N.H. House Budget Writers Slash H.H.S. Funding

Mar 17, 2015

Credit Allegra Boverman / NHPR

The Department of Health and Human Services is warning House budget writers against cutting $160 million from the Governor’s proposed budget.

So far the House Finance Committee is proposing roughly $117 million less from the H.H.S budget. Meanwhile a proposal to cut more than $28 million from the state’s mental health services remains on the table.

Deputy Commissioner of the department Marilee Nihan tells the committee these cuts are “aggressive.”

“The actions you have taken  yesterday as well as this morning will absolutely devastate the Medicaid program.” Nihan said Tuesday.

Items that have been slashed include a $6 million dollar increase to drug and alcohol prevention programs, eliminating Servicelink which aligns elderly residents with service providers and a $20 million cut to nursing homes.

The House Finance Committee also voted to cut funding emergency shelters by half but voted down a proposal to cut almost $18 million in developmental services.

But Chairman Neal Kurk, a Republican from Weare, said he is “not proposing these cuts lightly” and that they are needed to balance the budget.  

Governor Maggie Hassan issued a statement criticizing the cuts, saying they will downshift costs to cities and towns.