New Hampshire Governor Craig Benson is a rare breed of politician… he's the kind who keeps his promises even after the campaign is over. I met him the day after he vetoed an $8.8 billion budget, stamping the budget with a custom-made 2-by-4 red VETO stamp that his staff had purchased for him. The budget would have resulted in a $200 million deficit, which would eventually have to be paid down with tax increases. With his budget veto, he kept his campaign promise to keep taxes low and rein in state expenditures.
The entire state is buzzing with the news of his veto. Many in the media are comparing him with Mel Thomson, who similarly butted heads with the legislature by vetoing over-spent budgets. Thomson ran for governor on the platform, "ax the tax." Though lawmakers may have been frustrated with Thomson, he was a favorite with New Hampshire taxpayers who re-elected him twice. It appears that Governor Benson also admires Thomson; a prominent portrait of Mel Thomson with the quote "Low taxes are the result of low spending" greets all visitors to the Governor's office. Granite (and Free) Staters can expect him to continue to follow Thomson's fiscally responsible lead.