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NRSC - Foster's Daily Democrat: Gov. Hassan's Budget Veto Will Prove A Mistake 

Foster's Daily Democrat
July 2, 2015

Debate over Gov. Maggie Hassan’s motivation has ramped up since she vetoed the state budget.

Some are speculating that the veto has more to do with an anticipated run for the U.S. Senate seat held by Republican Kelly Ayotte than it does the actual budget.

An editorial in the Nashua Telegraph argues that Hassan’s “harsh rhetoric” in criticizing the budget passed by a Republican-led Legislature may come at a price. “If she pushes too hard, she becomes just another politician sacrificing her commitment to bipartisanship simply to advance her political career."

Others, like former state Democratic Party Chair Kathy Sullivan, argue Hassan’s sincerity in opposing “the GOP budget that uses one-time revenues and gimmicks to ‘balance’ the budget.”

As for a run for Senate, Sullivan adds that by extending the budget debate another six months with a continuing resolution Hassan will be forced to get a late start should she challenge Ayotte.

Speculation aside as to Hassan’s motivation, we consider her veto a serious mistake in terms of serving the best interests of the Granite State.

By extending the 2015 budget past July 1, the governor is denying services to some of the state’s most needy who would have been provided services had she signed the budget.

While not perfect, the vetoed budget added money for substance abuse prevention, treatment and recovery, mental health care, domestic violence prevention, and higher education.

New Hampshire would have been better served had the governor let the budget become law without her signature, leaving issues in dispute to be revisited with a supplemental budget.

Instead, her veto has denied needed services and ignited an effort by conservatives to negate some of the gains made when the Senate added funding to the earlier House-passed budget.

“Governor Hassan’s veto of the budget provides an opportunity for (an) even better budget for the state for the next two years,” wrote Greg Moore, state director of the conservative group American’s for Prosperty, in a press release.

“Moreover, every day that the state operates on a continuing resolution, the taxpayers of the state save money, as spending is far below what the budget she vetoed would have spent.”

In terms of Gov. Hassan’s stated priorities, that “better budget” of which Moore writes, means less in state spending on state services than that contained in the vetoed budget.

Beyond the risky budget path the governor has chosen to take with her veto, we think the governor’s logic fails in other areas.

The governor has repeatedly called the vetoed budget “dishonest,” pointing to deficit spending and accounting gimmicks which allow Republicans to spend the same revenue dollars twice.

However, the non-partisan Office of Legislative Budget Assistant (LBA), the state equivalent the federal non-partisan Office of Management and Budget, disagrees.

In addition, the accusation of gimmickry is suspect. Not to excuse or endorse it, but the last budget signed by Gov. Hassan included legislative sleight-of-hand, yet it earned her signature and drew her praise for being bipartisan.

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"Governor Denying Services To Some Of The State's Most Needy"


Concord - Today, the Portsmouth Herald editorial board wrote that Governor Hassan's budget was a "serious mistake", noting that the "vetoed budget added money for substance abuse prevention, treatment and recovery, mental health care, domestic violence prevention, and higher education."


"Governor Hassan's reckless budget veto has put critical state services for New Hampshire's most needy at risk," said NHGOP Chairman Jennifer Horn. "We are only beginning to see the serious consequences of Governor Hassan's politically-motivated veto. Governor Hassan should put her political ambitions aside and recognize that the needs of vulnerable Granite Staters are more important than career advancement."


Yesterday, WMUR covered the case of Doris Brown, a 92-year-old Laconia woman who had her home health care terminated. The budget Governor Hassan vetoed included a 5% increase in home health care funding.


Governor Hassan has a history of putting funding for vulnerable Granite Staters first on the chopping block. Earlier this year, nursing home residents demanded Governor Hassan restore $7 million in cuts in nursing home and home health care funding.


On Monday, the Associated Press said the "budget would have doubled money in prevention, treatment and recovery" for New Hampshire's "growing heroin and prescription drug abuse problem." Tym Rourke, Chair of Governor Hassan's Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention, said that the lack of increased funding means "continued waitlists" and "continued overdose deaths".




Associated Press: "Budget Would Have Doubled Money In Prevention, Treatment And Recovery" "Throughout the budget process, Republicans and Democrats alike called for greater efforts to address the state's growing heroin and prescription drug abuse problem. The budget would have doubled money in prevention, treatment and recovery fund to $6.7 million, allowing the state to begin investing in now-lacking recovery programs. Without the additional funding, the state can't start issuing requests for proposals for new programs and providers. (Kathleen Ronayne, "New Hampshire agencies, programs face budgetary uncertainty," Associated Press, 6/29/2015)


Associated Press: "For People Who Need Help, Advocates Say, The Delay Will Have Real Consequences...'That Means Continued Waitlists, That Means Continued Overdose Deaths'" "For people who need help, advocates say, the delay will have real consequences...'That means continued waitlists, that means continued overdose deaths,' said Tym Rourke, chair of the Governor's Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention, Treatment and Recovery. 'There is no substantive change we can expect to see around the substance abuse epidemic until we have the ability to provide those expanded services.'" (Kathleen Ronayne, "New Hampshire agencies, programs face budgetary uncertainty," Associated Press, 6/29/2015)




NHDP - Speaker Jasper Makes Clear GOP Doesn’t Focus on Fiscal Responsibility, Long-Term Economic Future 

Concord, N.H. – On NHPR’s “The Exchange,” GOP Speaker Shawn Jasper made clear that Republican budget writers have never been focused on fiscal responsibility and New Hampshire’s long-term economic future.
On Republicans’ approach to budgeting, Jasper said, “We never focus on [the future]… we focus on the here and now.”
Jasper was referring to the Republicans’ unpaid-for corporate tax giveaways that blow a $90 million hole in future budgets threatening the state’s ability to invest in priorities like higher education, public safety, and safe roads and bridges. Jasper’s comments neglect the fact that because the fiscally irresponsible Republican budget is unbalanced, it would actually place these critical economic priorities (and more) at risk in both the short-term and long-term.  


Citizens For A Strong NH - Remembering Hassan's Tent Tax 

Remember Governor Maggie Hassan's "Campground Tax."


(July 3, 2015) -  As thousands of New Hampshire families and out-of-state tourists head to Granite State campgrounds for the 4th of July weekend, it is important for them to remember that if Governor Maggie Hassan had her way back in 2009, this could be a much more costly holiday. Furthermore, many of the campgrounds that existed then likely would have been forced to close down by now due to what became known as the costly and absurd "Tent Tax."


In 2009, the New Hampshire Legislature agreed in the FY 2010 - FY 2011 budget to raise the state's Rooms and Meals Tax from 8% to 9%, and expanded the tax to campsites.

  • In June of 2009, then State Senator Maggie Hassan, who was also a Senator Budget Conferee, voted for the FY 2010 - FY 2011 budget. (HB1, Roll Call Vote #103: Conference Committee Report Adopted 13-11, 6/24/09, Hassan Voted Yea; Senate Journal 20, 6/24/09, pg. 595)
  • In June of 2009, then State Senator Maggie Hassan voted for HB2, the trailer bill for the FY 2010 - FY2011 budget, which expanded the Hotels and Rooms Tax to campsites. (HB2, Roll Call Vote #104: Conference Report Adopted 13-11, 6/24/09, Hassan Voted Yea; Senate Journal 20, 6/24/09, pg. 661)
    • HB2 "increases the Meals and Rooms Tax, adds campsites to the definition of hotel." (HB2, signed into law 6/30/09; Senate Journal 20, 6/24/09, pg. 655)

In response to the newly imposed 'Tent Tax,' public pressure mounted quickly as campsite owners and vacationers recognized how detrimental it would be to the industry. WBZ-TV talked to one campground owner who said that a "9% meal and room tax increase could put many campgrounds out of business. Local campers even said "we are in a fixed income, yeah that (tax) is going to hurt."

In addition to the public outcry, the tax fell far short of what it was expected to raise, according to Gregg Pitman, executive director of the New Hampshire Campground Owners Association. 

  • In April 2010, then State Senator Maggie Hassan voted to repeal the Campsite Tax (HB1445, Roll Call Vote #48: Motion To Pass Adopted 24-0, 4/7/10, Hassan Voted Yea; Senate Journal 13, 4/7/10, pg. 279)
  • In May 2010, the Campsite Tax Repeal was signed into law, "eliminating the meals and rooms tax on campsites." (HB1445, Signed Into Law 5/3/10)

*Note: In 2010, then State Senator Maggie Hassan lost her State Senate seat to current State Senator Russell Prescott.


Derek Dufresne, Spokesman for Citizens for a Strong New Hampshire, released the following statement:

"In addition to the fact that our state's tourism industry is a crucial aspect of our economy, summer vacations to local campgrounds are a time-honored tradition enjoyed by many New Hampshire families and out-of-state tourists alike. As countless Granite Staters gear up for a weekend at one of our many campgrounds, it is important for them to remember that if then State Senator Maggie Hassan had her way, the Granite State campground industry of today would look significantly different.

"Only a tax and spend liberal like Maggie Hassan would believe that imposing a Rooms and Meals tax on a parking spot for a camper was a good idea. This tax would have taken a significant chunk out of New Hampshire families' pockets and forced countless campgrounds to shutdown. Thankfully, Hassan's 'Tent Tax' didn't last long, but it is just another example of how out-of-touch she is with issues important to Granite State families."




NHDP - ICYMI: Senate Finance Hearing Confirms Legislators Ignored Governor Hassan on HHS Budget



Overestimated Carry-Forward

Concord, N.H. – The Union Leader reported that at yesterday’s Senate Finance hearing, Republican Senators confirmed they had ignored what Governor Hassan has been saying about DHHS for months, leading them to use inflated carry-forward numbers that rendered their budget unbalanced.
The Union Leader points out, “Department officials and Hassan had warned budget writers about a year ago the agency was facing a significant shortfall due to an increase in Medicaid caseloads not associated with the Medicaid expansion program.” But apparently Republican Senators weren’t paying attention.
Chuck Morse said, “Without knowing (the adjusted figures)… I don’t know how we can go back and rebalance this budget,” admitting that the Republican budget is unbalanced while ignoring the fact that it was Republicans who made the choice to use funds that weren’t actually available in their fiscally irresponsible proposal.