"Reaction To Lynch's Budget Address" ~In Part~
wmur.com/politics, POSTED: 2:36 pm EST on February 12, 2009
Reaction to Gov. John Lynch's budget recommendations for the two years beginning July 1, as compiled by The Associated Press:
"He's saying the federal government's going to save us, so wait for that money. That's a terrible way to set policy."
- Republican Mayor Frank Guinta of Manchester
"Guinta has 'grave concerns'"
By SCOTT BROOKS, New Hampshire Union Leader Staff, Friday, Feb. 13, 2009
MANCHESTER – Mayor Frank Guinta yesterday said he has "grave concerns" about Gov. John Lynch's budget proposal, which he said would deprive Manchester of millions of dollars in state aid.
The governor's proposal takes away $9.5 million in aid expected to come Manchester's way in fiscal 2010, according to the mayor. Most of the losses are due to cuts in revenue-sharing and rooms-and-meals tax rebates.
Guinta said the proposal also deprives the city of $2.4 million in aid this fiscal year, which ends June 30. The city already has an operating deficit that has been estimated at $1.9 million, a revelation that prompted aldermen last month to approve a spending freeze.
"Gov. Lynch's budget address left me deeply concerned on how this decision to down-shift the budget crisis onto the backs of local taxpayers will play out," Guinta said in a statement.
Lynch spokesman Colin Manning was unable to confirm the mayor's estimates but said the state will be directing federal stimulus dollars to Manchester and other communities.
"It's a tradeoff," Manning said.
Manning said the governor's proposal would not cut money for education aid.
Manchester school district officials are expecting to take in an extra $7.4 million this year.
--Scott Brooks, New Hampshire Union Leader
I agree with Jay. Lynch has proposed increases and Guinta has proposed the opposite. So now Lynch is playing Guinta's deck of cards and now Guinta is screaming mad that he has to now reduce his budget even more!
Too bad he hasn't done anything about the state of the streets and roads in Manchester since he was elected. Brown avenue is overcrowded and very dangerous and no one cares. Thanks to Devries, we now have a neighborhood watch in extreme southern Manchester. We see more Litchfield and Londonderry police driving through than we do Manchester. Thanks Guinta for leaving us to our self defense. Soon our area of the city will have it's own mafia to protect us from speeders and stop sign runners and child killers (thanks to stop sign runners).
- Michael, Manchester
Just about every city and town in NH is making cuts including Manchester. Guinta is getting squeezed by the Alderman and now the state.Things are getting ugly out there.
- Chris, Merrimack
Good for Frank Guinta in standing up to Lynch's horrible budget. I had the same concerns about the rooms and meals tax being withheld when I saw his budget proposed yesterday. The governor just doesn't know what to do now that he has to make an actual decision. Oh wait, yes he does, he just forces other people to deal with it rather than dealing with it himself (expect this time it is US that will have to bear the burden of Lynch's inability to actually govern.
- Chris King, Manchester
Its so nice to actually have a mayor that stands up for its citizens. Thank to Mr. Mayor for supporting the tax payer and not letting the governor constantly get away with just forcing his own budget issues on smaller governments.
- Fred Jenkins, Manchester, NH
Jack, of course Guinta is going to deal with his own cuts for the city budget, but why should it be the cities and towns that have to make even more cuts because of Lynch not sending us our share of the Rooms and Meals tax. This is wrong and Lynch knows it!
- Ben Thomas, Manchester
Jay and Steve, you two Lynch lovers are too ignorant to realize that the reason why Guinta and other mayors/town leaders are VERY upset with Lynch is because Lynch is just passing the buck like he always does. Rather than figuring out how to deal with his budget problems, Lynch is just going to pass them off to the towns and cities and let them deal with them. Cities like Manchester have their own budget problems, they don't need to deal with those of the actual state as well.
Typical Lynch politics- Pass the buck and let someone else deal with the problem. Lynch is ruining this state, but Guinta at lease has the guts to stand up for Manchester.
- Ryan Feltner, Manchester, New Hampshire
well, your Dem hacks, be carefull what you wish for. if lynch takes the rooms and meals tax away sacred cow city teachers will definatley be laid off.
guinta has doen nothing but fight increases. lynch's chickens have come home to roost and it sickens you.
- mike conway, manchester
Manchester paid out $1.3 Million in severances in 2007. Why should government employees have pensions while the rest of the business world has realized what a burden it is on their business and have a 401(k) plan instead.
- E, Manch
What happened? Mayor Guinta has been the big man talking a good conservative Republican game up until this point. Suddenly, when Manchester gets some aid cut, he agrees with Democrats that money needs to be invested into people?
It's funny how so many people are all for slashing cuts and services until it effects their own life directly. Mayor Guinta is a fiscal tough guy until it makes his job harder; then suddenly, he believes spending money on people is a GOOD idea, but only when it comes to Manchester. Grand hypocrisy...
- Jay, Atkinson
Have you people been reading the paper at all or are you just Democrat hacks trolling for the party? Mayor Guinta has made cuts and is calling for possible layoffs. The differance here is he is doing it to fix the mess the Alderman made buy not going along with his budget. On Lynch, it is not sound fiscal policy to use one time stimulus money to try to make up for the money he is taking away from local communities. If the money was such a sure thing why dosen't the Governor keep it and not take the rooms and meals money that was supposed to go to the municipalities to balance his busget?
- Steve Vachon, Manchester
I'll have to side with Lynch on this one. Guinta needs to make cuts to his own budget.
- Jack, Concord
Governor Lynch is making cuts and Mayor Guinta is crying poormouth. Who's the conservative here?
Note to Frank Guinta: shut up and use the reduction in state aid as a reason to make cuts in Manchester. You want to talk the talk, start walking the walk.
Either that or throw in the towel and admit that you are just another tax and spender.
- Glen, Manchester
Mayor Guinta has a right to be upset about Govenor Lynch's Budget and we should thank him for doing his job representing the people of Manchester what he was elected to do. Maybe the tax cap that was proposed isn't such a bad idea now for the Alderman because aren't we all now living within a budget? what happened to the tax cap anyway?
- Danielle Davies, Manchester, NH
Do people realize that Brandy Stanley, the Parking Manager make more than the Mayor does? The woman who comes up with all these brilliant parking plans.....gets paid more than the mayor does.
I bet you would have a line of qualified applicants for that position for half her salary.
And we wonder why we have budget issues.
- Rick, Manchester
If Governor Lynch didnt blow the budget up 17.5% last year he wouldn't now be leaving the local taxpayer holding the bag. How come he found the cuts in this budget and he couldn't find them in the last? I thought all the increases had to happen in the last budget? Not to mention the so called stimulus money that was supposed to go to helping the economy....oh yes now we are now using that to make up for the Governor's sins of the past. I am sure that will create jobs.
- Bill Mortenson, Manchester
Far as I can see all towns are speaking out about it Morgan. Not just Manchester. But we can all look at Dover with a teary Eye too if you would like. This is more than just New Hampsire also, the whole country is whats feeling the pinch. Clearly the rest of the world isnt doing to great either.
- Chris, Goffstown
I think Mayor Frank Guinta needs to get in line with the other cities in New Hampshire which will be impacted by Gov. Lynch's proposed budget. His city won't be the only one which will be feeling the pinch. This is about New Hampshire citizens, not just Manchester residents.
- Morgan Vendetti, Dover
Mayor Frank .. time to tell the head meter maid that her $100,000 per year job is now a $50,000 per year job .. which is what the pay should have been when she was hired.. the pay scale for the Manchester Hacks is completely out of control.. cut the pay and benefits.. If they don't like it, they can go stand in line with their fellow citizens of Manchester at the unemployment office..
- Thom, Manchester, NH
Gov. John Lynch outlines his budget in an address yesterday (2/12/2009). (CHERYL SENTER)
"Governor gets budget ball rolling"
www.seacoastonline.com, OPINION, February 15, 2009
When speaking with business groups, New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch often repeats his strategy for turning a business failure into a success. You have to make more money than you spend. It’s that simple.
Lynch came to the governor’s job from the private sector, fresh from turning Knoll, Inc., a national furniture manufacturer, from a $50-million-a-year loser into a $200-million-a-year profit maker.
While Lynch has gotten great mileage from his private sector success, that challenge pales in comparison with the $275 million deficit the state faces for the rest of fiscal year 2009 ending June 30, or the potential $550 million deficit the state would face if it didn’t drastically change its revenue and spending plans for the 2010 and 2011 biennial budget, which begins July 1 of this year.
On Thursday, Lynch unveiled a budget that bears the hallmark of someone who has spent time in the real world of the private sector rather than the public sector which, increasingly, seems to answer all its budget challenges by increasing the tax burden on the people it is supposed to serve.
Lynch’s proposals are far reaching. Some suggestions, such as an increase in the cigarette tax, were predictable. Others were surprising, such as the discovery of a $110 million surplus in the state’s little-known medical malpractice fund (we’re told by some that this windfall is too good to be true). Some proposals, leasing land at welcome centers and streamlining the state’s highly profitable liquor business, seem so obvious you wonder why it took a crisis to get them on the table. And some ideas for reorganizing the administration of state services seem downright innovative.
The governor’s budget proposal begins the debate. Now, the Legislature will weigh in and we will certainly hear some revenue proposals not in the governor’s plan, such as expanded gambling, the return of an estate tax, a gas tax and, yes, bills on sales and income taxes will be debated despite the governor’s promised veto.
In the coming days, we’ll gain greater clarity on exactly how much money will come to the state from the federal government via its economic stimulus package. And we’ll see whether revenue trends are better, worse, or holding steady as the governor’s budget assumes.
Already narrow interests are lining up to protect their slice of turf in what is certain to be a hard-fought battle. But each group has to recognize that every dollar it moves to its pile has to be taken from someone else’s. Resources are finite.
As the debate proceeds, state officials must guard against balancing their budget by simply pushing more expenses onto cities and towns. In Portsmouth, for example, the governor’s budget would push $1.8 million in new expenses onto local taxpayers by reducing the amount the state sends the city in rooms and meals taxes, shared revenue from block grants, and a 5 percent reduction in payments toward the retirement system. These cuts might help the state balance its budget, but they do nothing to help taxpayers who will either have to foot the bill through increased property taxes or cut local jobs and services. That’s no bargain. Legislators must also beware of diminishing returns. Hiking the rooms and meals tax may raise money in the short run, but if it causes people to curtail overnight stays and meals in restaurants, then nothing is gained.
But the governor deserves praise for his budget proposal. He took a hard look at state spending and came up with far-reaching proposals. He recognizes that you can’t nickel and dime your way out of this type of budget shortfall. State government will need to be reshaped and that, in turn, will put pressure on local governments to drastically reduce spending as well.
“If you disagree with something in this proposal, I respect that,” the governor said Thursday. “But it is not enough to simply say no or to criticize. We all have a responsibility to come to the table with solutions.”
Well said, governor, and well done.
"Guinta: State is too slow on stimulus"
By JOHN DISTASO, Senior Political Reporter, NH Union Leader (Sunday News), March 1, 2009
MANCHESTER – Mayor Frank Guinta says it's high time for the state to get federal stimulus money, or at least detailed information about it, to the cities and towns.
The two-term chief executive charged in an interview that state officials are either dragging their feet or having trouble interpreting and reacting to the requirements of the complex law.
He also complained that state officials are shortchanging municipalities with precious little stimulus aid for local highway and bridge projects.
A spokesman for Gov. John Lynch responded that the governor's office has been working as fast as it can to get information and funding to local officials. He also defended the state transportation agency's project priority list.
Guinta said he never expected Manchester's $100 million "wish list," which includes $45 million for the school district and $55 million for city facilities and equipment, to be totally fulfilled. He said, in fact, the city's list is not a wish list at all, but rather projects that already were under consideration or in the pipeline before the stimulus was passed.
While not directly critical of Democrat Lynch, Republican Guinta said the governor told him on Feb. 19 that state officials "were reviewing the legislation and would have an update in a few weeks."
Since then, Guinta said, "There has been growing frustration among towns and cities because the stimulus has now been passed and information regarding access to dollars has been very slow, to the point where we continue to wait for informational data," such as how to go about applying for funding.
"The notion here of a stimulus to stimulate the economy as quickly as possible in New Hampshire has become a situation where either the information is flowing into the state and the state is slow to disseminate it, or they're still sifting through the actual legislation to try to determine how this money will be distributed," Guinta said.
"People are asking me for news and information, and I can only say that I'm being told by the state, 'You have to wait. We don't have answers yet."
The municipalities' cut
Guinta also noted that only $11 million of $130 million in first-round transportation stimulus funds is slated for state aid to municipalities for highway and bridge projects.
He said Manchester alone has transportation projects that exceed $11 million. The top city priority, a new public works facility, carries a price tag of $25 million.
Lynch spokesman Colin Manning said there has been movement on the stimulus. He noted that two transportation projects have been advertised and said applications for environmental projects have been submitted. He said the transportation projects on the state priority list already have been approved by the Legislature and are shovel-ready.
"There will be other pools of money municipalities will be eligible for," said Manning, noting Lynch "has proposed sending $80 million back to the community through the fiscal stabilization fund."
Manning said the governor's office, "in some cases, is still trying to get more information from the federal government, and as soon as we get it, we're trying to pass it along to local officials."
Less aid than anticipated
Soon, other local officials may be joining Guinta in voicing frustration.
A top state environment official told the New Hampshire Sunday News that the amount of stimulus money for municipal wastewater and drinking water projects will be on the low end of the possible range he had been told would be available.
Harry Stewart, state director of environmental services, said that depending on which version of the stimulus bill passed, New Hampshire could have received between $40 million and $100 million for wastewater projects. The final amount, he said, will be $39.1 million.
He said the state could have received a maximum of $40 million for drinking water projects, but will instead receive $19.5 million.
Stewart said the total amount of money sought for projects in municipal applications will "substantially exceed" the available funds.
A deadline for municipal officials to submit pre-applications passed on Friday at 4 p.m. Stewart said the number of projects submitted and the total dollar amount on the wish list will be known by the middle of this week and a prioritization process will begin immediately.
He said his department must draw up an "intended use plan" for all projects, explaining in detail how all the funds will be used.
"That's going to take several weeks," said Stewart. "We'll be filing for the (Environmental Protection Agency) grants within the next week or week-and-a-half."
The intended-use plan, he said, must be completed before the funds are forthcoming. The process, he said, includes a public hearing, to be held later this month.
Stewart said that although the money the state is receiving is "on the low end of the spectrum of possibilities, there is reason for optimism.
"In the long term," he said, "this discussion around the stimulus has opened up the possibility for long-term funding and more flexibility than we've had for these projects, particularly on the wastewater side."
More on the way
On other stimulus fronts:
-- Transportation officials advertised for bids for a $9.5 million project to resurface Route 101 from Epping to Exeter on Feb. 19 and for the $31.1 million widening of Interstate 93 from Salem to Manchester last Tuesday, Feb. 24.
They are scheduled to solicit bids for two more projects on Tuesday -- a $9 million umbrella for various small "district resurfacing projects" throughout the state, and a $4.7 million project to resurface Interstate 89 in New London from Exit 11 to Exit 12A.
The department plans to advertise for bids on March 17 for a $12.7 million widening of the F.E. Everett Turnpike, as part of the Manchester-Bedford airport access road project.
-- The Department of Health and Human Services at mid-week received the first $25 million of $50 million in Medicaid stimulus money it hopes to receive before June 30, the end of the state's fiscal year.
-- Sen. Jeanne Shaheen announced on Friday that the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development has promised to deliver $24.8 million to New Hampshire. Her announcement said the money will be distributed "at both the state and community levels in formula funding" for public-housing capital funds, community-development block grants, low-nncome housing tax-credit funding, and homelessness-prevention funds.
State and local officials must yet go through a bureaucratic process, unclear in length, before they actually receive the money, her spokesman said.
"Lynch, Guinta Say Spending Needs Cut At All Levels: Mayor Calls For One-Week Pay Furlough For City Employees"
wmur.com - March 18, 2009
MANCHESTER, N.H. -- Business leaders in Manchester heard a grim assessment of the state of the economy from the governor and the city's mayor Wednesday.
Gov. John Lynch and Mayor Frank Guinta said the city and state are both trying to reduce spending, and layoffs will be necessary. Lynch was able to provide a brief moment of levity during his address to the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce.
"If any of you have a mere $500 million you're willing to give the state," Lynch said.
Lynch said some fundamental changes in they way the state does business are needed, beginning with the Department of Health and Human Services.
"They contract out with 4,000 different organizations," Lynch said.
The governor said politics will make implementing change tough. But he said the current system doesn't make sense or spend dollars wisely.
"Each of these organizations has administrative costs, which also we help to finance," Lynch said. "Each of these organizations has an executive director and they all have on their boards politically powerful people like all of you."
Guinta repeated his pledge to hold the line on taxes to the group of business leaders.
"Equally important to me is that in the current economic conditions, I don't feel raising taxes is a proper policy to support," Guinta said.
Guinta said layoffs of city and school workers are inevitable, but in an effort to reduce layoffs, he will call upon city workers to give up a week's wages -- something he will do himself.
"I will not ask any employee to give up something that I'm not willing to also give up," he said.
Guinta said he remains concerned that as the state deals with its budget problems, it will look to shift costs to cities and towns. He also plans to sit down with the city's unions on Monday to see if they will buy into his furlough plan.
- Jonathan Melle
- Amherst, NH, United States
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