Coalition says New Hampshire Legislature should reign-in state spending and shun new taxes or fees

CONCORD, N.H. ― As progressive, big government lawmakers met at a managed Tax Summit inside the State House to push their pro income tax and sales tax agenda, Citizens for Sensible Legislation met outside the legislative office building with concerned New Hampshire residents to explain how uncontrolled spending by the New Hampshire State Legislature has led to large but reversible deficits in the state budget.

“The long-term strategy of the Democratic leadership in New Hampshire is to change our state political culture and significantly increase the size and scope of government,” said state Rep. Jennifer Coffey, R-Merrimack 6. “One of their main and most successful tactics so far has been to overspend us into a serious fiscal crisis.”

“Legislators in New Hampshire need to understand that the solution is reigning-in state spending, not engaging in out-of-control spending and then looking for more ways to fleece the hardworking families of this great state,” Coffey added.

It took 79 New Hampshire governors 200 years before state spending reached $1 billion; it only took six years for Gov. Jeanne Shaheen to double state spending and enact the state’s first statewide property tax. It’s true that Shaheen was governor 10 years ago, but her spend-then-tax historical record is about to repeat itself unless voters have something to say about it next year.

Democrats now control 56 percent of the state House, 58 percent of the state Senate, the governor’s office and 60 percent of the Executive Council. It should be clear to voters that the Democratic Party’s progressive agenda is trying to strip New Hampshire of its free market, low-cost advantage over other Northeastern states.

New Hampshire’s current $250 million state budget shortfall is partly the result of poor planning by Gov. John Lynch and Democratic state lawmakers as well as their brazenly audacious and unconstitutional idea that the state could steal $110 million from the private Medical Malpractice Fund to help balance their irresponsible spending. The Democratically controlled Legislature also passed 42 new or increased fees, but it wasn’t enough to quench their undying thirst for residents’ hard-earned dollars.

With the House Ways and Means Committee’s Tax Summit this week, progressive lawmakers are now looking for ways to take more money from Granite Staters so they can continue their uninhibited spending spree.

“The House Ways and Means Committee should have held a summit to talk about spending cuts, not a summit to find out how much more money they can take from New Hampshire citizens,” said Jim Forsythe, treasurer of Citizens For Sensible Legislation. “This is a problem of too much spending, not insufficient taxation.”

Citizens for Sensible Legislation also noted today that Democrats are trying to play word games by saying they are just “talking” about possibilities for new revenue in the state budget. Don’t let them fool you.

Susan Almy, a Democrat from Lebanon, is leading the House Ways and Means Committee toward broad-based taxes for New Hampshire. Democrats have said the Tax Summit would put all options on the table.

Any reasonable person knows that “all options” includes an income and sales tax, which if passed will create entirely new bureaucracies to collect these taxes and administer the new funds. Again, New Hampshire doesn’t need additional sources of tax revenue and new, all-consuming state departments. The governor and state Legislature need to control their spending problem.

New Hampshire has one of the lowest tax burdens in the nation due to its current tax structure, which is focused at the local level. When taxes get too high, citizens can show up at Town Hall meetings and vote against spending increases. Don’t be surprised if the spend-then-tax rhetoric of Democrats is reflected in the results of the next election.

“The Legislature should pay very close attention to the mood of New Hampshire citizens. Due to the economic crisis, everyone in the State of New Hampshire has tightened their belts ― except for the state Legislature,” Forsythe added. “The voters of New Hampshire are incredibly angry about the declining economy and their heavy tax burden. Increasing their burden by adding additional taxes is likely to result in a vicious backlash against big spending and pro-tax state legislators in 2010.”


About Citizens for Sensible Legislation

Citizens For Sensible Legislation is a volunteer coalition of residents committed to educating the people of New Hampshire about candidates, legislation and issues that affect individual and economic liberties.