CarriageTowneNews.com, Kingston, NH

March 14, 2013

My Opinion: March 14, 2013

By NH State Representative L. Mike Kappler
Carriage Towne News

---- — RAYMOND - Our new Governor missed the required date to submit her budget documents to the legislature; the House just received HB-2 and HB-25 on or about March 5th. New Hampshire law (RSA 9:2) clearly states that the budget should be submitted to the legislarure no later than February 15th. The law (RSA 9:3) also lays out the three components of the budget that are required to be submitted to the legislature.

My questions to this failure are: (1) Was she too busy hobnobbing in Washington? (2) Was she intentionally ignoring and violating the law as she scrambles to try to explain her tax and spend ideas? (3) Or was she just stalling to see how cigarette tax, gas tax, and the gambling bills move through the House and Senate?

This lag in presenting the budget has already cut about 1/3 of the House legislators’ time to accomplish proper oversight and changes as is their charge.

Governor Hassan’s proposed budget is $11 billion, that’s a 10% increase of the current budget we passed last biennium. The “roll of the dice” she is playing with, by relying on $80M in non-existent casino licensing revenues, is an irresponsible move that could collapse this whole budget.

Personally I believe, there are only so many people that go to gamble, and with so many casinos in the planning, there is only so much money. Spreading this money out will cause us to have an overestimated amount of play revenue at any one location, providing less tax revenue to the state. I also believe the supporters of gaming are underestimating the true cost, down the road of, the cost of social issues.

Talking about budgets, the Rockingham County Convention held a Public Hearing, on February 22nd, to hear the Commissioners’ 5-year capital projects plan that would be bonded. With bonding rates at approximately a net of 2.25% for a 10 year bond, the bond amount for the 28 projects would be for $9.5M. After an excellent presentation by Commissioner Pratt and Finance Director Theresa Young, only a couple questions were asked, and no one spoke against any of the projects. The Public Hearing was followed by a Delegation meeting to debate the bond issue, which also was very favorable of the plan.

I was very disappointed that only 32 of our 90 State Representatives of Rockingham towns thought it was important enough to come to these meetings. After all, this $9.5M is our County tax dollars.

On March 5, the Executive Committee met with 13 of the 20 members present. Later in the evening, the full Delegation met to approve the budget and other items. At this very important meeting which had the final voting on the budget and its cost to the taxpayers, 58 of the 90 representatives were present. Various resolutions were passed. The 2013 budget was passed, authorizing $77, 803,951 in appropriations and $98,056 in reserves and encumbrances for the use of the County during 2013; that $43,873,563 be raised in new county taxes; that $29,574,121 be accepted as an estimate of revenues from other sources; and that $4,454,323 is accepted as fund balance for a total of $77,902,007 in resources.

Don’t panic: “in new county taxes” means the taxes for 2013, it’s new taxes as they weren’t due before. This 2013 budget is only $140.00 per person per year, or 40 cents a day. Actually, that’s -0.13% less than the 2012 budget. Bonding was approved on a RC vote 56-2.

These roll calls of attendance at all these meeting were not good. Please talk to your representatives, remind them that the County budget is their responsibility, and they need to be present for all these meetings.

(Editor’s Note: NH State Representative Mike Kappler can be reached at l.mikekappler@comcast.net)