The New Hampshire Senate
Republican Majority Office
Busting Myths About The Senate Balanced Budget
MYTH The Senate Republican budget includes cuts to mental health, substance abuse treatment, public safety and higher education.
FACT The Senate Budget:
- · increases funding for mental health,
- · restarts the Alcohol Abuse Prevention and Treatment Fund for the first time in a decade,
- · increases total support for alcohol and drug treatment programs from $24.5m to $42.1m,
- · fully funds public safety and Homeland Security,
- · and increases state support for the Community College and University Systems.
MYTH Their budget also ends the state’s business-backed, bipartisan Medicaid expansion program, which means that 40,000 people will lose coverage.
FACT The Senate Budget does not extend or end the NH Health Protection Program.
The Legislature will consider extension of the program in 2016, as intended when it passed.
MYTH Senate Republicans decided to give tax cuts to large, out-of-state corporations
FACT The tax cuts in the Senate Budget will provide tax relief to companies employing 95% of NH’s private sector workforce.
It lowers the BPT for the first time in 20 years, and cuts the BET for the first time ever.
Without these tax cuts, NH will have the highest corporate taxes in New England.
MYTH Assuming $34 million from Fiscal Year 2015 will be left over to carry forward into Fiscal Year 2016. In making that calculation, the Senate Finance Committee is double counting $15 million in lapses; not counting $3 million in additional appropriations for Fiscal Year 2015 authorized by the Fiscal Committee or by state law; and counting the $7 million in savings from Health and Human Services 2015 back-of-the-budget cut even as they directed Health and Human Services to spend that $7 million.
FACT The $15 million in lapses were not double-counted. State agencies are still expected to lapse $51.9m in FY 15.
Unbudgeted appropriations are consistent with the House position and based on historic averages.
The Finance Committee recognized a $7m reduction in DHHS, which was offset by $2m in surplus, and the $6m appropriation in HB 1635 (mental health settlement).
MYTH Not accounting for the impact their business tax cuts will have on estimated payments and business tax revenues in Fiscal Year 2016.
FACT The Committee relied on revenue estimates provided by DRA and LBA at the time.
Any updates in revenue estimates can be incorporated during Committee of Conference.
MYTH Saying they are restoring $6.25 million in mental health funding, while at the same time directing the Department of Health and Human Services to cut $6.25 million in mental health funding.
FACT The Senate Budget prioritizes existing mental health services and providing funding to open the 10-bed crisis unit at NH Hospital on time.
New services identified in the mental health settlement will be implemented at an additional cost of $16.7m, instead of the Department’s original estimate of $22.9m. The Governor can not commit the Legislature to appropriate funds through a settlement.
MYTH Assuming $3.5 million reduction at the Sununu Youth Services Center in 2015 with no plan for how to achieve the savings.
FACT The Senate Budget requires the Department to provide its overdue plan to reduce the cost of services, including options such as privatization of services, offering additional compatible services, and the Jan 2014 report on the Center.
Implementation of this plan is to begin in January.
MYTH Assuming unrealistic savings estimates in Health and Human Services, include a caseload drop of 2 percent; and $12.5 million in “savings” from additional managed care programs.
FACT The Governor assumed a 1.4% drop in caseload.
The House assumed a 2% drop in FY16 and a 2.5% drop in FY17.
The Senate assumes a 2% drop overall, just 6/10th of 1% below the Governor’s estimate.
MYTH Increasing lapse estimates by $9 million.
FACT The Senate budget includes a lapse percentage of 3.3% per year, the lowest since 2011.
MYTH Diverting funds from last year’s bipartisan transportation funding plan from road work to operations and assuming the Department of Transportation can balance its budget through a federal financing vehicle that has not yet been approved by the federal Department of Transportation.
FACT The Senate Budget dedicates $8.3m from SB 267 revenues to the Highway Maintenance Bureau.
The Senate Budget dedicated $253m to municipal aid and state betterment over the next decade.
The Governor’s budget allocated $63m for Municipal Block Grants. The House reduced that to $55m. The Senate restored it to $61.5m.
MYTH Failing to fully fund winter maintenance for the Department of Transportation.
FACT The Senate Budget includes $22.8m and $23.1m for winter maintenance, which is $1 million more than the amount budgeted two years ago.
The Governor requested $4.8m more, which would still be far below the $18.8m transferred to cover for heavy snows over the past two winters.
Winter maintenance is budgeted based on the average need, and can be increased by the Fiscal Committee if we experience a third consecutive winter of heavy snow.
MYTH Directing the Department of Transportation to pay for the widening of Route 106 with operational funds, without identifying where they should cut to make those payments.
FACT The Senate Budget says the Department may utilize available funds for the widening of Route 106m. The Department is not required to do the work if the funds are unavailable.
MYTH Unsustainable cuts to overtime funding at the Department of Corrections.
FACT DOC spent $7m on overtime in FY14, and expects to spend $8.9m in FY15. It requested $7.5m per year. Gov. Hassan recommended $5.4m and $4.7m The House approved $2m and $1.5m.
The Senate contains $4m and $3.5m for overtime, but also provides additional positions to lessen the need for overtime, and transfer authority should the Department require more OT as it fills those positions.
MYTH Refusal to fund a modest cost of living adjustment for our hard working state employees.
FACT State employees have received three COLAs in the past two years, plus a $300 bonus and annual step increases. 69% of state employees are not at the highest step, and receive annual raises.
MYTH Repeal of the Certificate of Need Board.
FACT Current law repeals the CON Board in 2016, and the Senate Budget does not change it. It does contain language maintaining the moratorium on nursing home beds when the CON Board sunsets.