by Matthew Plache

I was disappointed to see Rep Knirk’s (D – Freedom) May 14 letter reproaching Rep Cordelli and telling voters not to reelect Cordelli. I don’t like seeing a legislator denigrate a colleague that way.

Cordelli’s transgression can be summed up in one word: frugality. Cordelli believes that now is the wrong time to be raising taxes on hardworking families and citizens, and that a $2.5 million surplus in a $33 million County budget is enough.

Knirk believes the opposite — that now is the very time the County should raise taxes, and the budget should be increased by $4 million over last year’s spending.

So who’s right? NH’s Constitution, Part 1, Article 38 says representatives should exhibit “moderation,” “temperance,” and “frugality” to ensure the “good administration of government.” Raising taxes during a pandemic hardly comports with these virtues, particularly frugality.

Knirk offers the post hoc explanation that the $4 million dollar increase is needed to respond to the current pandemic and emergency. Really? But the budget was largely developed prior to the current emergency and it does not include specific spending or line items to address the emergency.

Knirk doesn’t address this last point, however in a letter several weeks ago, Delegation Chair DesMarais (also a Democrat) explained that all the extra fat in the budget makes sense so that Delegation members can shift funds around and spend freely to respond to the COVID19 crisis. In other words, we know that this year’s budget has millions of excess dollars built in, and while we can’t say now how we’ll spend it all, y’all just need to trust us — the Delegation members — to spend it wisely.

That sort of “slush fund budgeting” is not how government budgets are supposed to work.