Senate Republicans' Unbalanced Budget Will Hurt Small Businesses And Middle Class Families, Take NH’s Economy Backward.
Concord, N.H. – Governor Hassan and Senate Democrats reiterated concerns yesterday about Senate Republicans’ unbalanced budget that will hurt small businesses and middle class families, and take New Hampshire’s economy backward.
Governor Hassan told WMUR, “Any budget that’s going to pass into law this session needs to be a bipartisan budget that makes real progress for the people and businesses and economy of New Hampshire, and it needs to be balanced. And I’ve expressed to Senate leadership my concerns about the fact that the budget that passed out of committee fails to meet those standards.”
See coverage recap below:
Union Leader’s Budget Coverage
… Democrats held a news conference to say the budget plan is filled with gimmicks and big business giveaways, while failing to continue Medicaid expansion or fund the negotiated state employee pay raise.
“The Senate Republican budget undermines our economic future, sets the state on precarious financial footing, and despite the rhetoric, is neither compassionate nor responsible,” said the Senate’s Democratic Leader Jeff Woodburn, D-Dalton, at a news conference Tuesday. It not only uses budget gimmicks, he said, it contains “budget-busting-big-business giveaways.”
… Democrats objected to rate reductions for the business profits and business enterprise taxes in the second year of the next biennium. The rate reductions are projected to reduce revenue by $14 million.
They also noted the Senate budget fails to restore state aid for higher education, uses money promised for roads and bridges for agency operating costs, and fails to include money for Medicaid expansion for the last six months of the biennium or $12.2 million for a negotiated pay raise for state employees.
“What kind of message are we sending to our employees?” asked Sen. Lou D’Allesandro, D-Manchester. “Negotiate a contract but we won’t live up to it. That is a bad omen — a bad omen.”
… Gov. Maggie Hassan’s press secretary William Hinkle said the contract was a priority for the governor, noting she said the money would be included in her budget plan before other details were released. And he said Hassan is willing to meet with Forrester, but has not had a request to do so.
… Woodburn charged some last-minute proposals were done as favors to Republican friends, such as a business tax change and moving oversight of public risk pools from the Secretary of State’s Office to the Insurance Commission.
He said while Republicans were taking care of their friends, the budget cuts mental health services, substance abuse treatment, public safety and higher education — all of which undermines efforts to build a stronger economic future.
Democrats also said the plan would not continue Medicaid expansion beyond Dec. 31, 2016, when the federal government stops paying 100 percent of the cost.
“That means 40,000 people will lose coverage and businesses will be forced to pay the hidden tax that results from cost-shifting of uncompensated care,” Woodburn said. [Full story]
NHPR’s Budget Coverage
… Democratic Senate leaders say the two-year spending plan is not in the best interest of New Hampshire residents, claiming that it is riddled with “budget gimmicks” such as double counting and unspecified budget cuts to key social services.
Senate Minority Leader Jeff Woodburn also criticizes the plan, claiming it gives business tax breaks to “special friends” such as Planet Fitness.
“Despite the rhetoric the Senate Republican budget is neither compassionate nor responsible,” Woodburn said at a press conference at the State House.
… Governor Maggie Hassan says she has “serious concerns” with the proposal -- especially the elimination of state employee pay raises and Medicaid expansion.
The full Senate is set to vote on the budget Thursday. A final version must be signed into law by June 30. [Full story]