ICYMI: Republicans Put Corporate Special Interests Ahead of NH, Governor Hassan to Veto Fiscally Irresponsible and Unbalanced GOP Budget
Concord, N.H. – As State House Republicans continue to shamelessly put corporate special interests ahead of New Hampshire’s families and small businesses, Governor Hassan announced last night that she would veto Republicans’ fiscally irresponsible and unbalanced budget.
See coverage roundup below:
Union Leader: Governor threatens veto of state budget
Calling the current state budget proposal hashed out by House and Senate negotiators “fiscally irresponsible,” Gov. Maggie Hassan said in a statement released Wednesday night that she would veto it if it came across her desk "as it is."
“Because this budget is unbalanced, dishonest about what it funds, and includes unpaid-for business tax cuts that create a more than $90 million budget hole at the expense of critical economic priorities, I will veto it if it comes to my desk as it is," Hassan said in a statement posted on her Facebook page at 9 p.m.
… House members agreed to a Senate proposal to use $49 million instead of $34 million from the current budget surplus for the general fund.
The increase of $15 million over what the House initially proposed is more than enough to cover the $12 million state employee pay raises, but the nine-member conference committee voted nonetheless not to include the pay raise in the budget.
… During a break in the negotiations between House and Senate budget writers, Hassan spoke to the tax cuts outside the meeting room, saying she was not necessarily opposed to cutting business taxes, but wants to see how they will be paid for.
“I am concerned as I am meeting with House and Senate conferees that the majority party in both chambers is continuing to talk about business tax cuts that they don’t pay for at the expense of critical priorities that we all agree we need to fund,” she said. [Full story]
NHPR: Gov. Hassan Threatens To Veto Budget If It Doesn't Change
After multiple days of long hours at the State House, lawmakers are putting the finishing touches on the two-year state budget.
A spending plan, which Governor Maggie Hassan says is “fiscally irresponsible and unbalanced,” and urges budget writers to go back to the drawing board or she will veto it.
… The plan also includes the Senate’s business tax cuts, which will result in an estimated $90 million revenue loss over the next biennium. This is a major sticking point for the governor, who says this budget does not account for such a hefty revenue loss.
"I'm not philosophically opposed to tax cuts but if we are going to make tax cuts for businesses we need to find a way to pay for those taxcuts, and we cannot sacrifice the funding of priorities that are so critical to our people and our businesses and our economy," Hassan said Wednesday after meeting with Democrats at the State House. [Full story]
AP: Hassan threatens to veto Republican-crafted state budget
Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan threatened Wednesday night to veto the tentative spending plan crafted by a Republican-led team of House and Senate negotiators.
The budget, set to be finalized by the negotiating team Thursday, cuts the rate of the state’s two major business taxes and does not include money to continue Medicaid expansion beyond 2016 or give already negotiated pay raises to state employees. Hassan listed all three as reasons for a veto.
“I urge the legislature to return to work immediately, prepare a continuing resolution that will fund state government in the short-term, and negotiate in good faith to develop a bipartisan budget that is fiscally responsible and that supports the priorities needed to keep New Hampshire’s economy moving forward,” Hassan said in a statement.
… House members also agreed to Senate efforts to put $6.7 million into the state’s alcohol abuse prevention fund. That number falls short of substance abuse money included in Hassan’s budget, and Democrats say the state should be doing more to combat the state’s growing opioid and heroin problem.
… Hassan, in her statement, said the budget doesn’t do enough to fund higher education and public safety. [Full story]
Concord Monitor: Budget negotiators deny pay raise to state workers
… “The Legislature’s failure to include the funding for this contract, as well as many other items that directly assist our citizens in their budget is irresponsible, unconscionable, and immoral,” said SEA spokeswoman Beth D’Ovidio in a statement.
… An attempt by committee Democrats to restore the funding Wednesdayfailed.
… Hassan and representatives of the state employee negotiating team announced the tentative contract agreement in February. In addition to the pay raise, the deal includes a small increase in employee dental contributions and a change to layoff procedures. [Full story]
Concord Monitor: N.H. budget talks do little to allay concerns over swelling prison overtime costs
… “We know this is going to be a challenge over the next two years and we will continue to try to hire, recruiting and going to job fairs,” said spokesman Jeff Lyons. “But this is something that takes time. We will have to continue to find ways to utilize funds.”
The department has been covering excess overtime costs mainly with cash from vacant funded positions, Lyons said. Its $8.6 million overtime projection is more than twice the $3.4 million budgeted by lawmakers for this fiscal year.
The current $7.4 million figure is $2.5 million less than what the governor proposed but $4 million more than the House’s allowance.
The costs have been felt in more ways than one. Corrections officers routinely work 16-hour days. Though they make more, some have said the pay is not worth the exhaustion.
“That doesn’t leave much time for a life,” Patrick Bettens told the Monitor in 2013. [Full story]