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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
As the New Hampshire House prepares to vote on a plan to increase the gas tax by 15 cents, the bill’s lead sponsor is working to undo the damage of an email he sent top Democrats where he called the gas tax increase “a gift that keeps on giving.”
With a new governor, a divided statehouse, and continued uncertainty over federal spending, New Hampshire lawmakers are preparing to hammer out a budget. It’s never a particularly easy process. But hopes are high at the statehouse that this session, the inevitable fiscal fights will be more muted.
In her inaugural address earlier this month, Democratic governor Maggie Hassan struck a bipartisan tone about the state’s finances.
New Hampshire towns looking to improve their environmental infrastructure – think drinking, storm-water, and wastewater projects – can go to the State to get some help paying for those projects. But since 2008 the State hasn’t been able to fund its part of the deal, and as the weather gets wilder, that could mean trouble down the road.
In 2008, the small town of Jaffrey completed construction of a brand-new wastewater treatment plant, says selectman Don MacIssac.
Second District Congressman Frank Guinta is helping champion House Republican’s new budget blueprint that Democrats say is dangerous for the nation’s poor and vulnerable. Both sides agree the new G-O-P budget paints a stark ideological contrast ahead of November’s elections. Inside Budget Chairman Paul Ryan’s new spending blueprint are cuts to Pell Grants, Medicaid, food stamps and an overhaul of welfare. The legislation also continues the G-O-P push to turn Medicare into what amounts to a voucher program, which is unpopular with many voters.
Recovering alcoholics can usually pinpoint their rock-bottom. For Michael Hagar, it was the night of July 28, 2009. That evening, he met up with some friends to drink behind the Hannaford’s supermarket in Keene.
“And that is where the whole incident took off from,” said Hagar.
Behind the grocery story, Hagar believes he drank about 18 beers. Then someone jumped him, hitting him in the face with a log. His pants and wallet were stolen. Gushing blood and enraged, he staggered into the store's parking lot.