State needs more fiscal discipline
Since 2007, our Legislature has been spending itself into the current enormous deficit, and now both Republicans and Democrats are coming back to the people for more money. As a member of the New Hampshire Advantage Coalition, I believe we should heed the message that the problem is not a “revenue deficit” but is the direct result of overspending. Today, New Hampshire families are being faced with difficult choices in this economy and do not have the luxury of finding “new revenue sources.” Our working families are tapped out and cannot be looked to by lawmakers to fund their excessive spending habits. These big spenders need to do what our citizens are doing — tightening their belts and making do with less. The current budget deficit cannot be solved until lawmakers admit to themselves and recognize that it is caused by excessive spending before they try and destroy the New Hampshire advantage of not having a sales or income tax, specifically because of controlled and responsible spending. The conversation regarding the budget deficit must be cleared of threats of diminished services and should follow the same course many New Hampshire families are taking when managing their own household budgets. They are asking what can they do without and where can they reduce expenses. Working with the New Hampshire Advantage Coalition, I have been meeting with taxpayers from across the state and from Rindge to Rumney I hear the same thing: The taxpayers want government to spend less in order to reduce their tax burden, not come back to them for more money taken from their families’ budget in order to create a larger and less efficient government. Now is not the time for New Hampshire taxpayers to make a choice about which new “revenue stream” they want, but rather for New Hampshire lawmakers and Governor Lynch to spend less of the taxpayers’ money and reduce the burden felt by citizens and the business community in a weakened economy. California, Massachusetts, Vermont, and several other states that have not only property taxes, but also income and sales taxes also face falling state revenues and budget deficits. The suggestion that new revenue from a sales or income tax or even expanded gambling will reduce property taxes is a misleading notion. Any government — local, county, or state — that spends its constituents’ money like the Legislature has done and fails to grasp that low taxes are a direct result of low spending is condemned to find itself in a budget deficit. To correct this problem, the state should look at limiting its spending, not seeking more money from the people they serve that are having hard times themselves.
Matthew Murphy of Hampstead is director of the New Hampshire Advantage Coalition.