N.H. Senate President Says New Taxes Are Off The Table

Apr 2, 2015

After the budget cleared the House on Wednesday the Senate now has two months to work on its version.
Credit Allegra Boverman / NHPR

After the House passed its $11.2 billion dollar budget, the Senate will now have its chance to look at it.  But Senate President Chuck Morse says his chamber's version won't differ too much from the House's.

“There was a lot of good work that wen t into the budget up onto those changes were made to make the final balancing. We will take a look at the whole thing, but I’m sure there will be more we agree upon than disagree on,” he said Thursday in his office. 

Although one major difference between the two proposals, is that the Senate plans to restore money to the rainy day fund, which was completely drained in the House's plan. 

“It is very important – there are two things in the state of New Hampshire that affects bond ratings and one of them is the rainy day fund. With the fact that we are going to be releasing bonds on highways, I think it is very important that we protect that bond rating,” he said, adding that another top priority is lowering business taxes.

Moves, however, that could make it difficult to balance the state’s spending plan, with Morse stressing that any new taxes are completely off the table. The long-time casino backer also said it is unlikely that money generated by gambling will make it into the budget.

“Well I think Keno right now , the House put it in the budget with an amendment in the end, they didn't even spend it. I don’t think the Senate will be putting Keno in the budget. The House has yet to even debate the gambling bill. I support it and I think they should go through that debate and hopefully they will make that happen.” 

The Senate, Morse said, will also not being using its funds to repeal Medicaid Expansion but may consider putting back money into the renewable energy fund. 

Meanwhile Senate Democrats call the budget's cuts to social services "reckless" and are urging the Finance Committee to start from scratch. 

“It’s not often that all of my colleagues in the Senate can agree upon one thing, but  today I think we can all agree that we must set aside this reckless Republican budget that just came over from the House,” said Democrat Andrew Hosmer, who sits on the Senate Finance Committee.