It is not a stretch when I say there is a vast difference that separates the made-up world that too many politicians would like us to believe exists and the actual real world that most of us live in on a daily basis.
A person driven by political ideology will always try to hijack the conversation in favor of their dogmatic understanding of the facts. For too many people, individual beliefs are not based on facts, but are based on how things seem to fit their finite senses and confined intelligence, or simply how they wish the “facts” would be. New Hampshire is now witnessing this firsthand by our very own governor.
Gov. Maggie Hassan is a politician, and has governed as such. Gov. Hassan’s governing style does not elevate to the eminence of stateswoman, like that of U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, for example. Nor does Hassan’s governing style even come close to being bipartisan, as her most recent television ad would have people believe. Hassan is what modern-day politics has turned into, merely an illusion of bilateral leadership created by a political machine hoping the people fall for the propaganda one more time.
As Hassan continues to deal with serious questions regarding her questionable campaign contributions, we are now learning that she has also mismanaged the state budget to the point of fiscal chaos. If recent predictions hold up, based on spending numbers emanating from key New Hampshire departments, it would appear Hassan allowed departments under her direct control to overspend by at least $31 million during the recent fiscal year. While budget revenue projections were remarkably accurate, this overspending revelation is only the tip of the iceberg.
The $31 million overspending only accounts for one part of the biennial budget. If current budget spending projections hold true, New Hampshire could be another $71 million over budget this current budget year. While revenues remain steady and as projected (coming in at one-tenth of 1 percent according to Senate figures), New Hampshire will most likely overspend by a whopping $100 million. If these calculations hold, under the Hassan administration each and every New Hampshire household is essentially on the hook for additional $10,000. Nothing, including vacant ideology, can excuse the fiscal dilemma Hassan has created.
The utter lack of transparency regarding this massive budget overspending only serves to demonstrate the absence of leadership in the corner office, and the failure by Hassan to reach out, across the party lines, to address this substantial budget hole. Hassan’s actions are counter to responsible governing. Like a paranoid gambler, Hassan is holding the budget gap numbers close to the vest, failing to inform and involve the legislative branch in dealing with this crisis. This is hardly bipartisanship, and a far cry from responsible governance.
There is nothing to be gained by delaying the inevitable. True leaders confront a crisis head-on, making sure to involve other knowledgeable people, regardless of their political affiliations. Hassan’s dysfunctional management style is harming every New Hampshirite. Hassan appears to prefer the “kick the can down the road” approach to governing, which has failed on a national level, as more than 300 bills passed by the U.S. House sit in some desk drawer in Sen. Harry Reid’s office. For all the lack of leadership that Hassan is showing at this moment, she is more than making up for it with stubborn ideology. Hassan’s approach in dealing with this problem is just a continuation of her poor handling of almost every issue facing our state since she took office.
Gov. Hassan started her term by submitting a fiscally irresponsible budget that included $80 million from an illegal revenue stream. The budget was criticized by Democrats and Republicans alike, and abandoned by both the House and the Senate. The final budget that passed relied on realistic revenue numbers and fiscally responsible spending, anything but what Hassan submitted.
As the state Senate worked to resolve Medicaid funding, Hassan traveled the state on a politically motivated “Shame Them Into Action Tour,” which did nothing to help the issue, created a wedge between the legislative and the executive branches, and only served to delay a solution for several months.
In violation of state law, and against the legal directives of the New Hampshire legislative branch, Hassan allowed the state to accept more than $5 million from the federal government to “promote” New Hampshire’s Health Plan, an effort to increase enrollment in Medicaid. The cause and effect was simple. Medicaid enrollments exploded, exceeding state expectations, and added $37 million to the state’s Medicaid program. This money was not budgeted for and is just another example of poor fiscal management on the part of the governor.
This fall, Hassan will be traveling the state asking for your vote. Her supporters will make excuses, try to distract voters with false issues and create fabricated villains to blame for her administration’s incompetence. The citizens will have to decide for themselves whether Hassan is worthy of another term, but until then she has a duty to solve these problems that are her own doing. There is a time for campaigning and there is a time for governing, and what New Hampshire deserves at this moment is a governor who understands the difference.