Today the New Hampshire House votes on two proposals for dealing with the Medicaid enhancement tax. A month ago a judge ruled the tax unconstitutional, creating a $185 million hole in the current fiscal year and another in the next fiscal year. Tomorrow the Senate takes up its own proposal to fix the tax. What is missing?
In one month, legislators devised three complex proposals, ran them through the necessary committees, and scheduled them for votes before each chamber. In the same amount of time, Gov. Maggie Hassan has done... nothing.
The governor has the authority to adjust the state budget in response to financial emergencies, as columnst Charlie Arlinghaus points out in his column on this page today. She has the duty to explain the situation to the public and bring legislators together to craft a solution. She has done none of that.
All anyone can get out of the governor are meaningless statements about the need for everyone to work together to solve the problem. But everyone already is working together — everyone except the governor. During this very serious budget crisis, she has stepped back and let others lead. She has not so much as hinted at a favored proposal. She has not ordered state agencies to prepare for budget cuts in case the state loses its appeal.
She has only waited, as though she is a spectator to all the goings on in Concord and not the chief executive officer of state government.
The longer she waits to act, the more drastic measures will be required to fix the problem. What in the world could she be waiting for?