Fiscal irresponsibility a product of partisan politics

This budget will give a tax break to the biggest, wealthiest, out-of-state businesses

Gov. Chris Sununu and our friends in the Republican majority chose a partisan path for the budget, one even former House Speaker Bill O’Brien has praised. Gov. Sununu’s partisan Republican budget spends tens of millions more now and hundreds of millions more in the future on additional tax cuts for business owners and big corporations. And New Hampshire already has the seventh lowest overall business taxes in the country. These massive tax cuts for the wealthy mean the taxes of big corporations will go down, while local property taxes will go up, it means the wealthy elite will win, while everyday Granite Staters, especially our most vulnerable, will lose.

This is simply neither fiscally responsible nor morally acceptable. Gov. Sununu recently denounced the U.S. Senate health care bill because it would mean New Hampshire’s budget would lose more than $1 billion by 2026. However, the same partisan state budget Gov. Sununu recently signed into law will cost New Hampshire upwards of three-quarters of billion dollars over the same time frame. That’s right. Upwards of three-quarters of a billion dollars in tax cuts for the wealthy elite by 2026.

Gov. Sununu and the Republican majority in the Legislature chose to give a huge tax break to the largest, wealthiest corporations, many of which are headquartered out of state, instead of investing in our own people in ways that would help include them in our communities so they could contribute to the economy right here at home.

That choice is not fiscally conservative, especially not when we could use some of the corporate tax giveaway to help fund the successful expansion of health care coverage to over 50,000 people right here in New Hampshire. Some of the tax giveaway could cover the cost of fully funding developmental disability services instead of the large waiting list the Sununu budget creates. A small portion could cover necessary raises for community mental health workers, who are overworked and underpaid, leading to burnout and big workforce shortages. It’s difficult to see how anyone could call this budget a “win” for New Hampshire. Under the same logic as his opposition to the U.S. Senate health care bill, Gov. Sununu should have vetoed the budget, but he was clearly more concerned with getting a one-party, partisan budget than New Hampshire’s fiscal future.

Even Republicans in Kansas have recognized this fiscal error. Recently, Republicans in the Kansas legislature overrode a veto of their budget, which actually raised business taxes to deal with the deep deficits caused by previous tax cuts for business owners and corporations. But our Republican friends in the majority at the Statehouse didn’t heed the lesson from their Republican colleagues in Kansas. As a result, critical and cost-effective priorities – like essential health programs and combatting our epidemic of substance abuse and mental illness – fell by the wayside now, and will suffer even more down the road.

We recognize the Republican party supports massive tax cuts for the wealthy elite. But this shouldn’t be about unifying one political party; it should be about building a budget that invests in important human potential while being fiscally responsible. This budget fails that most basic test.

Cindy Rosenwald is a state representative from Ward 3 in Nashua and serves on the House Finance Committee. Dan Feltes is a state senator for Concord, Henniker, Hopkinton, Penacook and Warner, and serves on the Senate Finance Committee.