For years NH’s legislature has struggled to meet the needs of the state and maintain a balanced budget without addressing the blatantly obvious fact that the state simply needs more revenue. Instead, the lawmakers have used financial hocus-pocus/smoke and mirrors; borrowed from Peter to pay Paul; slashed critical human services; ignored a decaying infrastructure; robbed the state’s public employees’ pension fund; and penalized the state’s employees by wage freezes; hiring freezes and a “do more with less” mantra while employees have seen less and less in their paychecks due to more withholding for their pensions and increased health insurance costs.
It is for these very reasons, SEA/SEIU Local 1984 is in support of new revenue streams, such as a proposed increase in the NH gas tax and expanded gaming in the state. For better or for worse, the state needs more revenue. We are falling short of our financial obligations and critical services and those providing them are suffering.
As long as NH politicians keep taking “the pledge” against broad-based taxation, we need to support other ways to increase the state’s coffers.
If you recall, last session the Senate and newly elected Governor Maggie Hassan supported the construction of one high-end casino to be built in NH. The effort was shot down by the NH House of Representatives largely because of the lack of direction and specificity regarding the regulation of such an endeavor. In response, the Gaming Regulatory Oversight Authority was created to study existing regulations and to propose new regulations and draft legislation by December 15, 2013 for consideration in the 2014 legislative session.
There are currently four bills being introduced in this legislative session that call for expanding gaming in our state. You can read more about the issue and all four bills in a comprehensive article in the Concord Monitor here.