Concord, NH – Senate President Chuck Morse released the following statement today concerning the committee of conference agreement on Senate Bill 369:
“Following the court rulings on the MET, the Senate’s focus, as reflected in our position on SB369, has been on addressing the courts’ Constitutional concerns, reforming how MET revenues are spent, reducing the state’s reliance on this tax, and providing long-term stability in terms of taxes and revenue for our state’s hospitals and budget.
“This agreement succeeds in dealing with two of those items by taking appropriate steps to end the current lawsuits while better directing MET revenues to health care related spending. However, I am very concerned that this settlement increases the state’s reliance on the MET tax and, as a result, raises questions as to whether the agreement will be sustainable in the long-term.
“Combined with the normal growth in government as well as oher health care related spending authorized this year, estimates suggest we could see a more than $1 billion increase in the state’s total spending next budget, a nearly 10-percent increase in our state’s total budget. This is a level of growth that I believe is simply unsound, and will put budget writers in a very difficult position in just over six months when the Fiscal Year 2016/17 budget process begins.
“Over the next few days, as legislators have the opportunity to review this conference report and discuss it with constituents and stakeholders, I would encourage them to fully consider the bill’s implications for our next budget.”