Rep. Stepanek to Lamontagne: “What would you do to eliminate a $900 million deficit?”
MANCHESTER – Today, several Republican State Representatives commented on a statement made by gubernatorial candidate Ovide Lamontagne during the WMUR-TV Republican debate in which Lamontagne said he opposed the Republican legislature’s budget that eliminated a $900 million deficit.
During the debate, Lamontagne remarked, “There are items that I disagreed with in this last legislature, in particular the budget itself.”
Assistant Majority Leader and Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, Stephen Stepanek, expressed frustration with Lamontagne’s comments.
“If Ovide disagrees with the Republican’s balanced budget, then my first question to him is, what would you to eliminate a $900 million deficit?” said Stepanek. “It’s easy to sit on the sidelines and cast doubt on our efforts to balance a broken budget, but at least give us something more than the rhetoric we hear from the left.”
“To date, I've still yet to hear Ovide's solutions to prevent this from happening again, and his statement on the issue is strangely similar to that of the Democrats, Maggie Hassan and Jackie Cilley,” said Representative Todd Smith.
Kevin Smith, Republican candidate for Governor, and Lamontagne’s primary opponent, condemned Democrats Maggie Hassan and Jackie Cilley in the debate for dramatically increasing spending and taxes during their tenure in the legislature, and defended House Speaker Bill O’Brien and the Republican legislature’s work to balance the budget.
“The reality is while they were in office for four years, they wracked up the largest spending increases – 25 percent spending increase over four years and 84 taxes and fees,” said Smith. “What Bill O’Brien had to do, and Peter Bragdon the President of the Senate had to do, when they came in was reduce a $900 million budget deficit. Our budget is only $5 billion dollars. That was roughly 20 percent of our budget. And, through their leadership, they cut state spending by 11 percent, they made the tough choices, and they ought to be commended for doing right by the taxpayer, and bringing our budget back into balance.”
“This is a perfect example of how Ovide just doesn’t have the experience on these important issues. He’s arguing from a standpoint of theory rather than practice,” said Stepanek. “Ovide really should not criticize something that he has no experience doing.”
“During this last legislative session, we had to make hard choices to restore fiscal sanity to our budget for which we took a lot of criticism,” said Representative Dan Itse. “To have one of our own cast doubt upon what we did has led me to support Kevin Smith.”