Charlie Arlinghaus will discuss the new state budget recently passed by the legislature. He will explain the historical significance of this budget, where your tax dollars are going, where spending cuts were made and if there could/should have been more or less.
Charlie is one of the state's foremost experts on the New Hampshire budget and no one can explain it in a more captivating and humorous manner. Don't miss this entertaining and eye-opening meeting. If you have any questions about the New Hampshire budget, Charlie is the one to ask.
Charlie Arlinghaus is the President of the nonpartisan Josiah Bartlett Center for Public Policy in Concord, NH. http://www.jbartlett.org/
A summary of our meeting was published on the front page of the August 18th edition of the Pelham-Windham News. You can read it here...
An announcement was made that future meetings will begin at 7PM, to make it easier for everyone to get home at an earlier time.
After the Pledge of Allegiance and a Prayer, the meeting began with the “Did you Know?...” segment, which included the following items; (i) the accused Foot Hood Shooter, Major Nidal Hasan is still receiving a pay check, and (ii) the Communist Party, USA has endorsed Barack Obama for president in 2012.
In keeping with tradition, Representative David Bates mentioned one of the 9.12 Project’s 12 values is “Charity” and put it in perspective by comparing forced charity and true charity to relative freedom, and displayed a Scale of Freedom from 0 to 100... where zero = no freedom, and 100 = total freedom.
“When the government takes 25% of our earned income…” he explained, “we have a reduction in choices. When 50% is taken, we have less choices, less freedom and a lower standard of living. When 75% of what we earn is taken, our choices are greatly limited and our standard of living greatly reduced. In the event that all of what we work for is taken away and nothing is left for us – this is the definition of slavery. It is also the reason that if you believe in freedom that you should support a person's right to the fruits of their labors.”
Rep. Bates went on to explain that a large part of this year’s State Budget goals was to not spend more than we had as a state, so the first order of business was to determine how much money the state had coming in. This was the job of the House Ways and Means Committee.
As a member of this committee, Representative Mary Griffin described the process that was used to determine estimates on revenue on each of 46 proposed bills for this year. After determining revenues, along with the promise to not raise taxes… it was determined the state budget needed to be cut by almost 11%.
In addition to her important work on the House Ways and Means Committee, Rep. Griffin read from a long list of accomplishments for this year’s legislature – where one important piece of legislation allows towns to establish spending caps, and another repealed the Evergreen clause.
Representative Rick Okerman spoke briefly about House Bill 2, and the process of compromise between the House and Senate, which focused on tax cuts and reducing spending – so of which (he felt) didn’t go far enough.
Mr. Charlie Arlinghaus, who is on the board of directors for the nonpartisan Josiah Bartlett Center for Public Policy (http://www.jbartlett.org/) then provided his analysis of the State budget – which prior to this year, was last balanced in 2006 – 2007.
Since then, revenues have been flat, but spending rose at an annual rate of 8 percent a year – which led NH to a deficit of over $600 million dollars. He explained that this happed because the state received bailout money from the federal government – which was used to prop up spending. In addition, the state borrowed money last year for building aid to towns, even though it was illegal to do so.
Mr. Arlinghaus went on to state that with the recently passed balanced budget, NH is now on the right track by truly balancing the budget without raising taxes, and cutting spending by 10.8 percent to meet expected revenues. To put this into perspective, he emphasized that NH’s budget was previously reduced only one other time in our history… and that was by 1% in the 1990’s.
While this is a great first step, he emphasized that there are still challenges ahead, and that the State has rising debt levels… but they can be addressed over time with fiscal prudence. When compared with other states, NH’s debt ranks somewhere around 36 of out of 50 states – with 1 being worse.
Mr. Arlinghaus mentioned the State’s larger tax source is business taxes, and emphasized that it is important to be a business friendly state, and that we have made strides in that area. He expressed concerns that NH has 3800 bridges in the state – and that they are not fixed at an acceptable rate. He cited the Portsmouth bridge (which is now closed) as an example of poor planning.