Radical? Extremist? Ignorant? Not me!

Last modified: 4/6/2011 12:00:00 AM
Chichester and Pembroke residents, as your elected representative, I have undergone a tremendous transformation in the past few weeks. In fact, you probably will not even recognize me. Many who oppose the state budget cuts have seen me or contacted me and have described this major transformation to me. In their words, I am now a 'thief,' I am 'immoral,' I am 'ignorant,' I am the 'enemy of the working class,' I am the 'enemy of the people,' I am an 'extremist,' I am a 'radical,' I am a 'spoiled rich politician,' I am a 'liar,' I am 'out of touch with the common man,' I am 'destroying our state' and I am 'self-serving.'

Let me tell you how this came about.

After hundreds of hours of work in the last few months on the Judiciary Committee, testifying and assisting other committees, and babysitting my own legislation, I voted to decrease our New Hampshire budget by about $750 million. How could I possibly vote for such a huge cut? What about the most vulnerable among us? What about the New Hampshire safety net?

In the last four years, the Democrats increased the New Hampshire budget by about $2.5 billion - an increase of almost 30 percent. This absurd increase was funded by over 80 increased taxes and fees and was made on the backs of the majority of hardworking New Hampshire residents during a major recession. Any board of selectmen or CEO would be fired for such an absurd increase. And those who voted for the absurd increase were fired - that is how I got elected.

Listen to Gov. John Lynch's state-of-the-state address in 2006 and 2008, as he discusses how well New Hampshire is doing and how highly we are ranked. Then think of how, after the $750 million cut takes effect, we will still be spending $1.75 billion more than four years ago. There are those who think any cut to a budget is a sin, especially considering this is only the second New Hampshire budget since the Depression to be cut. Those same people are now screaming that we have destroyed the safety net for our most vulnerable citizens.

I would like to tell those who are screaming to stand down. If we cannot cut this budget now to ease the tax burden on the vast majority of New Hampshire citizens, then a budget can never be cut. But cut it we did.

There are those who believe a government budget should never be cut. And those who believe that just because a program existed for years it should not be cut, even if there are no verifiable results (as in many cases). The work and the choices were not easy, but the Finance Committees stuck to the task and came up with a responsible and honestly-balanced budget. The cuts were well thought out and were across the board. And that is why there is so much commotion. Everyone who has a finger in the State House trough had something cut, so they all have something to scream about.

I was elected to cut bloated state spending after an unprecedented increase. I voted to cut less than one-third of the $2.5 billion increase. To some citizens, this is a crime. But I am proud to say to my constituents that I voted for this historic cut because I represent all the citizens in New Hampshire, not just a few very vocal special interest groups. I do not believe these cuts will hurt the truly needy and I pray that I am correct. I made what I believe to be a moral decision to finally say 'stop' to those who continually demand increases. I will not be intimidated by the haters - and I am happy to report that along with the hate mail, I receive many, many more e-mails from individuals thanking me for my vote.

The truly needy were taken care of in the 2006 and 2008 budgets, and they are taken care of in this budget. But for all the others who feel comfortable cozying up to the State House trough without a thought to the entire populace - times have changed. And for those who only care about their portion of the pie, and those who think a budget can never be reduced, I say 'Stop.' Expand your scope beyond what New Hampshire can do for you or your cause - and start thinking about the rest of the hard-working citizens of New Hampshire.

(State Rep. J. Brandon Giuda lives in Chichester.)

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