As of Wednesday, New Hampshire is now living under a six-month temporary state spending plan based on the last budget’s funding levels.
That means some agencies that were guaranteed increased funding in the 2016-2017 budget plan will be in flux until a new plan is crafted. That includes additional money for substance abuse treatment, a 10-bed crisis unit at New Hampshire Hospital and increased funds for winter road maintenance.
The last time a state budget was vetoed was 2003, by then Gov. Craig Benson, but the so-called "continuing resolution" that year was based on the coming year’s proposed budget -- not the past year’s funding levels. What the continuation of last budget's spending levels means for state programs and services is still unclear, says Commissioner of Administrative Services Vicki Quiram.
“You know, we have had a lot of people ask us a lot of different questions, and we are not aware yet of what the bigger concerns are and the smaller concerns are. We are just going to have to deal with them as they come in,” Quiram said at the State House Tuesday.
One key stumbling block in crafting a new budget is whether lawmakers will have a $49 million surplus from last year to work with. Republicans relied on that additional money to fund their version of the budget.
But lawmakers say that whether that amount will be there won't be known until September – meaning they’ll have to wait until then to do any serious work on a new plan.