When a “Surplus” is not a surplus…

by JR Hoell

Tax Money down the toilet for DoD green energy awardsRecently, “His Excellency” [NH constitution Part Second, Art 41: ] Governor Margaret Hassan proudly proclaimed that we had a budget surplus. Here She pontificates about how well her administration has done.

HOWEVER, within a very short two days, the “Kool Aid® drinking binge” had completely worn off and Governor Margaret Hassan sent out this press release:

CONCORD –Taking fiscally responsible action to maintain a balanced budget in light of revenues falling below bipartisan projections, Governor Maggie Hassan today sent a letter to agency heads directing state agencies to submit plans to reduce their budgets for Fiscal Year 2015.

So Maggie Hassan’s “surplus” is a lot like New England weather; just wait a moment, it’ll be a deficit.

Now the real budget situation, that is much closer to what former Speaker O’Brien said in this UL Op-Ed

The Democrats’ 2009-11 budget was $11.6 billion, the demonized 2011-13 balanced budget (which left a $72 million surplus the current majority has spent) was $10.5 billion, and their current budget, which appears already to be out of balance because of executive mismanagement, is a little less than $10.8 billion.

Charlie Arlinghaus, opining in today’s UL about Hassan’s first budget, said this.

THE STATE budget is a mess and it keeps getting worse. What’s worse is that this budget mess isn’t caused by a recession, but by poor management and political gamesmanship. The first year of the budget significantly overspent. The second year, which we are in now, is significantly out of balance. All of this will make the next budget a significant problem.

The best summary is what Charlie stated when he said this:

But spending is a real problem. The current budget is a disaster by almost every measure. Notably, the first year of the budget spent $52 million more than it raised. But because it was bequeathed the $72.2 million, the governor was able to claim last week “the year ended in surplus.” A more appropriate, if longer, news release headline might have been “we lost control of spending, spent money we weren’t supposed to, spent the $15.3 million extra the Legislature specifically refused to let us spend, deficit spent $52 million, but had our bacon saved by the last Legislature’s prudent surplus even though we hate them.” Very accurate, but it may not be the message they want to send.

The bottom line, we are facing a real budget issue in the next eight months and our Governor has been complicit in hiding the issue which makes this a bigger problem for the citizens that she is here to “serve.”

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