Governor Maggie Hassan says a lot of work needs to be done to get the two-year state budget in place by June 30 because, as she sees it, the math in the Senate Finance plan just doesn't add up.
The Governor stresses that there are significant back-of-the budget cuts in the Department of Health and Human Services, including to mental health services, the Sununu Youth Services Center and in Medicaid managed care. She also criticizes what she calls a failure to account for business tax cuts in the next fiscal year – resulting in a double counting of an estimated $4 million in revenue.
The Governor also points out what she calls critical mishaps in the Department of Transportation funding by accounting for federal grants that may not be approved until October – several months after the new budget would take effect. Another sticking point is the removal of a pay raise for state employees and Medicaid expansion, which were both included in the Governor’s version of the budget.
The Governor’s Chief of Staff Pam Walsh did not go as far to say the Governor would veto the budget, but stressed the process may flow into July – past the June 30 deadline for a new budget.
“There needs to be significant changes for the Governor to support this budget. It doesn’t make the progress that we need to make for New Hampshire. There has to be compromise to get a budget that is passed by June,” she told a group of reporters Friday at the State House.
But Senate Finance Chair Jeanie Forrester refutes that there are so called “gimmicks” in the $11.3 billion budget – calling it a conservative but compassionate spending plan.
The full Senate is scheduled to vote on the plan Thursday.