The State Legislature is quickly trying to wrap up the State’s Budget for the next two years. Rep Neal Kurk is leading the House Finance Committee and has proposed massive cuts to a variety of state agencies and programs, down shifting costs to local cities and towns.
I just wanted to show people how hypocritical Rep Kurk is with his double speak, specifically on the budget and the gas tax.
“This budget is balanced on unrealistic revenue estimates that simply put off the eventual day of reckoning. It includes millions in increased taxes on working families and businesses that will hurt the economy and job creation. It spends 10.2% more money than the previous state budget. This budget also increases the state’s exposure to massive future liabilities as a result of expanding Medicaid. It suspends new school building aid imposes a moratorium on charter schools. It shifts costs of nursing home services to county property tax payers. It purposefully underfunds line items that can be paid for later, outside of the more transparent budget process. We have a real concern about where this budget will lead our State. It’s unaffordable and sets us up for failure both in the short and long terms.”
In the 2013-14 Legislature Rep David Campbell proposed a $.12 cent increase in the gas tax. That was ultimately shaved down to $.04 cents by the Republican controlled Senate. The Republicans in New Hampshire campaigned on the gas tax increase screaming “Democrats only want to raise your taxes.”
This is what Rep Neal Kurk said about the Gas Tax Increase in 2014:
There’s little question more revenue is needed to meet today’s higher costs in maintaining and improving our highway infrastructure. But the legislature must meet its responsibilities before it can ask citizens to pay higher taxes.
Kurk admits that we need to do something about fixing our failing roads and bridges but is just not willing to pay for any such work.
Now that Kurk is back in charge of the Finance Committee in the NH House, what is his answer to fix the state’s infrastructure problem? Cut their funding of course.
Rep Kurk just pushed through a budget that would slash the NH Department of Transportation by $88 million dollars! That is a 42% cut in the departments funding. The NH DOT are the people who fix the roads, build the bridges, and plow are streets. The head of the NH DOT said these cuts would mean hundreds of jobs lost, and the possibility on losing millions in federal funds to repair our roads and bridges.
After a massive outcry from the public on cutting the DOT budget by $88 million dollars, Rep Kurk is now saying he will be adding an $.08 cent increase to the gas tax to offset the DOT cuts.
Kurk, R-Weare, said the state’s infrastructure will become severely weakened and have a rippling effect on business and everyday commuters in New Hampshire if lawmakers do not pass a 7- or 8-cent hike in the gas tax. His advocacy for the tax bump was sparked by what he described as a decade of reliance on one-time revenue sources and a decline in federal funding that has led to the state’s undesirable scenario.
An $.08 cent increase would bring in about $50-$60 million over the next two years. That would still leave a $28 million dollar hole in the DOT budget, resulting in job losses, federal funds lost, and projects canceled.
New Hampshire has one of the worst infrastructures in the country. We have hundreds of red lists roads and bridges and Rep Kurk wants to cut $88 million or almost half of the entire DOT budget.
I am tired of the hypocrisy from politicians who say we need to fix our roads by cutting the funding needed to fix them.
(Check out this short video to see what our roads and bridges really look like)