"Don't hold your breath."
That's what I told the attendant (a very nice man) at the Hooksett rest area. He knows me; I usually stop there once a week and pop inside to remove the crosswords puzzles from the Weirs Times and Hippo.
He also knows I'm a State Representative, and he asked me what the chances are of getting a pay raise (or at least a cost of living increase) this year.
That's when I uttered the response noted in the headline here.
However, after learning that Hooksett (unlike most rest areas) is actually open 24 hours a day, I hastened to add, "Just hope for no reduction in staff."
Had I known these rest areas are open 24 hours a day and had I been on Division II of the Finance Committee two years ago (I was on Division I), I might have recommended such a RIF. Do we really need to man these areas 24 hours, especially at times of the year when there is virtually no traffic?
I'm just asking. Of course, I'm not on Finance now and have not asked to be, but those are the kind of questions somebody really needs to ask.
When I travel (from Manchester to Montreal) in the evening or at night, I never expect a rest area to be open (one in Vermont might actually be open, but there are certainly none in Quebec).
At a time when Governor Elect Hassan apparently is asking for proposed budgets of three percent less than those passed by Republicans two years ago (and bitterly complained about by Democrats!), 24 hour service at Hooksett should, as they say on my favorite Food TV show, be on the chopping block.
Just to reiterate in case you missed it...and in case you, like me, only know what you read in the paper. The Concord Monitor, under the headline "Hassan seeks modest budget cut", reports that Hassan, fearing ramifications of the fiscal cliff, is asking department heads to prepare, by January 4, a budget for 2014 of only 97 percent of the 2013 level, a level which she herself condemned. The 2015 budget would be back up to the 2013 level.
Remember how Democrats of most ilks (from Raybo on down) were moaning and posturing about the "draconian" cuts which Republicans shepherded through in the last budget cycle?
How delicious is it that the very same Democrats might well now be asked to swallow a budget with three percent fewer dollars?
You just can't make this stuff up.
Here's one further revelation...even if the fiscal cliff is avoided, the state may well only be able to afford the 97 percent level! Run that up the Democratic flag and see who salutes it!
These are tough times and without new taxes, monies are not going to be available.
As State Representatives prepare to form their county delegations, they (we) should ask county budget planners to do the same thing Hassan is asking state department heads. Come in with three percent cuts; counties can ill afford to spend more, probably even more so since most of the dollars to spend county budgets come from city and town property taxpayers. Enough of this idea of conservatives in Concord becoming wild big tax and spenders at the county level!
I repeat...to anyone expecting more monies from the state..."Don't hold your breath."