Looking Forward to 2014
The tree is down, the decorations are safely backed in their storage boxes and the boxes are back in the attic…Happy New Year!
During 2013, the New Hampshire House of Representatives restored civility and bipartisanship to our political discourse in Concord. Working with Governor Hassan, we were able to preserve and further the real “New Hampshire Advantage” which is our people, our strong sense of community and our willingness to work together for our shared common purpose.
We kept college tuition rates for New Hampshire families from going up. We provided tax credits to businesses that wanted to bring new good paying jobs to New Hampshire, by doubling the research and development tax credit. And we provided much needed funding to rebuild our mental health system and restore important social services that help working families across our state.
And we did so in a fiscally responsible way.
On December 26, we learned that the state of New Hampshire would finish 2013 with a budget surplus of $72.2 million. I believe, along with many of my colleagues from both sides of the aisle, that a portion of this surplus should be placed in the state’s “rainy day fund” as protection in the event of future budget deficits. But I also believe that another portion should be re-invested in the priorities that will help strengthen New Hampshire’s economy for the future.
We should strive to reduce or eliminate the $25 million in “back of the budget” personnel related spending cuts that Senate Republicans insisted needed to be included in the budget for the next two years. Doing so will save hundreds of jobs and enable the state to deliver much needed services that will benefit all of us.
To the extent we can, we should also look for ways to provide some relief to our towns and school districts. With the Republican super majorities in control, the previous state budget “downshifted” millions of dollars of costs to our towns and school districts. Examples of what we might consider doing include expanding school building aid and providing additional assistance for public works projects.