Sale of state properties to balance budget reaches less than 10% of goal
The commission tasked with raising funds to close a $60 million hole in the state budget through sale of state properties has come up with a mere $400,000 in additional revenue, about six percent of the goal. Commission chair Sen. Lou D’Allesandro and State Commissioner of Administrative Services Linda Hogdon lay the blame on a variety of unanticipated lease agreements and other entanglements that prevented the quick and easy sale of state properties.
Sen. D’Allesandro has stated that the only way to recoup anything close to the missing $59.6 million is by using tobacco settlement funds to back a state bond.
The state’s best hope of quickly raising $60 million is bonding tobacco settlement funds — not sale of state property — state Sen. Lou D’Allesandro said Tuesday.
The Manchester Democrat chaired a commission charged with finding $60 million to balance the state budget through the sale of surplus property. But the panel found only two buildings could be readily sold. Both are at the Sununu Youth Services Center in Manchester; it is estimated they could raise $400,000.
About $40 million a year from tobacco companies could be used as collateral for a $60 million state bond. Illinois recently sold $1.5 billion in bonds backed by tobacco funds,D’Allesandro said.
‘There wasn’t a great deal of positive sentiment for that, but that could get you the money,’ he said,adding, ‘We should be looking at some type of public-private partnership with our liquor business.’
In response to the revelation, Conservative-leaning Cornerstone Policy Research Director Kevin Smith issued a statement referring to the proposed sale of state assets as a “mirage”:
The fact of the matter is that the Democratic leadership, which Senator D’Allesandro is still a part of, used smoke and mirrors accounting gimmicks to supposedly balance the state budget. Rather than first assessing whether the properties in question were even marketable, the previous Democratic administration recklessly included the sale of these properties as part of their budget “fix” knowing full well it was highly unlikely the revenue would never come to fruition.
Today, Cornerstone Director, Kevin Smith, called on the new Republican leadership in the House and Senate to part ways with the failed fiscal policies of the past by implementing meaningful spending cuts to bring the State’s fiscal house into order, “There is only one way the state is going to dig itself out of this hole, and that is to cut, cut, cut,” Smith said. “Senator D’Allesadro continues to live in the past – he apparently has not realized yet why there are only five members of his party left standing in the State Senate. New Hampshire voters elected new leaders this past November because they were sick and tired of runaway spending and bloated deficits – now is the time for the new House and Senate leadership to show the voters they are serious about getting our state budget under control.”