In Case You Missed It:
Concord - Foster's Daily Democrat ran an op-ed by Ray Buckley, the New Hampshire Democratic Party Chairman, in honor of 'Tax Day,' April 15th. The op-ed contrasts the reckless Republican record of spending increases over the past thirty years with the responsible and balanced approach taken by Democrats and Governor Lynch.
Foster's Daily Democrat: Numbers tell the story on Tax Day
New Hampshire Republicans have expertly spread the myth that their party is the party of fiscal responsibility and low taxes. The problem is that this claim is only that - a myth. The numbers don't lie.
According to the right wing think tank the Tax Foundation, when Republicans are in control in New Hampshire taxes go up. Over the last three decades, when a Republican was in the corner office, taxes increased by an average of 7 percent per person every year.
This is an astronomical sum compared to Gov. Lynch's record of fiscal responsibility and low taxes. Under Gov. Lynch, New Hampshire has the second lowest state tax burden per capita in the country.
And the Republican record on spending is as dismal as their record on keeping taxes low. Cutting general fund spending is something that John Sununu, Judd Gregg, and Craig Benson never did as governor, but it is something Gov. John Lynch has already done. Twice.
Over the past 30 years, Republican governors in New Hampshire have increased spending by an average of 17 percent per biennium - more than double the rate of Democratic governors.
And many of the most prominent members of today's Republican Party are the worst offenders. Current Republican chair and former Governor John H. Sununu increased spending by an average of 22 percent per biennium as governor and left the state budget in deficit.
John Stephen, the leading Republican candidate for Governor, has been just as irresponsible with the state's finances as his mentor John H. Sununu. Stephen asked for a half-billion dollar increase in his budget when he served as Health and Human Services commissioner. Stephen also double-counted revenue, creating a $70 million budget hole, and today the state is facing a federal audit from his years as commissioner.
The New Hampshire Republican Party's lack of fiscal responsibility shouldn't come as a surprise. We've seen the same thing on the federal level. President George W. Bush took the largest surplus in U.S. history and turned it into the largest deficit we have ever seen. He then ignored all the warning signs and drove the economy into the ground creating the worst recession and highest unemployment levels since the Great Depression.
Since the moment he took office President Obama has been working hard to fix these problems. Over the past 14 months, the job market has improved dramatically. We were losing 800,000 jobs a month when Bush left office, but just last month over 160,000 new jobs were created. He's done this while also passing a series of tax cuts targeted to help middle class families and those struggling to stay afloat in these difficult economic times.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act included the largest tax cut for the middle class in United States history. It contained 25 individual tax cuts for American families - from the 'Making Work Pay' refundable income tax credit, to the 'American Opportunity' tax credit for education costs, to the giving three quarters of small businesses relief from the Capital Gains Tax. And it was passed despite the support of only three Republicans in the Senate and no Republicans in the House of Representatives.
We can't afford the Republican ideas of fiscal responsibility - turning surpluses into deficit, 22 percent increases in state spending, and taking money away from middle class tax cuts to provide corporate tax breaks. The myth that Republicans are the party of fiscal responsibility should end today.
Ray Buckley is the Chair of the New Hampshire Democratic Party.
Key Facts on Democrats' Record of Fiscal Responsibility and Republican Recklessness
- Nearly all the taxes in New Hampshire were created by Republican governors and Republican legislatures.
- Unlike how Democrats are responsibly handling the budget today, in the last major recession Republicans imposed a 3 percent communications services tax, increased the Real Estate Transfer Tax from $4.75 to $6 per thousand, imposed a 2 cent per gallon tax on all motor fuels, plus a $5 process fee for diesel fuel users and hazardous waste transporters. And these are just a few of the dozens of taxes and fees that were increased that year.
- Over the past 30 years Republican governors have increased spending more than twice as much as Democrats. And more than three times the rate of Governor Lynch.
- Republican governors increased spending by an average of 17% compared to less than 8% for Democrats. And 5% for Governor Lynch.
- One of the worst offenders is Governor Sununu who increased spending an average of 23% per biennium and almost doubled state spending during his time as Governor, increasing it by 87.2%.
- Governor Lynch and Governor Shaheen, have been the two most fiscally responsible governors in New Hampshire history.
- Cutting general fund spending is something that John Sununu, Judd Gregg, and Craig Benson never did as governor, but it is something Gov. John Lynch has already done. Twice.
- New Hampshire has the fourth lowest spending of any state government per capita. And New Hampshire's current tax burden ranks 5th lowest in the nation, 3.1% lower than the national average.
- Under Democratic Leadership Granite Staters get the best bang for their buck. New Hampshire is the safest state in the nation according to the FBI, ranks among the top five states in key measures of reading and math, New Hampshire is the number one place to raise a family according to the Annie E. Casey Foundation, and CQ Press Ranked New Hampshire as the most livable state in the nation for the fifth year in a row.
- President Obama and Democrats in Congress cut individuals' federal tax bills for this year by approximately $173 billion. And over the life of the Recovery Act, Americans can expect to save around $300 billion in taxes. Families are receiving record tax refunds - on average $266 more than last year.
John Stephen's Record of Fiscal Incompetence
- During his five years at the Department of Safety, that agency's budget more than doubled, increasing 103 percent - or over 12 percent a year.
- In 2004, in his first budget as Health and Human Services Commissioner, John Stephen asked for an 11 percent increase in general funds.
- Just weeks before the budget was to be presented to the legislature in 2005, John Stephen confessed that he had double-counted $70 million in federal funds - opening up a huge new hole in his department's budget.
- In his second budget as Health and Human Services commissioner, John Stephen requested a 13 percent increase in his budget.
- The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of the Inspector General is demanding the state repay $35 million from 2004, claiming improper use of federal funds during the time John Stephen was commissioner.
- Former Republican Congressman and current state senator, Jeb Bradley called John Stephen, a "big spending bureaucrat."