NH News
4:52 pm
Thu February 28, 2013

Live Blog: Gov. Hassan On The Exchange

9:59: Gov. Hassan will be discussing her budget tonight at the the Androscoggin Valley Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting. 7 p.m., Shelburne Room, Town & Country Motor Inn, 20 State Route 2, Gorham.

9:56: Hassan asked whether she would support high tax on ammunition. Hassan says she has reached out to agencies to make sure we are treating mental health, says we need to make schools safe, need to make sure have background check system that works. Hassan does not address ammunition tax. On arming teachers, Hassan says, “If  you encourage more guns in classrooms, you put children at risk.”

9:53: Question from Jonathan from Raymond, asks about position to eliminate education tax credit program. Hassan calls them vouchers that have no accountability for the results that money would provide. “At a time when public school funding is deeply strained…I think it makes much more sense to focus on adequately funding out local public schools and charter schools rather than giving tax credit to private and religious schools.”

9:51: Call from Sarah from New Futures, asks about money in budget for alcohol substance abuse. Hassan says “We did in fact support expanding Medicaid.”  “We do need to look at preventions efforts in New Hampshire and how best to fund them…we can’t do everything we want to do in this budget.” “Our budget is focused on rebuilding our mental health system.”

9:50: Hassan says there is enthusiasm about rail from Nashua. Manchester Airport needs a public transportation link. “One of the things we want to do…is find out what the feasibility is.” Good news is that most of the money for this study is federal.

9:47: Call from Andrew in Keene, asks about public transportation, been talk about rail study. Hassan says money from rail study has been accepted, so we can look at rail from Mass to Nashua to Manchester and maybe Concord. “I think that’s a great thing.” Bigger issue is overall public transportation plan. “We should be working with regional planning commissions to develop as strong a plan as we can.”

9:45: Hassan says “We have been through this very, very tough recession.” We’re not going to be able to everything we want to do all at once, but it is critical to invest in innovation. Restores funding to higher education, we have also invested in Green Launching Pad.

9:43: On gas tax, Hassan says, "I don't think there's a consensus around any single approach in the Legislature." We need to acknowledge there is a challenge. "We need a modern and solid infrastructure." Does not take position on gas tax.

Governor Maggie Hassan on The Exchange.
Credit Sara Plourde/NHPR

9:40: Question from Ed from Hinsdale, asks about using money from DOT for other purposes, “I see roads deteriorating.” Hassan says our DOT has done a lot of work to streamline and get better. “We do have a serious infrastructure challenge.” What this budget did was given recession, we did suspend a formula that was applied to highway funding. My budget puts 15 more state troopers in communities. My budget continues to suspend formula. Going forward we need to come together and develop strategy for infrastructure funding.

9:38: Gov. Hassan: “I don’t think prohibition works for gambling any better than it works for alcohol.”

9:35: Question from email, How does Massachusetts building casinos justify building one here? Hassan says bill would only put a casino in a community that votes to accept it. “A community...is going to make judgments about trade-offs of social costs.” Says only 1 to 2 percent of those going to a casino are going to develop an addiction, but those with addiction are going to come back here to NH with those issues. “Gambling exists…and what I would like to be able to do it have the revenues to address those social costs that are here anyway.”

9:31: Hassan says putting casino near Massachusetts border is the best option, but needs to be highly regulated. Concerns about not stopping at one casino? Hassan reiterates she only wants one, “There is a market that would be advantageous from one high end highly regulated.” Don’t believe there is a market for a second casino.

9:28: Question from Pete in Epsom, supports idea of casino, curious about AG Michael Delaney objecting to proposal, will you reappoint him? Hassan says all AGs have generally raised concerns about gambling similar to law enforcement. “I think it is more appropriate to do one high-end highly-regulated casino…rather than pretend gambling doesn’t exist.” Hassan says she has a number of reappointments to make in coming months, will make decisions accordingly.

9:25: Hassan says if we don’t open our own casino in New Hampshire, Massachusetts will do it first and reap benefits. People traveling will support surrounding businesses, as well. “As governor, I won’t have any other revenues to address our needs up here” if we don’t open a casino.

9:23: Dee from Suncook asking Hassan about stability of casino revenue. Hassan says “not a surprise that in the entertainment industry, during a recession” that there was a decrease in some revenue in other states. “We have a history for the entertainment that a casino would provide, a history for supporting that kind of entertainment.”

9:20: Caller, Bob from Northwood, asks Hassan about casino revenue as net tax cut. Hassan: “What’s important to recognize here we are a low tax state we don’t income or sales tax.”  Hassan says all budgets rely on proposals yet to pass the Legislature. One example is tax increase on tobacco. Republicans have done the same thing. Need to put politics aside.

9:18: Hassan on social costs of casino: “The $80M is in licensing fees.” The study says those could be even higher. The study is “incomplete” because it doesn’t take into account social costs already because of gambling already in place or when Massachusetts will put its casinos. “The frame here is incomplete.” People support one highly-regulated casino.

9:15: Hassan on sequester: “These are serious consequences and they really do threaten our very fragile recovery.”

9:12: Hassan on sequester, “It’s of serious concern.” Impact in NH will be 6,000 jobs, or 1 percent of workforce. “Just at a time when we are recovering…this will cost us jobs and will defund critical services.” One of my concerns is president has come forward with balanced deficit reduction plan, “The other team is just saying even if it’s just closing tax loopholes,” they won’t consider it.”

9:11: Hassan says people were very concerned about the budget cuts made in the last two years. Restores much of UNH funding, they will freeze tuition for in-state students. “That makes higher education more accessible for young people and families. Biggest challenge for businesses is finding a skilled workforce; the kind of investments people encouraged me to make. Still a “very lean” budget.

9:08: “I am so fortunate to have this position. It is the best job in the world.” It’s been a great first two months. Budget “recognizes NH has come through the recession…but we’re now in a position to move forward and lead the country economically.” Must invest in critical priorities and rebuild in higher education, public safety, mental health, and health care.

8:56: One of today's big discussion topics will be the study released yesterday by the New Hampshire Center for Public Policy Studies. The report questioned Gov. Hassan's budget estimates on casino revenue.

Hassan has challenged the report's findings and stands by her figure of $80 million that is set aside in her two-year proposed budget. 

8:53: Gov. Maggie Hassan has arrived at the NHPR studio in Concord and is preparing for her interview with Laura Knoy on The Exchange at 9 a.m. Call in with your questions (800) 892-6477.