NHDP - Fact Check: NHGOP Chair Wildly Distorts Reality In Misleading Attack Op-ed

“Last November voters rejected the reckless and irresponsible Jeb Bradley and Bill O’Brien budget that made the largest cut to public higher education in American history, killed hundreds of New Hampshire jobs, and devastated health care.  Governor Hassan showed great leadership in bringing all parties together and leveraging her legislative experience to reach a bipartisan deal that substantially fulfilled the promises she made throughout her campaign to reverse that damage and keep New Hampshire moving forward.

“Before telling other people how to balance a budget, Jennifer Horn should balance her own, payback the more than $90,000 she owes in taxes, and stop bouncing the New Hampshire Republican Party’s checks.  Even Republican lawmakers in Concord have disagreed publicly with the phony and outrageous charges made in her petty and misleading op-ed.” – Harrell Kirstein, New Hampshire Democratic Party Communications Director

Horn’s Claim: "Unfortunately, she presented an unaffordable plan in February"
Fact: Governor's budget proposal included pragmatic investments in priorities, kept spending below FY 2008
·         James Pindell, WMUR Political Scoop: “[T]he spending side is pragmatic.” “…the spending side is pragmatic…The $2.7 billion budget is only a 7 percent increase on the austere Republican budget passed two years ago that Hassan heavily criticized on the campaign trail as being too austere. She only restored funding to a few programs, partially restored funding for others and continued not to fund a number of programs.” [WMUR, 2/14/2013
·         Republican State Senator: Governor’s “Suggestions Were Very Innovative”  “‘I thought her suggestions were very innovative, and I’m looking forward to working with her,’ said Sen. Nancy Stiles, a Hampton Republican and chairwoman of the Senate Health, Education and Human Services Committee.” [Concord Monitor, 2/14/2013]
·         Republican Majority Leader: Governor’s Budget Includes “Things That I think All Of Us Can Support.” “‘There’s some things that I think all of us can support: more funding for the (developmental disabilities) wait list, mental health programs, CHINS, the community health center. These are some priorities that Republicans have had for a long time,’ said Sen. Jeb Bradley, a Wolfeboro Republican.” [Concord Monitor, 2/14/2013]
·         Republican State Representative “Was Pleased With The Boost For Community Colleges.” “Rep. David Kidder, a New London Republican, was pleased with the boost for community colleges. ‘From my perspective, as a state, we get a huge bang for the buck from community colleges,’ he said. ‘That is where we need to be spending the money. Those kids who come out of there get jobs and stay in New Hampshire.’” [Concord Monitor, 2/14/2013]
·         Republican State Senator: “Pleased The Governor Has Money In Her Capital Budget For Career And Technical Training Centers To Help Educate People For The Workforce.” “[Republican Senator Rausch] said he is pleased the governor has money in her capital budget for career and technical training centers to help educate people for the workforce.  ‘‘That is a great vehicle,’ Rausch said. Hassan also promised to modernize state government, streamlining agencies and cutting red tape. An advisory commission would help guide those efforts.” [Eagle Tribune, 2/15/2013]
Horn’s Claim: "Senate Republicans, under the leadership of Senate President Peter Bragdon, Majority Leader Jeb Bradley and Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Morse, did their homework and made tough choices... Senate Republican proposal increased funding for important HHS programs."
Fact: Senate Republicans’ budget left a $40M hole in HHS and Senate President Bragdon was forced to admit he hadn’t done his homework on Medicaid.
·         HHS Faces $40M Hole With "Reductions Contained in Senate's Proposed $10.7 Billion Spending Plan." The Nashua Telegraph reported, "Health and Human Services Commissioner Nick Toumpas told Senate budget writers Friday that drastically cutting programs and reducing jobs may be the only answer to a $40 million budget hole he faces. Toumpas said the $40 million hole is because of obligations the state's largest agency already faced and reductions contained in the Senate's proposed $10.7 billion spending plan." [Nashua Telegraph, 5/26/2013]
·         HHS Cuts Could Force Cuts To "Safety Net Programs."  The Nashua Telegraph reported that "Senate budget writers could be faced with millions of dollars in cuts to some safety net programs, such as for the developmentally disabled and Children in Need of Services, because of a massive hole in the state budget." [Nashua Telegraph, 5/26/2013]
·         Bragdon Admitted “He Didn’t Understand Much About Medicaid.”  At a forum in Milford the Telegraph wrote, “[Bragdon] also admitted he didn’t understand much about Medicaid until this budget session. Medicaid expansion is considered the most contentious part of negotiations now underway over the proposed budget plan for Fiscal Years 2014 and ’15. [Nashua Telegraph, 6/4/2013]
Claim: "House Democrats and Senate Republicans were able to come together and reach a compromise."
Fact: That compromise included reducing the $50 million back of the budget cut to state employees in half, helping to cover the hole created in the Senate budget.
·         BudgetCompromise Reduced Cuts To State Employees. The Concord Monitor reported, “Most contentious was the Senate’s proposed $50 million cut to personnel costs, with Hassan instructed to find at least $20 million in general fund savings. Democrats warned that could lead to hundreds of layoffs, and the House negotiators instead proposed a $20 million lapse that would require Hassan to find the savings across all spending, not just wages and benefits. In the end, they split the difference, with the compromise budget including an additional $10 million lapse and a $25 million personnel cut with $10 million to come from the general fund.” [Concord Monitor, 6/21/2013]
·         Senate Personnel Cost Reductions Were Cut In Half. The Union Leader reported, “For state employees, the news is a little better than it might have been, but 200 to 350 layoffs are not pretty. The Senate had proposed a $50 million reduction in personnel costs - which would have meant between 500 and 700 layoffs - but in the final budget, the number was reduced to $25 million.” [Union Leader, 6/22/2013]
·         Headline: Seeking savings, N.H. Senate Budget Writers Look To Cut State Personnel Costs – Again. [Concord Monitor, 6/4/2013]
·         Republicans: Personnel Cut “Necessary To Balance The Budget.” The Concord Monitor reported, “The Senate’s budget writers also added a clause requiring Hassan, a Democrat, to reduce spending on benefits and compensation for classified state employees by at least $50 million over the next biennium, including at least $20 million in savings to the state’s general fund. Morse said the Senate’s proposed budget spends more than the current budget does without increasing taxes or fees. The personnel cut, he said, was necessary to balance the books. The SEA warned last week that the $50 million cut could mean 700 jobs eliminated, or a $5,000-per-employee reduction in total compensation.” [Concord Monitor, 6/4/2013]

Horn’s Claim: "Senate Republicans stuck to their fiscally responsible principles and produced a budget that closely mirrored their original proposal and bore little resemblance to the governor’s plan."
Fact: The bipartisan budget signed into law by the Governor included most of her proposed restorations to critical priorities that had been cut by the reckless and irresponsible Bill O'Brien and Jeb Bradley budget, including enough funding to follow through on the Governor's proposal to freeze in-state tuition at both the university and community college systems.
·         “Budget Very Similar to One [Governor] Proposed in February.” The Union Leader reported, “And then there is Gov. Maggie Hassan, who will see a budget very similar to the one she proposed in February return to her desk to sign. [Union Leader, 6/22/2013]
·         Community College Froze Tuition for 2013-2014 School Year, Following Commitment to Governor Hassan.  The Concord Monitor reported, “The college system committed to Gov. Maggie Hassan it would freeze tuition for the 2013-2014 school year if the budget was restored to the $37.5 million appropriation of 2011. The state budget passed by the Legislature on Wednesday reflected that restoration. With the additional funds, Gittell said the college system is able to not only freeze tuition but also advance its programming.”  [Concord Monitor, 6/27/2013]
·         Governor Hassan “Instrumental” In University System Tuition Freeze For The Next Two Years. “The University System of New Hampshire Board of Trustees voted unanimously yesterday to freeze tuition for the next two years. It is the first tuition freeze the state system has had in 25 years….Gov. Maggie Hassan was instrumental in the move. State community colleges announced a tuition freeze a day earlier.  In fact, Hassan made the motion for the freeze at a trustees’ meeting in Keene yesterday.” [Eagle Tribune, 6/29/2013]
Horn’s Claim: "She also decided to leave New Hampshire and travel out of state for several days while a bipartisan group of legislators in Concord worked on a plan."
Fact: Governor Hassan attended a nonpartisan education symposium BEFORE budget conferees were appointed by the legislature.
·         Budget Conferees Appointed Wednesday, June 12, 2013. The Concord Monitor reported, “The House and Senate today named the negotiators who will be responsible for hammering out the next two-year state budget.”  [Concord Monitor, 6/12/2013]
·         Governor Returned From Education Symposium Wednesday, June 12, 2013. NHPR reported, “Hassan is attending the 2013 Governors Education Symposium, which takes place Monday and Tuesday….  Hassan will be back in the state Wednesday, when she is scheduled to deliver the keynote address for the National Education for Women Leadership New England program at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics.” [NHPR, 6/10/2013]
Horn’s Claim: “Gov. Hassan is now attempting to rewrite history by crediting herself with bipartisan leadership.”
Fact: Governor Hassan showed great leadership in bringing all parties together and leveraging her legislative experience to reach a bipartisan deal.
·         Concord Monitor’s Ben Leubsdorf Reported Governor Hassan, Speaker Norelli, Senate President Bragdon “Meeting Privately Right Now On Budget Talks.” Leubsdorf reported via social media that, “Gov. Hassan, -#NHHouse Speaker Norelli and -#NHSenate President Bragdon are meeting privately right now on budget talks. -#NHpolitics” [Twitter, 6/19/2013]
·         Nashua Telegraph’s Kevin Landrigan Reported Governor Hassan, Speaker Norelli, Senate President Bragdon “Now Meeting Privately Right Now Over State Budget Talks.” Landrigan reported via social media that, “Gov. Maggie Hassan, Senate Prez Peter Bragdon, House Speaker Terie Norelli, now meeting privately over state budget talks. -#nhpolitics” [Twitter, 6/19/2013]