Maggie Hassan: Fiscally Responsible State Budget the Foundation for Creating Jobs, Helping Businesses Grow

Maggie Hassan to Portsmouth Rotary Club: Fiscally Responsible State Budget the Foundation for Creating Jobs, Helping Businesses Grow

Hassan Calls for Budget Process Reforms Including Consensus Revenue Estimating Panel

PORTSMOUTH – Saying a fiscally responsible state budget is the foundation for a strong economy, Maggie Hassan today unveiled proposals for budget reforms that will help ensure state government is operating as efficiently as possible.

Speaking at a meeting of the Portsmouth Rotary Club, Hassan said that as governor she would reform the state budget process to provide the foundation for economic growth, including creating a Consensus Revenue Estimating Panel that would bring together economists, state agencies, Republican and Democratic legislators, along with the Governor’s office, to develop and update revenue estimates for the state throughout the year.

“We can have different priorities, but we need to have the same facts. The revenue estimates should not be Democratic or Republican; the numbers are the numbers.  That’s an important step toward breaking gridlock and bringing people together to move our state forward,” Hassan said.

As a leader in the state Senate at the height of the recession, Hassan worked closely with Gov. Lynch to make the tough decisions necessary to cut state spending by tens of millions of dollars – freezing hiring and purchasing, and closing state programs, offices and buildings.

“I worked with Governor Lynch to balance the state budget, without an income or a sales tax, by making the tough decisions necessary to maintain fiscal responsibility,” Hassan said.  “As Governor, I will take the same approach to keep New Hampshire moving forward and businesses creating jobs.  I will demand efficiencies and make the hard choices so we can focus on our priorities.  And I will veto any income or sales tax.  But to meet those goals, we need to reform the budget process and ensure we are all working with the same facts.”

Hassan’s budget reforms would also include working with the legislature to review the auditing process for auditing state agencies to ensure that the biggest programs and the biggest agencies are audited more often to find greater efficiencies and savings.  Hassan would also demand greater accountability and provide greater transparency to the people of the state about what their taxpayer dollars are buying by working with agencies to develop performance goals and metrics and to make sure that information is online.

As State Senate Majority Leader, Maggie Hassan worked with Gov. Lynch and colleagues to cut millions of dollars in spending, balancing the state’s budget and leaving a budget surplus[i].  Hassan’s fiscally responsible budget plan builds on her “Innovate NH” jobs plan, which will build New Hampshire’s workforce by freezing college tuition; provide tax credits; and give businesses technical assistance to help them grow and create jobs.  

Hassan said her budget approach will include reversing some of the poor decisions this current legislature made – such as cutting funding for higher education in half while cutting the tobacco tax and diverting millions in taxpayer money to private and religious schools.  Hassan also supports one highly regulated casino.

Ovide Lamontagne has an extreme agenda that will hurt New Hampshire’s middle-class families and the economy. He has said he will reject federal funds for local schools[ii] and ignore rising tuition costs caused by cuts to higher education.[iii]

“My ‘Innovate NH’ jobs plan will support the efforts of our businesses to grow and create jobs for more Granite Staters, and the crucial foundation for that plan is a fiscally responsible state budget,” said Hassan.  “On the other hand, Ovide’s extreme ideas to cut public education funding, allow tuition costs to skyrocket, and undermine health care for seniors and women will hurt middle class families and prevent New Hampshire’s economy from moving forward.”