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Entries in NH Budget (155)


NHDP - ALL of the Out-of-Touch, Koch-Backed Republican Federal Candidates Oppose Extending Health Insurance

NHGOP Recruits for Senate, Congress Running on “Repeal” Agenda, Aligned with Third Party Special Interests

Concord, NH—Last week, as Governor Maggie Hassan signed a law that will give 50,000 New Hampshire families access to health insurance, ALL of New Hampshire’s Republican candidates for federal office continued to stand in fierce opposition to Medicaid Expansion, even while a majority of the Republican caucus in the State House supported the measure. By opposing Medicaid Expansion, Republican candidates Scott Brown, Frank Guinta, Dan Innis, Marilinda Garcia, and Gary Lambert continue to prove they are members of the Republican establishment who havedrank the Kool-Aid, running on a Koch-Rove agenda at the expense of New Hampshire’s families.
 “Frankly, it’s no surprise that all of the New Hampshire Republican Party’s candidates—Brown, Guinta, Innis, Garcia, and Lambert—are opposing a bipartisan, commonsense initiative that will expand health coverage to 50,000 more families in our state,” said New Hampshire Democratic Party Communications Director Julie McClain. “This was an important compromise made between both parties in the New Hampshire Legislature and Governor Hassan to ensure that tens of thousands of families will no longer have to choose between getting the care they need and going bankrupt. New Hampshire families deserve representatives that put their concerns before the third party special interests spending millions of dollars to get their candidates elected so they can represent Big Oil and Wall Street.”
Republican Senate President Chuck Morse praised the bipartisan Medicaid Expansion compromise as “a New Hampshire solution.”  The New Hampshire Business and Industry Association announced support for expansion, citing that “health care providers aren’t reimbursed for treating uninsured patients, which ultimately impacts the amount cost-shifted onto other payers, such as businesses and their employees.”  The state senate passed expansion with broad bipartisan support including the more than half of the Republican caucus. And Republicans Fergus Cullen and Rep. Herb Richardson have publicly stated that they have benefitted from the Affordable Care Act, the latter even interrupting Brown’s speech in his home to tell him that the ACA has been a “financial lifesaver.”

NH Senate Republicans - Fleet Reform saves taxpayers a million miles a year

The New Hampshire Senate

Republican Majority Office

Bragdon and Senate GOP pushed for accountability over state cars


Concord, NH – Sen. Peter Bragdon (R-Milford) today congratulated state officials for cutting personal use of state vehicles by over a million miles a year. Bragdon was lead sponsor of legislation requiring more accountability by state departments in the non-business use of the state fleet, and reassignment of vehicles that had too many personal miles.

“For too long, New Hampshire government let managers drive state cars as a perk of their office,” Bragdon said. “By forcing agencies to account for how the state fleet is operating, we can better manage our resources, and make sure state cars are being driven for state business.”

Bragdon’s bill, SB 402, which passed overwhelmingly in 2010, requires state agencies to track personal use of state vehicles, such as when an employee uses a state car to commute from home to work. Vehicles that exceed 20% non-business use are sold or redistributed within the state fleet, unless the Department receives a waiver from the Governor and Legislative Fiscal Committee to keep the vehicle. The latest report submitted by the Department of Administrative Service show a reduction in non-business travel of 1,098,862 miles in just two years, cutting out personal use by 2/3rds.

The Department of Administrative Services estimates that the state fleet costs an average of $.55 per mile to operate, meaning that Bragdon’s bill is saving New Hampshire taxpayers over a half million dollars every year across state government.

“On rare occasions, letting a state employee drive a state car home for the night actually saves taxpayers money, but that should be the exception instead of the rule. And there’s no reason to give out state cars as perks to managers and department heads,” Bragdon explained. “We’ve reduced this personal use of state vehicles by 2/3rds in just two years, which shows that there are real savings in the state budget if we pay attention to the details.”


NHDP - ICYMI - Keene Sentinel Editorial: Expand Medicaid 

Key Point: "A bipartisan panel was charged with exploring the issue and finding the best way forward for the state. A week ago, it made its recommendations, which include expanding Medicaid... Sen. Andy Sanborn, R-Bedford, who served on the panel, and Senate President Chuck Morse, R-Salem, were quick to make it clear that despite the overwhelming vote on the panel to support the recommendations (a 6-2 original vote on the plan and a 9-0 vote to forward the 115-page report to the governor), the GOP-led Senate will continue to be an obstacle. If so, that’s a shame."

Keene Sentinel Editorial: Expand Medicaid

Tuesday, October 22, 2013
The cost of health care is one of the biggest challenges in our society, and one we must meet.
As is often pointed out, excellent care is available in the United States — perhaps among the best in the world. But that care comes with an ever-increasing cost, and the ranks of those unable to afford it have been growing steadily for years.
The Affordable Care Act is an attempt to deal with a situation that has reached crisis stage. It’s not perfect, but it’s a move in the right direction. Expanding the availability of Medicaid — the federal/state partnership that provides medical coverage to the poorest Americans — is part of that plan. It ensures fewer Granite Staters will be lost in the shuffle as the health care delivery system and how we pay for it evolves.
Last spring, the Legislature examined and debated whether to accept the health care act’s measure for expanding Medicaid in New Hampshire. The House passed a plan to expand the system to those making up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level, a move that would help insure an additional 58,000 or so of the state’s residents. The Senate balked, seeking assurance the state government won’t be left on the hook for the expanded costs of that move.

A bipartisan panel was charged with exploring the issue and finding the best way forward for the state.
A week ago, it made its recommendations, which include expanding Medicaid, but including a trigger that would back us out of that expansion should Congress not provide the promised federal funds to cover the cost. It also suggests those who could apply for Medicaid, but also have coverage available through their employer, be mandated to go with the private insurance.

These recommendations weren’t a surprise; the panel had taken a public vote on them a few weeks ago. Thus, when they were formally announced, politicians and interested parties on both sides had their arguments already lined up. Sen. Andy Sanborn, R-Bedford, who served on the panel, and Senate President Chuck Morse, R-Salem, were quick to make it clear that despite the overwhelming vote on the panel to support the recommendations (a 6-2 original vote on the plan and a 9-0 vote to forward the 115-page report to the governor), the GOP-led Senate will continue to be an obstacle.
If so, that’s a shame. The cost issue the Senate has made its central talking point on the expansion should be a nonstarter. The health care act calls for the federal government to pay all the costs of increasing Medicaid coverage for three years, and 90 percent of the costs after that. Ideally, within that three-year period enough progress will have been made in overhauling the health care system that those 58,000 people won’t need to be on Medicaid. If not, that 10 percent the state would pay will be substantially offset by the reduced costs for uncompensated care and other services the state and local governments provide to those who are now uninsured.
Plus, the Affordable Care Act’s approach is more based on preventive measures than current practices, meaning overall health costs should decline over time. That’s the true goal of health care reform, and our Legislature ought to support it.

Josiah Bartlett Center - Sweden, NH Unemployment, and NHOpenGov

Weekly Update from the
Josiah Bartlett Center

Keeping you up to date on our latest research
on the issues impacting New Hampshire

On Economic Stimulus, Sweden Sets a Good Example

Both the state and the country can better focus their efforts on budgets and economic development by following the example and the reasoning of that bastion of conservative economics called Sweden.

In the face of economic crisis, advocates of what they call “stimulus” suggest it is the only alternative to the horrible-sounding “austerity” — as if our only two choices are to give ourselves completely to bureaucrats and administrators to spend as they wish or to subsist on bread and water.... Click here to keep reading.

NH Unemployment Holds at 5.1% in July

Underlying Weaknesses Remain

The unemployment rate for New Hampshire was 5.1% for the month of July, remaining unchanged from June. According to the Household Survey, the number of employed residents fell by 390, the number of unemployed fell by 460, while the labor force has contracted by 850. This contraction in the labor force is represented in the .1 percentage point drop in the labor force participation rate to 65.7% from 65.8% the month prior.  Click here to keep reading.

Curious where your Tax Dollars Go?
NHOpenGov is the Center's government transparency project detailing every last transaction made by the state since 2008. We update our data on a regular basis and have more than 3.5 million transactions in our database. Help us to find government waste! Click here to start looking.

Senate and House Republicans Discuss State Budget with Voters

The New Hampshire Senate

Republican Majority Office

Roundtable events in Franklin and Manchester focus on nuts and bolts of the spending plan

Manchester, NH – Senate and House budget writers today met with residents of Franklin and Manchester in roundtable style events to discuss the details of the state’s budget.

Facilitated by Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley (R-Wolfeboro) and featuring Senate budget writers Chuck Morse (R-Salem) and Jeanie Forrester (R-Meredith), as well as House Finance Committee members Ken Weyler (R-Kingston) and Lynn Ober (R-Hudson), the events were an opportunity for legislators to tout the budget’s successes while taking questions from an audience of local residents and area business owners.

The lawmakers noted the final budget was “very similar” to the budget recommended by the Senate Finance Committee.  The budget did not include tax or fee increases and restrained growth to a modest three percent over the next two years.

“We knew this budget would be difficult to build,” said Sen. Morse, “though the economy has shown some signs of improvement, we knew it was not time to count on unrealistic new sources of revenue from tax increases or a booming economy.  At the same time, we heard from the voters that we needed to invest in some important areas, which is why you saw the Senate budget increase funding to the University and Community College Systems by $100 million, and increase support to critical safety net programs like CHINS and others in the Department of Health and Human Services.”

Today’s events were hosted by Franklin Mayor Ken Merrifield and Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas.  Similar roundtable events are being developed for other areas of the state over the next several months.