Town of Derry

Deep budget cuts are causing controversy in the town of Derry.

At a meeting last month, the town council voted 4-3 to close one of the town’s fire stations. The budget also eliminates eight firefighter positions and cuts the department’s overtime budget by nearly half a million dollars.

Those opposed to the cuts are raising concerns about the impact on public safety.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

It will be a busy week at the State House with the Senate having its chance to weigh in on the state budget. 

After weeks of sorting through the numbers, the Senate Finance Committee has sent its $11.3 billion version of the budget to the Senate floor Thursday – where it is expected to pass.

The Republican-backed plan restores funding to developmental services, elderly care and substance abuse treatment that was cut in the House version. It also puts back money in the state’s rainy day fund as well as the renewable energy fund.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Governor Maggie Hassan says a lot of work needs to be done to get the two-year state budget in place by June 30 because, as she sees it, the math in the Senate Finance plan just doesn't add up. 

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.

Paige Sutherland for NHPR

One day after Planet Fitness announced it was going public, the New Hampshire-based gym tells legislators it might not be able to afford to stay in the state.

Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley introduced a measure Wednesday hoping to keep the company here, by exempting businesses from being taxed on the share they sell to a corporate partner once they go public.

Currently 200 corporate jobs would be lost if the company moved headquarters. The company, which began in Dover in 1992, has more than 950 locations nationwide.

Paige Sutherland for NHPR

The Senate Finance Committee is finalizing its version of the budget this week.

So far the Senate budget plan spends roughly $65 million dollars less than what the Governor proposed but $93 million more than what passed in the House last month.

That is after the Ways and Means Committee estimated $118 million more revenue over the next biennium than what the House had to work with.

The current plan restores funding cut in the House version including money for developmental disability services, elderly care and substance abuse treatment.

New Hampshire Senate budget writers have voted along party lines to cut business taxes starting in 2017. 

Currently the state’s Business Profit Tax (BPT) stands at 8.5 % and the Business Enterprise Tax (BET) at .75 %. Together the two taxes make up the largest source of state revenues.

Under this measure those would drop every year until 2019 when the BPT would be 7.9 % and the BET would be .675 %. These cuts were originally intended to take effect starting in 2016.

Senate budget writers have rejected a $250,000 annual boost in funding for Crotched Mountain,  a rehab center in Greenfield, N.H.

The Governor included the funding in her budget. Currently, 40 people are being treated at Crotched Mountain. 

Senate Finance Chair Jeanie Forrester told her colleagues Tuesday the state’s Health and Human Commissioner did not support the additional funding, adding that it would be cheaper for the state if residents accessed these services elsewhere.

Sheryl Rich-Kern

As lawmakers in Concord continue to work through the budget process, funding for the Meals on Wheels program has been in the middle of the House and Senate’s differences.

The House budget included a 50 percent reduction to payments that in part fund the program.  Last week the Senate’s fiscal committee restored $10 million in funding for in-home services, including Meals on Wheels.  But it’s far from a done deal—the full Senate has yet to vote on it and lawmakers have until the end of June to approve a budget.

Paige Sutherland for NHPR

On Wednesday the Senate Finance Committee restored millions of dollars for elderly services, the developmentally disabled and substance abuse treatment that was cut by the House.

This includes $23 million for developmental services, $2.9 million for substance abuse treatment and $4 million for emergency shelters. However, these numbers are less than what the Governor proposed in her version. 

Paige Sutherland for NHPR

Senate budget writers are trying to make good on a promise to fully restore dedicated funds aimed to promote renewable energy.

Last week Senate budget writers fully restored the $50 million the House raided from the renewable energy fund but Wednesday voted to redirect $1.5 million towards homeland security.

Democrat Hosmer of Laconia said the move contradicts the Senate’s stated position on dedicated funds.  

Allegra Boverman / NHPR


Senate budget writers are putting the final touches on their version of New Hampshire's next 2-year budget.

The Senate Ways and Means Committee meets Tuesday to finalize revenue projections for the next biennium. Those numbers will determine how much more money Senate budget writers have to spend than their House counterparts, who finalized their own $11.2 billion budget in April.


Money to promote New Hampshire as a tourist destination remains in limbo as lawmakers put together a budget for the next two years.

Under state law, a percentage of the state's rooms and meals tax goes to the state Division of Travel and Tourism for marketing. But the House budget would suspend that law and allocate $1 million a year, compared the $4.7 million in Gov. Maggie Hassan's proposal.

Paige Sutherland for NHPR

Hundreds of New Hampshire residents turned out Tuesday to weigh in on the State budget, with more than 400 people signed up to testify during the hearing.

While waiting their turn activists filled the chamber and hallways wearing shirts that read  “addiction kills” or printed stickers with “people can’t wait.”The hearing went well into the night with 30 people left to speak around 11 p.m.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR


Senators are opening the budget process to members of the public who want to give testimony on what should and shouldn't be included in the next 2-year spending plan for New Hampshire.

People can testify before the Senate Finance Committee during two public hearings Tuesday, starting at 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. Both will be held in Representatives' Hall at the State House in Concord.

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.

New Hampshire Senate
Allegra Boverman / NHPR


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.