One problem we're suffering in New Hampshire is a Democratic-majority legislature that passed a budget that grew 17.5% from the previous budget, knowing that the likelihood of a budget shortfall was high. The Republican minority warned their fellow legislators the budget was too fat and that their revenue estimates were overly optimistic. They were ignored. It turns out they were right.
So what do the Democrats in the legislature do? Blame President Bush, of course.
Never mind they were warned about the shortfall a year ago. They ignored it and now the bill has come due. There's a $50 million revenue shortfall to date. It could rise to $75-$100 million by the end of the fiscal year. But somehow it's all President Bush's fault.
The question is will the governor order an immediate freeze on hiring and discretionary spending as well as budget cuts for all departments? He hasn't so far. Some, including me, wonder whether this budget crisis will be used by the broad-base tax proponents to shove a sales or income tax upon the people of New Hampshire. There are a number of Democrats in the state that would love to have billions more dollars to spend on all of the social programs they want to foist upon the taxpayers in an effort to make New Hampshire more like our neighbor to the south – Massachusetts. Never mind that those programs waste billions and solve nothing.
Some may propose the broad-based tax as a panacea for rising property taxes, but previous experience in other states show that such taxes have a very short-lived effect on property taxes and then they start rising again. Too often the legislators find new and interesting ways to spend the extra revenue and funnel less and less of them to their intended purposes, leaving the taxpayers in the same predicament they were in before, but now with even less money in their pockets to pay their property taxes.
Will the governor step up and order spending cuts? Or will he let the tax-and-spenders win the day and destroy what has come to be called The New Hampshire Advantage, the low taxes and local control of spending that makes our state attractive to businesses?
What's your answer, Governor Lynch?