AS SECOND HALF OF LEGISLATIVE SESSION BEGINS GRANITE STATE TAXPAYERS CALLS FOR BIPARTISAN SOLUTIONS TO SPENDING CRISIS
The current legislative majority and Gov. Lynch are proving to be the worst custodians of state government in New Hampshire's history. They not only have raised the state's operating budget by 17.4%, the largest increase in New Hampshire history, they also have failed to address critical problems, such as educational funding and our deteriorating highways.
Instead of this new majority being responsible stewards of the public trust, they have concentrated their efforts on the frivolous, such as bills to outlaw helium balloons and resolutions recommending the impeachment of the vice president to the Congress. Where they have acted substantively, they have done so on strictly partisan grounds and we find legislative disasters, such as the unfunded mandate for kindergartens and House Bill 471, a new law intended to put small contractors at a disadvantage to union labor by expanding expensive worker's compensation insurance coverage to self-employed construction workers.
The result is that, according to the Josiah Bartlett Center for Social Policy, the New Hampshire state budget likely will be $75.5 million in the red, and perhaps even up to $137.6 million, for the fiscal year ending June 2008. Moreover, the failure of this biennium's legislative and executive branches to limit judicial intrusion into educational policies will result in, again according to the Bartlett Center, a " huge spending obligation of $620 - $840 million [that] will push the size of the hole in the budget over a billion dollars." In response Chairman Roy Stewart of Granite State Taxpayers noted, "This looming deficit and spending crisis requires that the Legislature put aside its harsh, partisan goals and work with those who in the past have shown how to bring prosperity to the New Hampshire through controlled spending and low taxes."
We have seen a multitude of new "under the radar" state fees and taxes from this legislative session, such as increased taxes on the ever unpopular smokers and tobacco retailers, increased real estate transfer taxes, increased turnpike tolls, a $6 new charge per motorist that was calculated to create no great outcry, and a fee of as much as $200 per truck that would hurt the less numerous members of the trucking industry. Despite these efforts, only broad-based and economically disastrous taxes will fill the present and looming budget deficits unless both the Legislature acts responsibly during the upcoming second half of this session and Gov. Lynch gives up his "triangulation" approach of trying to please everyone in favor of true leadership.
As Granite State Taxpayers' Vice Chairman and press spokesperson Bill O'Brien was quoted as saying, "In more sensible times Gov. Mel Thomson adopted, and New Hampshire lived by, the slogan that 'Low taxes are the result of low spending.' Gov. Lynch and his legislative majority need to return to that confirmed wisdom or the New Hampshire Advantage of low taxes and prosperity will be forever lost."
The second year deliberations of the current legislative session begin on January 2, 2008. Granite State Taxpayers calls on Gov. Lynch and the current legislative majority to turn to those in the minority party who brought this state years of balanced budgets and low taxes and work with them to avoid runaway spending and save the New Hampshire Advantage. Bipartisanship is called for; this state deserves better than a partisan legislature pursuing a spendthrift agenda.
Granite State Taxpayers was founded in 1990 by Governor Mel Thomson and State Senator George Lovejoy. It is a non-partisan, non-sectarian, and non-profit organization of New Hampshire citizens. For more information, please log onto http://www.granitestatetaxpayers.org/