Recently, one of the Democrats’ talking points has been circulating in which they attempt to rewrite fiscal and legislative history by saying their two terms in control of the New Hampshire Legislature did not cause a huge deficit.
Although fanciful rhetoric from Democrats is nothing new, and out of necessity, fibs and lies are their rhetoric of choice, even by their standards, this one is quite the whopper. If this story wasn’t being spread by New Hampshire Democrats, it would be surprising that anyone would attempt to propagate an alternate reality of such patently false claims.
In 2011, as the New Hampshire House began preparing the 2012-13 two-year budget, the nonpartisan New Hampshire Office of the Legislative Budget Assistant indicated that the Democrats’ budgeting had created a structural deficit of $845 million and that there was a $50 million revenue shortfall from the 2010-2011 budget, for a total deficit of $895 million. This means that they had created a situation in which had their spending requirements remained in place, New Hampshire state tax revenues would fall far short in covering their overspending. This was not a number created out of thin air, but simply the financial reality of Democrats’ profligacy as calculated by a nonpartisan state office dedicated to accurate, objective analysis of the state’s finances.
The reasons why New Hampshire arrived at this financial cliff are the two terms — four years — of the Democrats’ control in which they created or raised more than 100 new taxes and fees and grew the state budget by nearly 25 percent. This structural deficit also was caused by the Democrats’ use of budget gimmicks, such as selling a road from one state agency to another and “declaring” $125 million in new revenue; outrageously overinflated revenue estimates; borrowing money to cover operating expenses; and their irresponsible use of millions in one-time federal money.
Repeatedly, the Democrats were warned that they were creating a future disaster by ratcheting up spending through the use of money that would not be available in the future. Still the spending spree went on.
The Democrats’ structural deficit and their spending were so outrageous that if this current Legislature had kept up the spending at the same rate as the Democrats and raised taxes and fees as the Democrats had, each man, women and child would owe the state an additional $750 in taxes. In other words, each family of four would have seen its taxes increase by an additional $3,000 to pay for the Democrats’ ongoing spending plans.
Now those types of spending and tax increases were (and still seem to be) the Democrats’ budgeting of choice. The Republican legislative majority knew, however, that New Hampshire taxpayers had paid enough, and we proceeded to create a balanced budget for 2012-2013 with no new taxes and fees.
So the truth is this: Eventually the Democrats ran out of the duct tape of inflated and unrealistic revenue estimates, budget gimmicks and ever-increasing taxes and fees, and their house-of-cards budgets fell apart. Fortunately, the Republicans were there to pick up the pieces and begin to put our fiscal house back in order.
The Democrats can try as they might to rewrite their dreadful fiscal history, but in the end, facts are stubborn things. New Hampshire voters are smart enough to remember the truth of what happened prior to 2011 under the Democratic legislative majority.
Fibs, lies and even whoppers will only take you so far, and the voters in 2010 knew the facts, and they know them now. The hard-working taxpayers have run out of patience for the Democrats, their spending, their taxes and their stories.
Rep. Pete Silva, of Nashua, is the majority leader of the New Hampshire House of Representatives.