“Look to the sky when you do revenue estimates because we need the money.”
-Marjorie Smith (D- Durham) Chair House Finance Committee 2007
One month after the supposed start of the ‘Great Recession™’ and just a few months after New Hampshire Democrats historic spending spree, a partisan vote of the General Court’s Joint Facilities Committee increased pay and benefits for 145 members of the legislative staff. The hike added almost a million dollars on the backs of taxpayers at the beginning of an economic downturn. More spending without concern for how we’d pay for it. A trend New Hampshire Democrats would continue into the next session. An attitude Marjorie Smith (D- Durham), the chair of the House finance committee, would frame with the words “Look to they sky when you do revenue because we need the money.”
Hang on a moment while I add a line to my check register that says I made an extra million dollars this year. Oh look, time to go shopping! Shall we proceed?
So the overestimating of revenue that was the hallmark of the Democrats first session would continue, to try and hide the spending we could never afford in the first session, and to justify the Grow-Government-First Democrats child-like obsession with expanding government simply because they wanted to do it.
Just a few months into a Democrat rule that had already put us $21,000,000.00 (million behind), on pace to come up short $50,000,000.00 million, New Hampshire Democrats “aim high mantra” had estimated Business tax growth of 7.7%, revenue that actually came in down 9.5%. Business tax revenue was down 9.5% from the previous year’s figures with no signs of turning around. But, New Hampshire Democrats “looked to the sky” for revenue, not because of any anticipated turnaround; in fact, the left’s economic misery and scare tactics, which peaked in late 2008, would begin with enthusiasm at the national level and trickle down to the local level. The signals were there; the economy was on shaky ground, but not for New Hampshire Democrats, who just wanted to keep spending. If they aimed high, they could spend high, even though all indicators were that revenue would continue to come up short.
But why do that? By law they have to balance the budget, right? Why estimate revenue you know you’ll never have so that you can spend it?
If the debt situation were dire enough, they’d have a wedge to get what they were always after. A shiny new broad-based tax. Democrats were not spending on New Hampshire’s priorities; they were spending for their own. A broad-based tax was the left’s Holy Grail. It opened the state up to a significant increase in tax dollars and the lobbyists and NGO’s, non-profits, and special interests that come out of the woodwork to help spend them. Groups that would return the favor by supporting the candidates who kept the spigots of a growing tax and spend government open. This is how Massachusetts, New York, Michigan, Rhode Island, California and all the other high-tax, Democrat-run budget deficit riddled taxaholic disasters came into being. Powerful Public unions and special interests feed off taxpayer money, keeping the tax and spenders in power.
New Hampshire Democrats had complete control of state government. This was their chance to have what they always wanted, all the political influence and power your money could buy.
Don’t believe me? Consider this. Despite recommendations by Governor Lynch’s own department head, that revenue could be down between $140 million and $195 million from the previous cycle, the governor and Democrats not only ignored the predicted decline they increased General Fund spending (with your money) 17.5% anyway. The only possible reason to do that is so you can add new taxes because you have to pay for it. They were just after your money.
Another trend that would follow Democrat’s stewardship of the people’s budget? They immediately found themselves using one-time money, other funds, and receipts received in January 2007 (from the previous budget year), to argue that their ‘estimates’ in this budget cycle were much closer than they actually were.
Even with all the new taxes in the budget that “addressed our priorities with no new taxes,” by February of 2008, a full year into the Democrats budget, we would be short close to $138,000,000.00 Million dollars and well on a path to the $800,000,000.00 Million dollar budget hole Democrats left behind when they were shown the door in November
As we approach November 2012 we each must ask ourselves this question. Were New Hampshire Democrats grossly incompetent or were they intentionally digging a budget hole as an excuse to burden New Hampshire citizens with a larger, broader tax burden to feed a larger less responsive bureaucracy–and during the Great recession no less?