(The opinions expressed on this page are not necessarily those of the New Hampshire Journal. The Journal welcomes opinions on all sides of issues and from all candidates for office.)
By SEN. LOU D’ALLESANDRO
As controversy arises over the budget for Fiscal Year 2014, I think it is time to point out what was done, how the situation was addressed and what we must do going forward.
As a person who has served on the Finance Committee for a number of years, I realize that the budget is a document put in place a year in advance to deal with the coming two years. This document is a plan based on anticipated revenues and expenses. These revenues are calculated a year in advance and serve the State for a two year period. The spend aspect of the budget includes definitive items but many times does not have a great deal of room for legislative specials and unanticipated expenses.
Fiscal Year ’14 ended with a balance carried forward of almost $20 million. The year presented a series of problems that had to be dealt with. Governor Hassan recognized these problems and put an executive order in place to limit spending.
As a result of this executive decision, we were able to bring forward a balance. Because of certain circumstances, the balance was not as large as planned but still was almost $20 million. This is an example of the executive managing a problem and producing a positive result. The budget that was crafted was a bipartisan, cooperative effort that received 24 positive votes in the Senate. It was based on sound principles and restored many services that were eliminated in the previous biennium.
As we move forward to Fiscal Year 2015, we must pay strict attention to our revenues and control spending. Governor Hassan has her executive order in place and will monitor the situation closely.
The Legislature will return in January and begin dealing with preparation of the budget for the next biennium. As always, revenues are dependent on the state of the economy. The economy appears to be growing and certain indicators show positive signs for the future.
Working together Republicans and Democrats can keep New Hampshire moving in the right direction, not by being critical of one another but by working together to address problems. This was the case in the last budget cycle. It is my sincere hope that this cooperation will continue and that New Hampshire will benefit.
(Lou D’Allesandro is a Democratic state Senator who has served District 20, which comprises Goffstown and Wards 3, 4, 10 and 11 in the City of Manchester, for eight terms. He has also been an Executive Councilor and a member of the state House of Representatives.)