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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Editorial Page

The Union Leader comes out against tapping New Hampshire's Rainy Day Fund to pay down the state's budget deficit:
The budget situation is likely to get worse next year. Tapping reserves now would leave less in savings for a real emergency. As bad as things seem now, this isn't a real emergency.

And depleting savings now would only delay the inevitable cuts. By contrast, cutting now saves more over the long term and reduces the amount that might be needed from the rainy day fund down the road.

That's why Lynch should have made the additional $75 million in cuts he has already identified as needed, but has decided to delay until next year.
Drawing down the Rainy Day Fund would not only remove the safety net against even tougher times, but would have serious implications for New Hampshire's bond rating, making it even harder to finance long-term capital projects like roads, schools, and bridges. Then again, bo

Meanwhile, Foster's Daily Democrat describes last week's proposed cuts as "reaching to meat and bone":
Friday's cuts will affect everything from school aid to overtime and carpooling.

Water and pollution grants will be deferred until next year. LCHIP will not enter into any more funding commitments this year, and the program will repay the state for the $3 million in its budget last year.

The current University System of New Hampshire budget will be slashed by $4.5 million, and the community colleges will lose $1.7 million. The university system and community colleges have agreed to not raise tuitions to cover the losses.

The agency with the largest budget — historically more than half of all state funding — is the Department of Health and Human Services. It is HHS that is the most people-related department in the state, administering to often the most needy and most vulnerable members of our society — people to whom we have a moral and financial obligation.
Many of the Governor's cuts are superficial, such as directing state agencies to reduce overtime and travel where possible. Others simply defer spending into the 2009 budget, adding millions to next year's mounting deficit. None of the cuts proposed last week eliminate state jobs or bring agency spending back near where it was before last year's record increases. The tough spending cuts are coming, but they haven't happened yet.

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