Budget Season in New Hampshire - Granite Grok

Budget Season in New Hampshire

Figures lie and liars figure.

The New Hampshire State Senate has passed a 2 year $13 billion state budget. The last state budget was $11 billion. Now maybe you are getting 9% per year raises… but most of us are not. Those living on fixed incomes most certainly are not. New Hampshire is one of the oldest states in the nation. This budget is disrespectful of the taxpayers of the state. Worse yet it ignores economic reality.

House and Senate versions have differences… Lesser of two evils differences

The House and Senate versions of the budget spend about the same amount from the general fund. The two versions do differ in several key areas. Both versions increase education funding. However the House restores “stabilization grants”. To cover the spending they create a new capital gains tax. The new tax targets retirees and the elderly.

The Senate version would eliminate that tax. It would also send more unrestricted money back to towns and cities. It does this in the form of revenue sharing. They are going to raise taxes so they can give back to cities and towns… $28 million more than the House.

That’s damn generous… raising taxes on the people and businesses in order to give a fraction back to the counties and cities. Maybe the counties and cities should ask their tax payers for more if they really need it. Why doesn’t that make sense in Concord? Do legislators really believe raising state taxes in order to increase local spending is anything other than inappropriate, wasteful and duplicitous?

Legislative reasoning… investing in healthcare and dignity?

Sen. Cindy Rosenwald of Nashua said, “If our first priority is funding programs to allow people to live decently and with dignity, this committee amendment does that…” She emphasized the proposal’s investments in women’s health care, services to help struggling parents and programs that allow the elderly and people with disabilities live independently.

The question for the good senator from Nashua is: Why does increasing the taxes, which are taken from the people and businesses of New Hampshire, by more than 20%, help them? That’s how you increase the New Hampshire Advantage, by taking money out of household budgets? Is state government really going to spend that money so much better than taxpayers will… Really? Why Senator, does it make sense to have state government picking winners and losers in the economy? Why is your redistribution fairer than my distribution? The voters would really like to know.

A Deal’s a Deal Until the Next Election…

The senate budget would allow state funds to be used to partially pay for the state’s expanded Medicaid program. Democrats argue doing so is necessary to protect the health care of roughly 50,000 people. Republicans argued it violates the original bipartisan agreement to extend coverage to more low-income adults.

Sen. Chuck Morse responded, “We built a document, we did it in good faith, and we said we weren’t going to use general funds… To suggest that this senator doesn’t give a damn is absolutely wrong. What I give a damn about is building an honest budget that doesn’t change the deal we had and explains to the public exactly what we’re doing,” he said.

The Democrats’ plan also does away with scheduled business tax rate reductions. The result is significant business tax increases to the plans of every business both for profit and nonprofit in the state. It also includes a paid family medical program. An equivalent is available currently in the private sector to those who want it. The state version of family medical leave requires a state income tax and significantly grows government.

Almost no businesses buy the product in the private market. Apparently it is not a competitive advantage… nobody is asking for it. The Democrats’ plan clearly undermines the state’s thriving economy. It makes the tax environment unstable and drives up cost to do business in the near term. It will drive businesses away and prevent them from starting.

The Plan for the Future…

Sen. Tom Sherman of Rye, urged senators to look beyond the economy. He said, “It’s about the people.” To which we respond; the good senator need look no further than Vermont to see the results of his proposed socialist policies.

When we were kids senator New Hampshire and Vermont had about the same population. Now, New Hampshire has twice the number of people Vermont does. To sharpen the point, Vermont passed a bill which is now in effect that pays people $10,000 to move to Vermont… and there is little interest in taking them up on the offer. Senator: You are not helping people when your actions ignore economic reality.

Just Veto this and start again…

This is a bad budget, House version or Senate version. Its priorities are all wrong. It includes profligate tax increases. This budget grows government. It creates a hostile business environment. Its targets seniors and the elderly for additional taxation.  This budget is bad for the citizens of New Hampshire. It is worse for the state’s future. Governor Sununu please; veto this budget. Make the legislature wake up and smell the coffee.