The New Hampshire House Finance Committee held its first public hearing on the budget Thursday night at the State House. And several members of the public spoke out in defense of state-funded programs ranging from legal assistance to mental health.
One after another, people approached the microphone, in most cases to tell lawmakers which state-funded programs matter most to them.
One such story came from Kristin Sarette of Plymouth.
“About three and a half years ago, I thought I was gonna die on the street with a needle in my arm…”
Sarette credits her sobriety to the Phoenix House in Franklin which receives state money for drug abuse prevention.
Arthur Beaudry is a Manchester school board member and the President of the New Hampshire State Permanent Firefighters Retirement Association. He was among the many who asked the committee to consider raising the cost of living adjustment for state pensioners.
“Very simple math will show you that in a matter of a few years, most pensioners will be forced into some kind of social services because their pensions will be devoured by inflation.”
Funding for other programs such as Domestic Violence Services, Developmental Disability and New Hampshire Legal Assistance were among the most popular topics of the night.
Additional hearings will also be held in Whitefield and Nashua on Monday the 11th and in Claremont and Rochester on Monday the 18th.