NHDP - ICYMI: Governor Hassan Proposes Budget Compromise, Republicans “Unwilling To Budge”


Concord, N.H. – Yesterday, Governor Hassan presented a fiscally responsible budget compromise proposal that includes Republicans’ top priority – business tax cuts – on a faster timeline while also protecting the state’s long-term fiscal outlook and ability to support critical economic priorities like combatting the heroin crisis, higher education, roads and bridges, and health care.

Yet Republicans remain completely unwilling to compromise, insisting on blowing a massive hole in this and future budgets at the expense of New Hampshire's people, businesses, and economy.

NHPR noted “it took mere minutes for GOP to blast Gov. Hassan's compromise plan” and “make it clear the state's budget gridlock is not going to end anytime soon."

NHPR also reported, “Republicans like Senate President Chuck Morse seems unwilling to budge.”

GOP Speaker Shawn Jasper underscored just how unreasonable the House Republican position is, telling the AP, “It was very difficult to get anything through the House, even in the way of adjustments that could be seen as just keeping up with inflation.”

Jasper also told the Concord Monitor, it’s “difficult in the House to find a pathway.” By which Jasper really meant that he is not willing to compromise and pass a budget with votes from across the aisle.

NH1 News also reported, “Every week, Hassan and her team called upon legislative leaders to come and discuss the framework for a new budget. And since the beginning of this month the two State House principals, Senate President Chuck Morse, R-Salem, and House Speaker Shawn Jasper, R-Hudson, have not been there… Morse was gone for two weeks for a longtime planned trip to Ireland; Jasper had both business and personal matters to attend to.”

See coverage roundup below:

WMUR: Hassan offers compromise proposal on budget

Gov. Maggie Hassan has laid out a compromise proposal to end the budget stalemate in Concord.

Hassan said she will agree on a cut to business taxes in exchange for an increase in the cigarette tax and car registration fees, which Republicans have opposed in the past.

"I'm here today to offer a compromise budget proposal," Hassan said.

With Democratic lawmakers by her side, Hassan proposed the deal that she said she hopes will meet with Republican approval. The governor said she has listened to Republican concerns and is willing to support a cut in business taxes, a Republican priority.

"The plan I'm proposing will lower the business profits tax to 7.9 percent for the 2016 tax year," she said.

Hassan said she wasn't philosophically opposed to the business tax cut, but she wanted it paid for. To accomplish that, she's proposing a 21-cent hike in the cigarette tax, which would include electronic cigarettes and other tobacco products.

One of the governor's priorities has been the continuation of health care expansion. That is not included in the proposal, but Hassan said she's still hopeful the Legislature will pass the expansion.

"My budget did include funding for the reauthorization, so that if and when reauthorization happens, the funding will be there," she said.

The budget proposal also includes negotiated pay raises for state employees, something Republican leaders have indicated they would be willing to move on.

Because of the continuing heroin epidemic, which the governor said is the major health problem facing New Hampshire, the proposal also includes money for a drug court in Manchester. [Full story]

AP: Hassan presents compromise budget plan

Gov. Maggie Hassan said Thursday she’s willing to accept business tax cuts backed by Republicans in exchange for an increase in the cigarette tax and car registration fees…

“While people on both ends of either party may still want a different plan than the one I am proposing, this plan attempts to address the concerns of both parties,” Hassan said while flanked by Democratic lawmakers.

Hassan has been rejecting attempts to lower business taxes because she says the cuts are “unpaid for” and would leave a hole from lost revenue in future budgets. The plan she outlined Thursday includes roughly $114 million in new revenue that she uses to offset a cut in the rate of the business profits tax, fund the state employee pay raise and increase spending in travel and tourism, substance abuse treatment and prevention and several other programs. It relies on $32 million from a 21-cent hike in the cigarette tax and nearly $20 million from a $5 increase in car registration fees.

Her plan also includes a small amount of money to gather data on the effects of Medicaid expansion. Lawmakers say they want to debate whether to continue the program next year, when they have a better picture of how it’s been working. Her plan projects having enough money to pay for the program in 2017 should the Legislature vote to reauthorize it next year.

… Hassan’s plan reduces the rate of the business profits tax from 8.5 percent to 7.9 percent by the end of 2016 and increases the threshold for paying the business enterprise tax, which she said would reduce the tax burden on 5,500 small businesses. It also allows for a change to the tax code sought by gym company Planet Fitness. [Full story]

NHPR: Hassan Makes Budget Overture; GOP Finds it Lacking

With state budget negotiations not gaining much traction, Gov. Maggie Hassan Thursday presented what she called a new compromise proposal. But the plan seems to have done little to persuade Republicans to return to the negotiating table any time soon.

In the proposal, which would amend the budget plan passed by the Republican-led Legislature last month, Hassan conceded to GOP leaders by not only including but expediting business tax cuts supported by the GOP.

“It is very, very clear to me that the Republican legislators think this is their number one priority and they are insisting on it as part of any budget to move New Hampshire forward, so in the spirit of compromise I am moving forward with a business tax reduction,” Hassan said in a State House press conference.

In exchange, the proposal includes several Hassan priorities that Republicans have previously rejected, including a 2 percent state employee pay raise and added $5.7 million for substance abuse treatment. It also included a 21-cent bump in the cigarette tax and a $5 increase to the motor vehicle registration fee.

… Hassan’s proposal did not, however, continue Medicaid expansion. But she included funding for it if legislators decide to reauthorize it before it ends in December 2016. It also restored funds to the renewable energy fund and community colleges and added money to pay for the so-called "Planet Fitness" tax provision passed by the Legislature. That bill would have changed the way the state Business Profits Tax applies to companies planning to issue stock.

… Throughout the press conference, Hassan stressed that both sides need to give in order to get a budget passed.  "Again this is a compromise and compromise requires people to actually do things that people may not want to do but that are the nature of this. The people of New Hampshire elected a Republican legislative majority and a Democratic governor, that means both Democrats and Republicans need to have a voice in whatever budget is passed and that is what this is about.” [Full story]

Union Leader: Gov. Hassan proposes budget compromise offering business tax cuts, cigarette tax hike; lawmakers react

While liking some of what Gov. Maggie Hassan proposed Thursday in a budget compromise, House and Senate GOP leaders say tax and revenue increases in the plan will not fly.

… Hassan unveiled a plan that would give GOP leaders the business tax cuts that are their top priority, while to pay for the reductions, she proposes increasing the cigarette tax 21 cents, raising car registration fess $5 and requiring business owners to prove their compensation is not profit.

… While legislative leaders have been meeting with the governor since she vetoed the $11.35 billion biennial budget approved with only GOP votes, there has been little movement.

Thursday, Hassan said she hopes her proposal will spur negotiations, so lawmakers can vote on a compromise budget plan when they return to Concord Sept. 16 to take up the bills she vetoed, including the budget.

… Hassan said she would be willing to wait for lawmakers to reauthorize the NH Health Protection Act or Medicaid expansion, but wants the money the state needs to continue the program for the second half of the 2017 fiscal year, when the federal government stops paying 100 percent of the cost.

… Hassan said she believes her plan will address both parties’ priorities while everyone will have to agree to some things they do not want.

… Hassan urged legislative leaders to work with her so a budget compromise would be available for lawmakers to vote on Sept. 16 when they return to act on her vetoes. [Full story]

Concord Monitor: Hassan offers compromise plan on state budget

… Gov. Maggie Hassan introduced a new proposal Thursday morning with the hopes that it might serve as a framework for a compromise plan.

… The governor had said previously that she wasn’t philosophically opposed to business tax cuts but wanted to make sure they were offset with other adjustments to avoid a large hole in the budget.

… The governor also suggests extending substance abuse benefits for the existing, non-expansion, Medicaid population beginning in January 2016 and adds funding over the Legislature’s budget proposal for other substance abuse prevention and treatment programs. Hassan’s plan also includes continued funding for the Senior Director for Substance Misuse and Behavioral Health position held by John Wozmak.

The governor’s compromise plan also proposes funding the state employees’ contract, funding for state police vehicles and Department of Transportation winter maintenance, and overtime funding for the Department of Corrections in 2017, among other items.

Speaking to the media a few hours after Hassan outlined her proposal, House Speaker Shawn Jasper and Senate President Chuck Morse said they were encouraged by the governor’s willingness to reconsider business tax cuts and to separate the Medicaid expansion reauthorization from the budget debate.

… Hassan is calling on legislators to work through August on a compromise in order to have a plan ready to vote on by Sept. 16. [Full story]

NH1: Landrigan: NH Political Report-Permanent state budget deal elusive, frayed feelings all around

Every week, Hassan and her team called upon legislative leaders to come and discuss the framework for a new budget.

And since the beginning of this month the two State House principals, Senate President Chuck Morse, R-Salem, and House Speaker Shawn Jasper, R-Hudson, have not been there.

July is traditionally a tough month to find lawmakers; this year, Morse was gone for two weeks for a longtime planned trip to Ireland; Jasper had both business and personal matters to attend to.

If that weren’t bad enough for Hassan, the senior lawmakers and legislative staff at those sit downs with Hassan had no authority to negotiate. [Full story]