Senate Finance Approves State Budget Proposal

May 28, 2015

The Senate Finance Committee on Thursday approved along party lines its $11.3 billion state spending plan. The 2-year budget now heads to the Senate floor next Thursday.

The Senate proposal is a $99 million increase over the House budget but $66 million less than what the Governor proposed.

The plan increases funding cut in the House version for social services including substance abuse treatment, elderly care and developmental services.

Finance Chair Jeanie Forrester calls the budget a compassionate one. “We were very thoughtful in putting this budget together, and as I’ve said we didn’t just listen we acted,” she said after the vote.

The plan also puts back $20 million in the state’s rainy day fund and almost fully restores the renewable energy fund, which were both cut in the House version.

It also includes business tax cuts, which will result in an estimated $14 million revenue loss over the 2-year budget. Governor Maggie Hassan says she has “serious concerns” about this spending plan– describing it as unbalanced, filled with gimmicks and pro-big business.

But Forrester strongly refutes this – adding that keeping businesses in the state is vital to funding the programs residents need.

The proposal also does not include Medicaid expansion nor a state employee pay raise, which were included in the Governor’s version. A final version must be signed by the Governor by June 30th.