The New Hampshire Senate
Concord, NH – Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley and Senate Finance Chairman Chuck Morse reacted to Gov. Maggie Hassan’s budget address by issuing the following statements today:
Sen. Chuck Morse, R-Salem:
“I applaud Gov. Hassan for proposing a two-year spending plan based on conservative revenue estimates that keeps general fund spending at levels similar to the last two years.
“I also appreciate some of the governor’s attempts to restore funding for our University System and elsewhere. However, I must note that those increases are far short of the promises made throughout her election campaign while she criticized the difficult choices made by the previous legislature. We look forward to hearing more from the governor as to how she will pay for these increases within the existing budget constraints.
“One of the ways she appears to be funding these increases is through raiding dedicated funds, including the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), underfunding others, including the Land Conservation and Historic Preservation program (LCHIP), and eliminating innovative programs, like the recently enacted Education Scholarship Tax Credit Program. The governor also calls for more Department of Revenue Administration auditors to increase tax collections from our businesses, while simultaneously suspending much needed tax reforms that are helping make New Hampshire a more business-friendly state. These legislative changes will likely meet opposition from both sides of the aisle and building a budget based on these speculative revenues or savings is a dangerous proposition.
Sen. Jeb Bradley, R-Wolfeboro:
“Looking at the budget as a whole, I have reservations about increasing the total spend to $11 billion, an increase of over $700 million over the current biennium, as Gov. Hassan as proposed. It would appear much of these monies are based on federal dollars – including the expansion of the federal Medicaid program – that likely require legislative approval and should not be counted on as certain given on going fiscal uncertainly in Washington. Moreover, given the millions in new spending, programs, and offices included in this budget, it would appear the governor intends to use these federal funds to offset what would otherwise be general fund spending. We have seen before what happens when non-existent dollars are used to balance the general fund, I will not allow the state to go down that uncertain road again.”