MANCHESTER – Americans for Prosperity – New Hampshire (AFP-NH) today called for greater financial integrity in the proposed House budget. The budget, which the House of Representatives will vote on Wednesday, includes over $600 million in spending authorization not included in the actual budget (HB 1).
“Using accounting gimmicks to mask the massive growth in state spending is just the type of behavior the public expects out of Washington, not from our state legislature,” said Greg Moore, AFP-NH State Director. “The public deserves an honest and open discussion about just how much the House plans to expand state government over the next two years, not more smoke and mirrors diversions to disguise just how fiscally irresponsible this budget is to the hard working taxpayers of New Hampshire. This budget is not an $11.1 billion budget, as some would have our residents believe, but is actually an $11.7 billion budget, meaning that it grows state spending by 16%, not the 10% that House leaders have suggested. Clearly, they don’t want the residents to know about this outrageous and unwarranted spending increase, so they have tried to hide it.”
The proposed House budget includes two major expenditures that are not included in HB 1, the bill that authorizes state agencies’ spending. The legislation expands Medicaid, starting January 1, 2014, up to 138% of the federal poverty level, though the bill appropriates only $1 in spending to cover as many as 80,000 new recipients. This is despite a report by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) that indicates spending on this new population for 18 months of the SFY 14-15 budget will exceed $500 million. In addition, the House budget now includes a 12-cent gas and diesel tax that amounts to roughly $95 million that also was not added into the final version of HB 1.
“I’m not sure how much health care you can get for $1, but I’m absolutely certain that it’s not enough to cover tens of thousands of new Medicaid recipients,” added Moore. “Since DHHS has a detailed report outlining proposed expenses, the only reason not to include this half-billion dollar new outlay would be to artificially keep the appearance of spending growth down. In the same vein, including a huge new gas tax in the budget, without giving the Department of Transportation the authority to spend the money, is simply ridiculous, unless the goal is to try to understate the actual spending in the budget. New Hampshire citizens deserve better. They deserve a budget process that is open and honest, not this type of back door immense ‘government on steroids’ growth plan that the House has put forth.”