On Monday, “Governor Gridlock” Maggie Hassan kicked off her campaign with a video in which she bragged about balancing New Hampshire’s budget—a generous claim considering this is a task the Governor is required by law to complete.
Today, the New Hampshire Union Leader editorial board took Governor Gridlock to task for the budget explaining why this, “impressive sounding number isn’t that impressive.”
Ouch. Not even 72 hours into her campaign and Governor Gridlock is already grasping for straws.
The editorial board continued, “Hassan is using the balanced budget as the cornerstone of her newly launched campaign for United States Senate. Taking credit for a budget she vetoed and bragging about a surplus generated by taking money from the disabled seem like a strange way to start.”
ICYMI, check out the New Hampshire Union Leader’s editorial on Governor Gridlock’s “strange start”…
Balancing budget claims: Surplus numbers hide problems
New Hampshire Union Leader
October 7, 2015
The state of New Hampshire closed out fiscal year 2015 with a $73 million surplus. Sort of.
Columnist Charlie Arlinghaus writes extensively today on why that impressive sounding number isn’t that impressive. It stems mostly from budget writers carrying over $72 million from the budget two years ago that should have gone into the rainy day fund.
Tapping into this year’s surplus to pay next year’s bills is tempting when tough budget decisions are on the table. Higher than expected tax revenues are a windfall that eliminate the need to raise a tax or cut a program in the near future. The state’s long-term fiscal stability has to wait.
This year, legislative budget writers cut back on this bad habit, reducing the amount of money they planned to carry over into the current budget by a third to just $49 million. The rest would help restore the state’s paltry rainy day fund. Lawmakers were counting on $14 million for that purpose, and will end up with $24 million.
During the final contentious days of budget negotiations in June, Gov. Maggie Hassan argued that Republicans were too optimistic about the size of this year’s surplus, and called carrying over $49 million a gimmick. But state departments met their spending targets with ease. That’s in large part because the department of Health and Human Services forgot to spend $20 million meant for programs for the developmentally disabled. Hassan can’t explain how this happened.
Hassan is using the balanced budget as the cornerstone of her newly launched campaign for United States Senate. Taking credit for a budget she vetoed and bragging about a surplus generated by taking money from the disabled seem like a strange way to start.