Lynch Budget Also Includes Tax Increases

Concord—With New Hampshire municipalities already struggling with the nearly $100 million in downshifting included in the current state budget by State House Democrats, they now face an $154M in additional costs thanks to Governor John Lynch.  The budget being delivered today to the House Finance committee includes several new taxes and fees along with the downshifting.

“The Governor claims his budget did not include tax increases.  It does, as the many new fees and bringing back a $90 million surcharge on motor vehicle registrations show.  In addition, by downshifting $154 million to cities and towns, he is absolutely raising local property taxes for working families and small businesses across the state.  Our citizens simply cannot afford to carry any more of a burden after the over 100 tax and fee increases of the past four years.”

According to figures released by the Legislative Budget Office (LBO), the Lynch Budget downshifts significant amounts of money in several areas.  The largest hit ($96.3M) came when the governor proposed eliminating the state subsidy for local retirement costs.  Other areas of significant downshift include Catastrophic Aid ($32.6M) and School Building Aid ($25.3M).

“While the governor’s budget was a good first step in the process, Republicans have made it clear that we will not support a budget that contains new taxes and fees or one that increases the burden on the taxpayers of this state through additional downshifting,” said House Majority Leader D.J. Bettencourt (R-Salem).  “In that respect, the governor’s budget is disappointing.”

Along with a number of new fee increases, Governor Lynch’s budget continues the $30 automobile registration fee, which will cost taxpayers $90M over the biennium.  He also continues the practice of bonding operating costs.  His budget calls for $15M to be bonded for kindergarten construction.

“Once again the governor is ‘kicking the can’ down the road by bonding operating costs.  We are already feeling the pain of having to pay for interest on past bonding and now he is looking to add further debt to future generations,” added Bettencourt.

“The House is committed to delivering a fiscally responsible budget without new taxes, fees or by shifting costs to the backs of New Hampshire homeowners.  We will make the tough decisions to live within our means so that we can create an environment to help create jobs and grow our economy,” said Speaker O’Brien.