Budget

Brady Carlson / NHPR

On The Political Front is our weekly conversation with NHPR's Senior Political Reporter Josh Rogers. This week, a look at the New Hampshire primary and the state budget.

So, it’s official: the Democratic presidential primary will include more than just Hillary Clinton. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is in the race, and says he’s in it to win.

   

Senate budget writers are likely to hear pleas for a restoration of funds for people with developmental disabilities, programs for the elderly and substance abuse treatment during an upcoming budget hearing.

DavidWilson1949 via Flickr Creative Commons

The Senate Finance Committee will consider funding for the Department of Health and Human Services on Monday.

The Senate will take up the House budget, which ends funding for the state’s expanded Medicaid program, suspends ServiceLink - which connects elderly and disabled residents with funding and services - and delays a 10-bed mental health crisis unit at New Hampshire Hospital by one year.

While the House budget increased the Health and Human Services budget $110 million over the previous year, it fell $200 million short of Governor Hassan’s proposed budget.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

The New Hampshire house has passed an $11.2 billion state budget.

The proposal includes no tax and fee increases and lifts state spending by about $400 million, some $300 million dollars less than the plan proposed by Governor Maggie Hassan.

“This was an effort to look under every cushion of the sofa to look for loose change.”

Allegra Boverman / NHPR

On the Political Front, NHPR's Josh Rogers speaks with Morning Edition host Rick Ganley about the state budget going before the House this week.

The state budget, the version crafted by House budget writers, heads for a floor vote this week. House Speaker Shawn Jasper has indicated he’s ready to lock lawmakers in to get the job done. Is it going to come to that?

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

On The Political Front is our weekly conversation with NHPR's Senior Political Reporter Josh Rogers. This week, a look at the politics behind a push for an increase to the gas tax from the head of the House Finance Committee. 

The Finance Committee in the New Hampshire House hopes to finish its work on the House’s budget this week. Some of their decisions have been controversial, and there’s even been talk that mustering the votes to pass a budget in the House may be tough.

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.”

Jim Bowen / Flickr/CC

  Earlier this month, Maine’s Republican Governor Paul LePage presented his $6.3 billion, two-year budget. Along with some sweeping changes to the tax structure, LePage has proposed eliminating local aid to towns and cities.

Christopher Cousins, statehouse reporter for the Bangor Daily News joined Morning Edition.

courtesy University of New Hampshire

  The Governor’s budget proposal would fund the University System of New Hampshire with an additional thirteen million dollars which just a portion of the money the university system is asking for.

The system has stated that amount would be insufficient to maintain a freeze on in-state tuition, but they are waiting until the budget is finalized before setting rates.

Pamela Diamantis, the chair of the university system board of trustees, joined Morning Edition.

Marc Nozell / NHPR

  Governor Maggie Hassan will include a new, administrative position for state government: a Chief Operating Officer.

The position, modeled after COOs in the private sector, would improve the state’s efficiency. The idea came from a commission convened by Hassan in twenty thirteen. It released its final report last month, which says the Chief Operating Officer would oversee operations for staff and IT across state agencies.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

 

The high cost of two major lawsuits against the state are complicating the next state budget, and it's not the first time that's happened.

A settlement over mental health services will cost the state $24 million in the upcoming budget, and another suit over a hospital tax could take up to $80 million from the general fund. These costs won't be easily swallowed in an already tight budget of roughly $10.7 billion.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

New Hampshire's top health official warned lawmakers his department’s current budget has what amounts to an $82 million shortfall. The legislature’s fiscal committee meets Friday to consider a proposal by the Governor to balance the state budget by July.

As he briefed the house finance committee, Health and Human Services commissioner Nick Toumpas stressed what many lawmakers already know – that his department faces a tough balance sheet.

NHPR Staff

The new legislative session kicked off Wednesday, and by all accounts, the most pressing issue for lawmakers will be crafting a new, two year state budget.

The state is looking at potentially more than $100 million in new costs, and that’s before taking into account a possible multi-million dollar deficit in the current budget.

Republican Neal Kurk of Weare is the chairman of the House Finance Committee joined Morning Edition to talk about the task ahead for lawmakers.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

The state budget will serve as the political battleground between Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan and Republican lawmakers in the upcoming session, with state spending on universities, prisons and services for vulnerable populations at the center.

The state is facing more than $100 million in new costs driven by one settlement with hospitals over a controversial tax and another with the federal government over mental health services.

NHPR Staff

As she presented the cuts to the legislature’s joint fiscal committee, Governor Hassan told lawmakers there are two things driving New Hampshire’s growing budget shortfall.

"This is a challenge created by both tax law changes and increased demand and federal law changes in our Medicaid caseload."

These issues are familiar to budget watchers. Medicaid caseload are up – the publicity surrounding Medicaid expansion is one reason. Another are federal changes that have increased eligibility.

NHPR Staff

School's now in session for New Hampshire's newly elected state representatives, who are spending two days touring the State House and learning the ropes of legislative procedure.

New Hampshire's community colleges want $6.4 million in new money in the next budget to lower tuition by $10 per credit hour.

Brainlesssteel via Flickr CC

The University System of New Hampshire wants an additional $52 million in the next budget to maintain its tuition freeze, give more scholarships to students in science and math fields and lower tuition for some community college students.

Representatives presented this request to Gov. Maggie Hassan Thursday morning, kicking off three days of budget proposals. These requests serve as a guideline for Hassan as she begins to develop her budget that's due to the Legislature in February.

Ben McLeod / Flickr Creative Commons

State agencies are starting to present their budget requests for New Hampshire's next two-year budget to Gov. Maggie Hassan.

Brainlesssteel via Flickr CC

  Republican State Senate Leadership responded Tuesday to the University System of New Hampshire Trustees’ request to restore University funding to 2009 levels, a $16 million dollar increase between 2015 and 2016, in exchange for another two years tuition freeze.

Hassan Signs $11 Million Mental Health Package

Jul 11, 2014
Todd Bookman / NHPR

Governor Hassan has signed legislation designed to strengthen the state’s mental health system, a result of a class-action lawsuit filed in 2012.

The law allocates roughly $11 million through next fiscal year for increased community-based treatment options including supportive housing and crisis response teams. It is the first portion of a $30 million settlement agreement reached in December.

The Disabilities Rights Center and U.S. Department of Justice had sued the state in federal court over its lack of adequate care for people with mental illness.

Sean Marshall via Flickr CC

Administrative Services Commissioner Linda Hodgdon said Tuesday that May's revenues were about $3 million below estimates, mostly because $2.6 million the state thought it would get during the month came in April instead.

Hodgdon said May is a small tax collection month and can't be used to pinpoint trends. She said officials will be better able to tell if a trend is developing once tax receipts are in for June, a significant tax collection month.

Todd Bookman / NHPR

A legislative committee has approved New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan's proposal to freeze hiring, equipment purchases and out-of-state travel.

Hassan asked the Fiscal Committee Thursday to approve the freeze, as past governors have done when confronted with potential budget deficits. 

"Given the fact that revenues currently remain ahead of plan for the year, this is an unprecedented action that will help protect our budget," Hassan told lawmakers.

New Hampshire's Fiscal Year Finishes With Surplus

Oct 4, 2013

Governor Maggie Hassan says strong fiscal management by state leaders and an improving economy have boosted the state's budget surplus to $76 million for fiscal year 2013.

That figure is $19 million more than the $57 million lawmakers had anticipated.

Hassan also said Friday that a monthly forecast shows the state currently running almost $27 million ahead for the 2014 fiscal year.

The state has a $10.7 billion budget for the current, two-year cycle.

Budgetary Back And Forth

May 28, 2013

The House has rejected revenues from the Senate’s gambling bill while Senators have said no to higher taxes on gasoline and cigarettes. Meanwhile Governor Hassan says she still wants to fund her priorities but after these votes, finding that money will be difficult and cuts may in store.  We’ll examine how it might all play out. 

Guests

Many Republicans are  unhappy with the president’s newly unveiled budget, but so are some of New Hampshire’s Democrats in Congress.

Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

The state’s largest teacher’s union, the National Educators Association of New Hampshire, has come out in favor Governor Maggie Hassan’s budget, including its use of casino gambling as a source of funding.

The $11 billion budget the full House will vote on next week is likely to send $32 million less to hospitals for charity care than the Governor proposed.

Vote Here
Tracy Lee Carroll / NHPR

It’s Town Meeting time in New Hampshire.   Salem is one of the state’s biggest towns, and this is its first year moving away from the classic community get-together to the ballot box.  The town expects this change to increase voter turnout tomorrow as it considers major budget issues.

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