NH House votes on the budget this week

This week, the NH House will debate and vote on the state budget.  I have a lot of concerns both about the numbers, and the methods.  Families here in Sullivan County have been struggling to make ends meet while their salaries have remained stagnant, and the price of everything has gone up.  I agree with NHGOP Chair Jennifer Horn, who said:

“The last thing we should do during these difficult economic times is take hundreds of millions of dollars out of the pockets of struggling New Hampshire families.”

Rep. Neal Kurk (R-Weare): of the House Finance Committee said:

“It includes over $70 million in increased taxes that will hurt the economy and job creation.”

In addition to the increased taxes and fees, I am extremely concerned that the House wants to give up our discretion regarding how your money is spent.  We Representatives are your oversight on government spending.  When we ask you for more money, particularly for a specific purpose, we are supposed to make sure that these agreements are honored.  Instead, the Democrat leadership in Finance wants us to give up that power to Governor Hassan.  This is not how NH government is supposed to work.

Rep. Karen Umberger (R-Intervale) of the House Finance Committee said:

“I find it unbelievable that the Democrats on House Finance would vote to cede nearly all legislative discretion and allow the Governor to sweep millions of dollars out of dedicated funds to cover a budget deficit. This could affect as many as 300 state programs or agencies that rely on dedicated funds including Fish & Game, State Parks, Enhanced 911 System or even unemployment compensation. Responsible budgeting starts with transparency. This is a terrible precedent to set. When people buy into these funds via a fee or license, they expect that those dollars be used for that purpose. Why have dedicated funds if the Governor can use them as an ATM?”

This country began with a fight over taxation without representation.  NH is a shining example of staying true to those founding principles by having one of the largest Legislative bodies in the world; so that we can be accessible to, and accountable to, You.  Don’t let them take this away from you.  Call or email your Representative and tell them to reject this plan, and that you want to remain in charge of how we spend your money.


About Rep. Steven Smith

Steven Smith is a member of the New Hampshire House of Representatives, serving his 7th term. Rep. Smith currently represents Charlestown, Newport, and Unity. Rep. Smith is the Deputy Speaker of the NH House.
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