Well, today was Budget Day in the House, and we learned how the House Democrat Majority and their Finance Committee took a perfectly reasonable and fiscally responsible budget presented by the Governor and turned it into an absolutely irresponsible tax and spend trainwreck.
We started off playing really nicely together and voting for HB-25-A which made appropriations for capital improvements for the biennium. This vote of 362-5 kept intact all of the Governor’s initial requests and even included the dredging of Rye Harbor. It was after that that the waters got muddy and turbulent.
We moved onto HB2 – the part of the budget that deals with state fees, funds, revenues and expenses. We learned that right after Republicans filed an amendment (1455h) to reinstate $500,000 funding for the Internet Crimes Against Children Fund (ICAC), which the Finance Committee stripped out because it “wasn’t a priority”, that the Democrats raced to post their own amendment (1469h – the “Lovejoy Amendment”) to do the same thing!
Democrats chose to steal money from Fort Stark Historic Park to do so. Of course, the Speaker brought the “Lovejoy Amendment” up for House vote first before the Republican’s amendment. Needless to say, the House Democrat Majority supported their own amendment and called the Republican amendment, “redundant.” Republicans just wanted to get the ICAC program funded, and in the end, the House voted 376-4 on the Lovejoy Amendment. Fort Stark will just have to defend itself for another biennium.
We learned that the House Democrat Majority would rather increase the State budget by 13% and institute $400 million in increased taxes and fees upon Granite Staters than to adopt a budget that contains no capital gains tax, no income tax, and no payroll tax, while giving businesses the tax relief that helps them thrive (HB1 amended). This puts a different interpretation on the phrase “no brainer”.
We learned that the House Democrat Majority would rather fund a Family Leave Plan (amendment 1435h) that incurs a $168 million dollar income tax instead of enacting the Governor’s Twin State Voluntary Leave plan which works with VT to provide a plan to any business or individual who chooses to opt-in without imposing a state income tax or payroll tax. That’s enough to make anyone sick.
We learned that the House Democrat Majority is happy to drag their feet and yet again kick the can down the road and do more studies on whether we need a Secure Psychiatric Unit (amendment 1470h) when the Governor’s Budget already had plans to fund and build this much-needed facility that should have been opened yesterday. Perhaps we should study why the House Democrat Majority feels they need so many studies.
We learned that the House Democrat Majority would rather fund and grow government by basing expenditures on one time revenues (our State surplus money), inflated capital gains estimates and other unproven revenue streams. When those one time revenues are gone, and other income doesn’t come close to their budget expectations the future deficits will be crushing. I’ve seen the future, and it looks a lot like CT.
We learned that in order to fund education “adequately,” the House Democrat Majority is willing to heap more taxes on Granite Staters, shortchange the rainy day fund and make tens of millions of dollars of cuts to our capital infrastructure projects across the state. But, it’s for the children and will cut property taxes…. right? Not likely. What you won’t pay in property tax you will pay in other taxes and fees, downshifted costs to municipalities and the pain that stifled business and cuts to infrastructure programs brings. This kind of reminds me of a shell game I saw on a NYC street corner.
We learned that the House Democrat Majority is willing to spend $500,000, that’s a half million dollars, to study education funding after two years was spent on doing that practically for free. We already know how the formulas should change and what needs to be done. But just like the Psychiatric Unit, they want to study it more rather than implement the suggested changes now, without massive taxes and spending. And here I thought the Majority Party liked “free stuff” since they are always promising that to everyone who votes for them.
We learned that after the years of hard work of building a booming economy and successful fiscal management of this State that the House Democrat Majority are more than willing to go down a path of fiscal destruction in order to “cherish education.” I’ve seen this movie before. If I didn’t know any better, I would think I was living in CT.
Yes kids, today we learned what the words reckless and irresponsible mean.
Next up, Senate Bills come to the House. That will be a whole “nother” story.