Tuesday, August 09, 2011

NH Budget Cuts Come Home to Roost

Last week, I wrote about how the latest NH state budget has resulted in at least 450 jobs lost, so far.

This week, there's some magical thinking afoot in the Granite State. From The Conway Daily Sun:
New Hampshire Department of Transportation (DOT) is proposing no longer plowing some roads between 9 p.m. and 4 a.m. as well as allowing snow to build up to between 5 and 7 inches before turning some crews out onto the road.

The DOT plan is not acceptable, according to Rep. Gene Chandler, R-Bartlett, who also serves as the chair of the transportation department in the New House of Representatives. He hopes DOT officials will come up with a new plan because the current one could have "huge ramifications" on tourism and revenue for the Granite State.

Boynton said DOT lost 42 employees to budget cuts (there remain about 800 employees). Its budget was cut 11.5 percent; the budget is expected to be cut an additional 11 percent in 2012 and 13 percent in 2013; there was a 25 percent reduction in the state's sand and salt budget.

In the northern part of the state, winter can last a solid 6 months. An 11.5 percent budget cut to DOT is huge in a state in northern New England. How could anyone realistically think that cutting the DOT budget would NOT adversely affect winter plowing?

Chandler is serving his 13th term. He is Speaker pro Tempore, which means he's part of Speaker O'Brien's leadership team.
This is a budget that Chandler supported. He shilled for it. He voted for it. Gene Chandler never challenged his party, never stood up and said that a budget that cuts both revenue and spending will lead to problems for our state. He said nothing until one of those cuts came home to roost in his own district, and suddenly it's "not acceptable."

Stories like this will continue to happen, as the impact of those budget cuts hit home in all manner of unpleasant ways.

Cross-posted at MainSt/workingamerica.org

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