To The Daily Sun,
We all celebrate the news that the New Hampshire economy is gradually improving, resulting in a fiscal year-end surplus. Some have suggested that the entire surplus be put into the state's Rainy Day Fund and that that suggestion is itself uncontroversial and non-partisan. I beg to differ.
Putting the entire surplus into the Rainy Day Fund might seem, at first blush, to be benign and maybe even smart. It would, in actuality, serve to validate the draconian cuts that were made when conservative Republicans held sway in the Statehouse. It would not give the governor and Legislature any leeway to restore funding of what Democrats consider essential services.
Yes, we all know that the New Hampshire Constitution requires that the budget be balanced. But some of the bad choices made by the Republican majority at the time resulted in actually decreasing revenue. Not finding other solutions harmed us all, particularly the most vulnerable among us: the poor, disabled and physically or mentally ill. We all pay extra because of poor roads and bridges, minimal funding of higher education, low reimbursement to hospitals, deferred maintenance, decreased staffing or closing of state facilities and the unraveling of the safety net.
So yes, let's celebrate the improvement in the N.H. economy. But let's not forget that this wealthy state has many poor people too. And let's debate, civilly and respectfully, the amount that should be put aside, without tying the hands of our governor and Legislature in their efforts to improve the lives of all