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Marie Lozito

April 9, 2011

Marie Lozito is a Registered Nurse, Licensed Massage Therapist, wife, mother, grandmother and life-long conservative. She wrote a text on medical massage and taught at New York College of Health Professions. 

Interested in, and observing politics since 1960, she ran for elected office in 2010. 


Let’s Talk “Budgets”

Why and how does the government make a budget? It is the constitutionally assigned responsibility of the legislature in the government to make a budget. Washington D.C. makes an annual Federal Budget. Concord NH makes a biennial State Budget. 

First the leader (President/Governor) presents a proposed budget. That is like a Christmas wish list – what he’d like. Then the two legislative branches (Senate and House/General Court) create their proposed budgets. Once they have each voted on and passed their individual proposed budgets, the two branches get together and negotiate a compromise budget. That compromise budget then gets voted on by both branches and, if passed, becomes "the budget". If the President/Governor is very unhappy with the budget, he can veto it, but the legislature can override his veto. 

Please notice two things: 1. There are several “proposed budgets” but only one actual “budget”.  2. The leader only asks for a budget. He has no power to appropriate any funds to be spent. He does NOT make the budget. In other words, the legislators in the two legislative branches are the people who make the budget and control the purse strings.

In Concord, the previous legislature, controlled by the Democrats, ran up almost a $1 billion deficit in the first year of the two year budget. NH has a balanced budget amendment so the current legislature must, by law, balance the budget before the end of this fiscal year (before October 1). The governor (after lying in the campaign that he had balanced the budget) proposed a budget with unrealistically high expected revenues and inadequate cuts. 

The Republican dominated General Court has passed a proposed budget that is realistic in expected revenues, will balance the budget on time and not run a deficit over the next two years. Many cuts had to be made to accomplish this very difficult task. The cuts are painful, some are very painful. Frankly, I admire the integrity and courage shown by the Representatives in facing the problem head-on and doing the unpleasant job of trying to fix the disaster they inherited from the previous legislature. Now the Senate has to propose and pass their budget so that the process can continue. I hope they will also take their responsibility seriously!

In Washington, the situation is even worse. The previous legislature, controlled by Democrats, failed to do their constitutional job. They made no budget at all! They funded the functioning of the government by passing “continuing resolutions” (CR). (Continuing resolutions permitted them to not deal with the deficit in an election year – a wise but unethical move by the Democrat Party.) Unfortunately, the only spending cuts that can be made in CRs are in “discretionary spending” – a small portion of the whole budget. Now the Congress needs to fund the government for the rest of this fiscal year, 2011, and make a budget for the coming fiscal year, 2012. 

The last CR passed expired at midnight on April 8. The Republican led House had passed a proposed new CR which cuts $61 billion of discretionary spending. The Democrat led Senate has neither produced nor passed a proposed CR and states that $61 billion is too much to cut in spending. (Never mind that $61 billion is not even one day’s worth of deficit spending!) No compromise CR can be worked out and passed until the Senate does its job of passing a proposed CR. No compromise CR being passed means that after April 8 the Federal government technically has no money to function, this forces a government shutdown. In actuality the government doesn’t “shut down”, it slows down. All “essential services” of government continue. The President has a large amount of control about what is or isn't deemed "essential".

As I sit here writing this article, we are less than two hours away from the government shutdown. Many reports I hear state that even if Congress reaches an agreement about the CR now, a shutdown will still happen as the details are worked out and put into effect. How long a shutdown will last depends on many factors. It's not the end of the world like the media hype would make you think, but it is unfortunate. Some people and projects will be inconvenienced.

The way I see this is that the government slowdown is undeniably the fault of the Democrats. The Democrats controlling both the House and Senate last year had no problem taking their pay and benefits but didn’t do one of the few constitutionally assigned jobs that they needed to do! The Democrats controlling the Senate this year aren’t doing their job either. In fact they are obstructing the proper function and funding of government. At the same time, Harry Reid and other Democrats are blaming the Republicans for “shutting down the government”. They are counting on most people being ignorant of the proper process. They hope if they tell this lie often enough, loud enough and with enough conviction in their voices that the people will believe them. I don’t think Americans are that stupid! " You can fool all of the people some of the time and some of the people all of the time but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time".

This is simply not the time to play political games. The nation is in an economic crisis. This is the time for elected officials to deliver unwavering fiscal responsibility and accountability. We, the People, are watching and waiting.


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