Governor Lynch has put his business experience to work reforming state government, reducing state spending, increasing efficiency and transparency, and improving services. Since the beginning of the national recession, Gov. Lynch has moved decisively to manage the state budget. When revenues began to decline, he cut spending while protecting essential services for the people of New Hampshire. Gov. Lynch reduced state spending, balanced the budget and created a surplus.
Managing and Balancing the Budget
Under Gov. Lynch's leadership, New Hampshire has the fourth lowest government spending per capita in the United States, and the second lowest state taxes in the nation. The average two-year general fund spending increase under Gov. Lynch has been less than 1 percent. This year, the state budget decreased by 7 percent.
Gov. Lynch has taken early and aggressive action to ensure the state budget remains balanced during this economic downturn. New Hampshire now has a balanced budget and a surplus. As a result, at a time when independent agencies are downgrading other states' credit ratings, they upheld New Hampshire's strong rating.
As the Concord Monitor wrote, "...Gov. John Lynch and the Legislature have done a good job of managing during very bad times." (4/19/2010) When revenues continued to decline, Governor Lynch acted to ensure that the budget remained balanced. New Hampshire ended this fiscal year with a surplus. As the Portsmouth Herald said, "Not many states can say that in these tough times." (7/22/2010)
Gov. Lynch has worked to make government more efficient and cost-effective:
* Increased centralized purchasing: A new fuel contract alone saved taxpayers several million dollars this biennium.
* Closing outdated facilities and programs: Under Gov. Lynch, New Hampshire has closed a costly and inefficient prison, several courthouses, and eliminated or redesigned a number of programs.
* Putting services online: New Hampshire is reducing costs and improving services for citizens, by putting more services -- such as drivers' license renewals -- online.
Gov. Lynch has made the workings of state government more transparent and accountable to citizens. Under Gov. Lynch, monthly state spending reports are now posted online for the first time in the state's history.
Reforming the Corrections System to Reduce Costs and Strengthen Safety
Gov. Lynch worked with a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers, corrections and justice officials, the judicial branch and law enforcement to develop and pass the Justice Reinvestment Act, aimed at improving public safety and reducing costs to taxpayers. The Act is is projected to save taxpayers between $7.8 million and $10.8 million over the next five years. The law is aimed at reducing the number of offenders who commit new crimes and return to prison. The law also increases safety by increasing supervision of released inmates who are a high-risk to offend again; applies swift and certain jail sanctions for probation and parole violations; reinforces New Hampshire's truth in sentencing tradition by requiring all offenders to serve no less than 100 to 120 percent of their minimum sentences; and reinvests savings in behavioral health and treatment programs for high-need and high-risk parolees and probationers. The Act passed the legislature by a vote of 256-57 in the House, and on a voice vote in the Senate.
Strengthening Ethics in State Government
Gov. Lynch proposed and passed tough new ethics laws for New Hampshire, creating new ethics rules for state officials, tightening gift-giving rules, placing new restrictions and registration requirements on lobbyists, and creating the first-ever ethics commission for the executive branch.
Safeguarding New Hampshire's Retirement System
Gov. Lynch worked with legislators and workers to begin reforming New Hampshire's retirement system, underfunded after years of neglect and accounting gimmicks that hid its true status. The reforms moved the system to a recognized accounting method, transferred funds into the main account, reformed payments and increased the contribution new state employees will pay into the retirement system.