Kelly wants N.H. to return to her past

New Hampshire has a glorious history and respecting that past can give us a bright future.

While the Sons of Liberty gathered around a tree in Boston before the Revolution, the glory of New Hampshire was that before Paul Revere rode, we had the Pine Tree Riot to rebel against paying the British King taxes on trees.

We were the ninth state to ratify the U.S. Constitution, thereby earning the distinction of making our country official. Clean-government New Hampshire led the nation in establishing primaries over back-room deals for choosing presidents.

We have a lot to be proud of and a lot to live up to.

One episode that contrasts with our glorious past was just a decade ago. Current gubernatorial candidate Molly Kelly and her Democrat colleagues in just four years spent the state that had always balanced budgets into almost a billion-dollar structural deficit.

This budgetary malpractice occurred when then-Sen. Molly Kelly and the Democrat legislative majority used one-time federal money, a business-suppressing array of new and increased taxes, 104 in a few short years to be exact, and accounting gimmicks, such as selling part of Rt. 95 to the Turnpike Authority for millions of dollars, to fund a state government with a spending baseline that exceeded revenues by roughly $900 million when the voters replaced them.

The next term, when a Republican majority was elected to the Legislature to fix the problem, we set about repairing that damage. It is then that Molly Kelly and her big-spending legislative colleagues made clear that the only way to repair their damage – that billion dollar structural deficit – was a broad-based tax.

Take your pick, the Molly Kelly liberals told us, income tax or sales tax, but it had to be one or the other. It was cruel, they said, to bring spending under control with tax relief. The time had come, we heard from them, to bring the glorious New Hampshire tradition of low taxes and limited government to end. It was clear that for them, this ending couldn’t come soon enough.

Instead, that legislative term, New Hampshire Republicans with the counsel of independent voters and voices from all parts of New Hampshire, went through the painful process, painful for the state and personally painful to many of us, of adjusting state government spending from $11.6 billion down to $10.5 billion, a reduction necessary to cover the deficit and the loss of about $300 million in federal stimulus funds.

The only contributions of Molly Kelly and her Democrat colleagues to solving the problem they caused was to claim often and loudly that the responsible solution would wound our state and to clamor for more higher taxes. But the people of New Hampshire realized that their accusations were similar to a claim that a surgeon was wounding a patient while ignoring the fact that the “wounds” were required by life-saving surgery.

Where did these hundreds of millions of dollars of budget balancing savings and the 11 additional cuts in taxes we were able to provide go? Well, that money stayed in the pockets of hard-working New Hampshire taxpayers and did not go to Molly Kelly and her big-spending political allies.

And over the years, taxpayers have kept more of their hard-earned wages as a result of the fiscal responsibility Republicans brought to Concord when the control of state government was taken from Molly Kelly and her collaborators. Even today, these savings have remained with taxpayers in the latest fiscally responsible, job-creating budget signed by Gov. Chris Sununu.

There is no mystery what a governor Molly Kelly would bring to Concord. She showed us as state Sen. Molly Kelly. And when she did, it took a great deal of pain for New Hampshire to make up for her excesses. We don’t need to go through that again.

In 2018, voters can add more years to the glorious reputation New Hampshire has earned as one of the best-run state governments in the country: Keep the state government checkbook out of the hands of Molly Kelly and her big-government liberal friends by keeping her out of the corner office.

Do that, and Gov. Sununu will continue to provide our state with a balanced budget that meets the needs of our children and families. Molly Kelly’s alternative will be another inglorious episode of over-spending leading sooner than you think to an appeal for income and sales taxes to match those of the worst-run liberal states.

Bill O’Brien served as Speaker of the New Hampshire House of Representatives after Republicans took control of the Legislature in 2010.