NHDP - ICYMI: Concord Monitor: "Gov. Maggie Hassan urged lawmakers to invest in the state’s future"

Key Point: "Gov. Maggie Hassan urged lawmakers to invest in the state’s future through increased spending on education and health care as part of an $11.5 billion budget she presented yesterday. Hassan’s two-year spending plan also includes money for many smaller initiatives, including $4 million for commuter rail, $2 million for an affordable housing fund, hiring new state troopers and a judge, and creating a new executive position to make government more efficient. [...] Hassan also plans to increase funding for mental health services, health care for veterans and substance abuse prevention."

Click here for the full Concord Monitor story or see below for additional excerpts:

On holding down spending increases: 

"Hassan’s two-year budget proposal is a 6.4 percent increase over the current $10.8 billion budget, and increases the state’s general fund spending by roughly 5 percent. Under her plan, 22 state agencies would not see any increase in their budgets." 

On investing in education:

"Under her proposal, the state’s community colleges would see an increase of $6.5 million over the two-year budget and allow them to decrease tuition. [...] Charter schools would see an additional $19 million over the biennium to account for enrollment growth. Hassan’s plan would make changes to education funding by raising a cap on the state money each district can get annually. To pay for that, Hassan would reduce state grant funding to schools that have fewer students on free and reduced lunch."

On maintaining New Hampshire's status as one of the healthiest states in the nation:

"Hassan focused many of her other policy goals on the health care arena. She included $12 million in her budget plan to fund Medicaid expansion past 2016, when federal funding is set to decrease and the Legislature must vote on whether to reauthorize the program. About 34,000 New Hampshire residents have signed up for the state’s Medicaid expansion program, which covers people whose incomes fall within 138 percent of the federal poverty level. [...] Hassan’s plan would fund a new mental health crisis unit at New Hampshire Hospital in Concord, add 25 more beds at the New Hampshire Veterans Home in Tilton and triple the funding for the governor’s Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention, Treatment and Recovery."

On making state government more innovative and efficient:

"Hassan focused heavily on finding efficiencies in state government. She proposed hiring a new position to oversee operating performance and merging together several state boards and commissions. The plan to hire a chief operating officer is based on a recommendation from a commission that Hassan convened in 2013 to come up with ways to make New Hampshire’s government more efficient, effective and transparent. Drawing from that report, she is also pitching the creation of a $1 million fund to pay for efficiency projects in state government. She hopes to consolidate the Racing and Charitable Gaming Commission into the Lottery Commission and to merge the state’s 27 boards – from health care licensing to real estate – into one central office."

"Those efficiency proposals, aimed at saving taxpayer dollars, earned the most praise from Republican lawmakers. Most of Hassan’s proposals still require legislative action."