A summer spent rewriting history

The governor’s claims about the state budget don’t match the reality

Governor Hassan is spending her summer rewriting history, taking credit for the sound, conservative budget Republican legislators wrote, which she vetoed last June. The current budget is one that does more with less and meets our critical needs, while not increasing the burden on taxpayers. It spends $11.35 billion in total funds which is a decrease from six years ago and provides considerably more services with nearly 2,000 fewer employees during the same period.

Last year, House and Senate Republicans crafted a fiscally responsible budget that helped grow New Hampshire’s economy and create jobs.

Specifically, this budget included:

• The first cuts to the onerous business enterprise tax ever, and to the business profits tax in more than 20 years, lessening the uncompetitive financial burden on small businesses.

• A 75 percent increase in substance abuse funding critical to addressing the heroin and opioid crisis.

• Eliminating the Developmental Disabilities Waitlist, providing these citizens with the proper care and resources they need for a good quality of life.

• Funding to finish and open the 10-bed mental health crisis unit at New Hampshire Hospital.

• A $23 million increase to the Rainy Day Fund.

• Returned significant funding to cities and towns to support community needs.

• Funding for critical road, bridge and infrastructure repair projects.

• Increases in education funding for our students in public schools across New Hampshire.

Governor Hassan, in a purely politically motivated move, vetoed the responsible budget Republican legislators built after crowing that it was unfunded and irresponsible.

But, after our Democratic colleagues realized the harm the threemonth absence of a new budget was having on the citizens in our state, they stepped in to support the Senate and House budget in a historic override of the governor’s veto.

The reality is that the governor’s veto, and the three-month standoff she perpetuated, caused unnecessary and dangerous uncertainty for state agencies serving our citizens. Governor Hassan’s veto delayed critical policy changes and essential funding for key initiatives including the heroin crisis and mental health care in the state, which we are still battling today.

However, the business tax cuts Senate Republicans passed in the last budget, which were the main cause of Governor Hassan’s misguided veto, are proving to have the intended effect of restoring confidence in our small business owners, growing jobs and steadily improving the state’s economy, driving up revenues month over month to the tune of a $100 million surplus.

Now, Governor Hassan shamelessly claims ownership of the budget she vetoed, touting its success, including the $100 million in surplus funds it has generated so far.

That’s revisionist history at its worst.

Rather than taking credit for a budget she didn’t write while campaigning for a new job, perhaps she should focus on the one she already has and provide the leadership required to implement the current budget. For reasons unknown to us, and despite fully funding the developmentally disabled community, a list remains with 151 families waiting for services, and the funds provided have not been deployed. In the middle of a heroin epidemic plaguing our friends, family and neighbors, patients are still waiting for intensive mental health care in hospital emergency rooms due, in part, to a senseless year-long wait to open the new 10-bed mental health unit at New Hampshire Hospital.

House and Senate Republicans stand behind our record of crafting a smart, effective yet lean budget that helps New Hampshire’s economy. All we are asking of Governor Hassan is to stand behind her record.

Sen. Chuck Morse, R-Salem, is president of the NH Senate.

Categories: Opinion