession, New Hampshire stands as an example for other states in crafting a budget that makes tough cuts and lowers spending, while protecting essential services and avoiding major new taxes.

Instead, the Legislature raised existing taxes and fees, in some cases adversely affecting 45,000 small businesses in the state at a time when they could least afford it. (Hey, there's a recession on and business is way down, meaning income is down.)

The state did not lower spending...unless you call over $1.2 billion (~13%) in additional spending compared to the previous budget “lowering” spending.

We produced a budget that makes cuts by making changes to just about every area of state government and sets state government on a path to greater reform. Overall, state spending is down about 1 percent.

“Down 1 percent”? Maybe compared to the original proposed budget (an increase of 13% instead of 14%), but not when compared to the previous budget.

The governor and the legislature had more than enough opportunities to truly trim the budget and minimize the burden to the taxpayers in New Hampshire. They had more than enough time to look at the projected revenues and to craft a budget that fit within the constraints of those revenues. Instead they reversed the order, putting together a budget and only then looking to see if there would be enough money to pay for it. When it became apparent the revenues wouldn't come close to being able to fund the proposed spending, the legislature raised taxes and fees that hit the taxpayers at a time when they could least afford it.

Both the governor and the legislature failed the people of New Hampshire. We expected an austere budget, even if it meant laying off state employees and a reduction is services. What we got instead was a crap sandwich that we were expected to swallow whole and then say “Please, sir, may we have another?”

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