Agreement Reached On So-Called "Christmas Tree" State Spending Bill

May 17, 2018

Credit Daniel S. Hurd via Flickr CC

New Hampshire House and Senate negotiators have reached agreement on a bill that would boost pay for state workers, end litigation with New Hampshire's hospitals, fix decaying bridges and fatten the state's rainy day fund.

And top lawmakers are confident the bill will win passage next week.

The $102 million dollar package pays for what negotiators considered musts: the new state employees contract and the Medicaid settlement.

But it also spends on a few pet initiatives, like recovery friendly workplaces. Governor Sununu wanted that one.

But another Sununu priority, a tax cut for first time home-buyers was scuttled. So was a push to add money for foster grandparents and to boost a housing program for low income seniors.

Kearsarge Republican Karen Umberger was the lead house negotiator on the deal, and she expects easy passage when the full legislature votes on it next week.

"You know we have got things in there that are vital. And we've got things in there that I think are great, and so I don't expect there to be any problem at all.

Lawmakers have the money to spend because of booming business tax collections. Republicans point to cuts to state taxes, but federal changes are also a major factor.