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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

New legislative leaders know what must be done

Letter to the Editor

Last week, the New Hampshire House of Representatives and Senate elected new leaders for each body. Rep. William O’Brien, of Mont Vernon, has been elected to be speaker of the House, and Peter Bragdon, of Milford, has been elected to be president of the Senate.

Both men have a full understanding of the fiscal problems facing the state. They know we will be entering the next budget with a $600 million deficit. This amount is comparable to approximately 15 percent of our state budget.

State programs and spending must be brought into line if we are to recover from the recession, secure jobs and a high quality of life for our citizens. Both leaders of our Legislature understand this and are willing to share the budget reductions; both have reduced their budgets accordingly.

Now, department heads must do the same, cutting budgets in a way that minimizes disruption to citizens. It can be accomplished.

Gov. John Lynch requested that departments reduce their budgets by 5 percent. They presented their budgets to the Legislature last week.

How did they respond? As an average, they proposed a 15 percent increase. Sometimes government does not get the message.

I have experienced the outcry from department heads and citizens saying: “Yes we must cut, but not me. I don’t want to be inconvenienced.”

We must all tighten our belt if we want New Hampshire to prosper, and Speaker O’Brien and President Bragdon will work to minimize the burden and hasten the recovery.

Rep. Robert H. Rowe

Amherst