May 14, 2014

Josiah Bartlett Center President Charlie Arlinghaus today thanked Governor Hassan for following his advice and taking the first small step in starting to admit to and deal with the state’s fiscal crisis. Since April 16, Arlinghaus has warned of the crisis and called on the governor to issue an executive order curtailing spending.

Arlinghaus said, “As I’ve been suggesting for the last month, the governor has finally taken the first small step to deal with the looming fiscal mess. When I said ‘The governor can under state law (and should immediately) start cutting back on the state’s budget,’ (New Hampshire Union Leader 4/30/14) I hoped for both the routine hiring freeze every governor does and the additional spending reductions most governors make. Today’s actions are the first small step to respond to the problem but she should also make real spending cuts by executive order as recent governors have done. In the last two decades, itemized spending reductions have accompanied freezes nine times. Nonetheless, I want to thank her for listening.”

Background:

April 30, 2014 (New Hampshire Union Leader, “The State’s Fiscal Crisis Can’t Be Ignored”): Arlinghaus: “The governor can under state law (and should immediately) start cutting back on the state’s budget.” And also: “Start cutting spending now as the first fiscal year winds down and before managers are inclined to ‘spend it so they don’t lose it.’ A crisis isn’t coming, it’s already here. The time for acting isn’t soon it’s now.”

May 14, 2014 (New Hampshire Union Leader, “A Budget Crisis in Need of Leadership.”) Arlinghaus; “The one thing that is clear is that there is in fact a gathering budget storm. Under our laws, when the governor determines that revenues will be insufficient to maintain a balanced budget, she is empowered to make reductions in expenditures. Every governor in recent has done this by executive order – in most cases multiple times. The problem is there and has been there for more than a month. No solution is going to be budget neutral. With six weeks left in the fiscal year, time is running out to make reductions in the current fiscal year. With the legislature set to go home June 5 the time to get them to act on changes that need legislative approval is now. Leadership requires action.”

Executive Orders: Orders are posted on the Secretary of State’s website. Hiring freezes were accompanied by itemized spending reductions in 1996, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, Three times in 2008, and in 2010.

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