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Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Monitor Editorials on State Budget

The Concord Monitor publishes a pair of editorials on the state budget this morning.

First, they urge the House to hold the line against the Senate's expanded gambling proposal:

Among the gambling opponents who voted in favor: Democrats Sylvia Larsen of Concord and Harold Janeway of Webster.

The surprising votes were merely procedural, the senators said, a way to get the budget passed and get going on the hard work of negotiating a compromise with the House. Sen. Martha Fuller Clark, the only Democrat to cast a nay vote, asked gambling opponents to extend sympathy to her colleagues. "Their vote was much harder than mine," she wrote.

What is being cast as pragmatism could surely also be seen as cynicism. These senators are asking voters to pay attention to their words, not their votes - and to trust them to reverse themselves in the future, when it really counts.

And then they plead with budget writers to avoid gimmicks to get their work done:

Expanded gambling isn't the only bad idea being floated by New Hampshire budget writers these days. There's a scheme to raid a land conservation fund specifically set up to discourage such raids. There's a plan to cut aid to municipalities - the effect of which could be seen in the sad parade of people begging the Concord City Council to save the library. There are plans to increase regressive state fees and stick it to businesses by suspending a critical tax credit for a year.

But when it comes to eyebrow-raising budget measures, no one at the State House has come up with anything half so creative as officials in South Carolina, where state history is being sold off on eBay in small pieces.

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