NH Council of Churches - Alert: More on State Budget Hearing Thursday

Raise Your Voice for Those Who Can't 

Public Hearing   

NH State Budget    

Thursday, March 10   

1 pm & 6 pm

Representative's Hall





In the last two years of economic downturn, the state's Health & Human Services caseloads rose 20%. People who had provided all their lives for themselves and their families found themselves for the first time needing help from their families, churches and public services.


As church leaders and those who are active in all facets of a continuum of care, you know these families.  


Your voice is urgently needed - now - to share what you know about the challenges people in your church pews and community face daily.


You know the plant closures in your community and the jobs that will never come back. You know military parents trying to find affordable care for their children so the parent at home can work while the other is deployed. You know the aging parents of a developmentally disabled child who struggle physically to continue as sole support.


Many in your community don't know what you know, including, perhaps, your state lawmakers. Yet, they're about to decide whether the people you know get the help they desperately need when they craft our state budget.


Religious leaders have expertise and information to share with lawmakers: you know the people and the challenges they face. Thus informed, lawmakers are better equipped to draw on their expertise and resources; to do well and frugally that which Jesus and our lived experience calls us to do in these difficult times.


Need some inspiration to act?  


According to the NH Fiscal Policy Institute's analysis of the governor's budget now before the House, proposals in play could:


-reduce eligibility for cash assistance to Aid to the Permanently & Totally Disabled and Aid to Needy Blind programs. Statewide impact: approximately 9,000 of our most vulnerable brothers and sisters. Of the 250 assisted by ANB, 40% are children.


-Eliminate health insurance for 900 NH children from working poor families by de-commissioning the Healthy Kids program. Remaining families may transition over to Medicaid on a fee-for-service plan that could raise their out-of-pocket expenses for coverage. (Simultaneous but separate from the budget are bills to institute caps on Medicaid, and examine whether NH should participate in Medicaid at all.)


-cut the program delivering services to adults with developmental disabilities and brain injuries, forcing the wait for services to grow significantly longer than the current 32-day average for the 477 people expected to need help this biennium.  


Just the beginning...


House leaders have promised to reduce this budget another $522 million to match their estimation of current revenue, but have pledged to do so without cutting state aid for municipalities, which is a significant portion of the state budget. Economic analysts say the House would have to reduce Health and Human Services spending by 20% to pull this off - an unheard-of reduction. NH budget-watchers are waiting to see just how this will play out, and expect cuts to come from behind the scenes, where agency heads may be asked to hold their department or program to a bottom line number, making specific cuts invisible to most.


What to do? Share what you know!


  • Attend the Hearing Thursday - Show up, sign in, speak up (see  guidelines at our website for how to craft and deliver testimony). Tell lawmakers that churches and other charities cannot fill the void left by cuts to public support services.
  • Contact your rep on House Finance
  • Start a conversation now with any of your reps
  • Bring this up at church, in your social justice groups to inform and educate
  • Invite your delegation of lawmakers in for a conversation 
  • Write a letter to the editor or op-ed to educate your community and your lawmakers about the realities you see


Click here for a list of and contact info for House Finance Committee members. 


Click here for text of HB2 - the "policy" end of the budget outlining the changes proposed.


Click here for text of HB1 - the "numbers"  


Thank you for speaking up for those who cannot!