House Leaders Say State's Expanding Deficit Needs Immediate Action

CONCORD – House Speaker William O’Brien and House Majority Leader D.J. Bettencourt released the following statements today in response to news that the state revenues ran $16.3 million short of the plan passed by Governor Lynch and Democrats in last year’s supplemental budget.  Added to the existing $7 million hole from prior months, the state is currently facing a $23 million and growing deficit for the current fiscal year.

“This is the same old problem we have seen over and over again from Governor Lynch and the Democrats.  They overinflate revenue figures to pay for more spending and then act surprised when reality hits them across the face.  Sadly, that’s just what the governor has done once again with his budget proposal by inflating revenues by $300 million to avoid making the tough decisions to rein in state spending.  This is exactly why the voters elected a House Republican supermajority last November – so that we would have responsible leaders using trustworthy numbers who will restore accountability to the budget process.  We have quite a mess to clean up, but we are focused on solving this problem,” said Bettencourt.

“This recurring problem of having revenue estimates set too high was exactly why it was so critical to have our House Ways and Means Committee craft responsible and realistic figures for the next budget.  The citizens of New Hampshire deserve better than a never-ending series of budget deficits.  That said, we simply must start taking steps now to ensure that the budget problems we inherited don’t become an even greater issue for our next budget.  While there is little that the legislature can do this far into the budget to solve this shortfall, I will be bringing together the House members of the Fiscal Committee to review steps we can take immediately to stop the bleeding.  Furthermore, I call on the Governor to move by Executive Order to limit state spending now to fill this gap and on the Executive Council to look closely at any contract that spends state money in light of our fiscal situation.  We all need to come together to fix this serious problem,” said O’Brien.