NH Budget

NHPR Staff

Preliminary numbers show New Hampshire closing the books on the 2015 budget with a $73 million surplus, far greater than what was expected.

During the budget writing phase, Gov. Maggie Hassan's office criticized lawmakers for counting on rolling nearly $50 million in surplus into the next budget.

Hassan's office says the surplus will help strengthen the state's rainy day fund and improve the state's financial outlook. She says the Legislature should consider using some of the money to address public school funding concerns.

Top N.H. Lawmakers Discuss Bipartisan Budget Deal

Sep 17, 2015
NHPR

After months of stalemate, top lawmakers and the Governor crafted a compromise that splits the difference on the contested issue of business tax cuts.  We’re talking with Statehouse leaders about this hard-won deal, how rank-and-file members reacted, and what might be next.  

GUESTS:

NHPR Staff

After nearly three months of budgetary limbo and partisan feuding, New Hampshire officially has a two-year budget in place.

Gov. Maggie Hassan and Republican lawmakers have struck a deal on the state budget after nearly three months of negotiations.The agreement is centered on cuts to the state’s business taxes – the same issue that led the governor to veto the Republican-backed budget in June.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Legislators have reached a deal with Gov. Maggie Hassan on the state budget. 

Gordon Chibroski/Portland Press Herald

On The Political Front is our occasional check-in on all things politics with NHPR's Senior Political Reporter Josh Rogers. 

Russ Matthews / https://flic.kr/p/7Uw5Ca

As New Hampshire lawmakers prepare for the next phase of the state's long-simmering budget debate, they're being urged to consider a cautionary tale from half-way across the country.

Paige Sutherland for NHPR

With legislators scheduled to take up Gov. Maggie Hassan’s budget veto in just one week, a bipartisan deal still appears elusive.

On Wednesday morning at a breakfast event at St. Anselm College in Manchester,  two top budget writers – Democratic Sen. Lou D’Allesandro and Senate Finance Chair Republican Jeanie Forrester – said the debate over the state's two-year spending plan remains stuck on whether to include business tax cuts or not.

File photos

Without a quick $1.5 million, NH parks would have lacked the money to remain open during foliage season.

Transportation officials, meanwhile, sought $3 million dollars to pay for road construction projects slated for this fall.

Both requests would mean spending beyond the cash appropriated for the six month temporary budget, which prorates spending at last year's level.

Neal Kurk, chairman of the Legislative Fiscal Committee, says spending now on state parks makes sense.

But the case for moving fast on road projects, says Kurk, is less urgent.

weeksactlegacytrail.org

A legislative panel Wednesday will consider authorizing $1.1 million in emergency funding to keep state parks open through the rest of the year.

In a letter to the Joint Legislative Fiscal Committee, head of Parks and Recreation Philip Bryce says the projected shortfall is due to the state operating under a six-month continuing resolution.

Bryce says if the money isn’t approved, the department will have to curtail operations and close parks due to lack of staffing and supplies.

THOMAS FEARON

 

The ongoing state budget stalemate means a 10-bed mental health crisis unit at New Hampshire Hospital won't open as planned this fall.

New Hampshire has been working to improve its mental health infrastructure since settling a lawsuit with the federal government in late 2013 over inadequate services. The 2014-2015 state budget included money to build the new crisis unit, but money to hire staff and operate the unit was set to be included in the 2016-2017 budget that Gov. Maggie Hassan vetoed.

NHPR Staff

New Hampshire’s budget stalemate doesn’t appear to be ending anytime soon, after Gov. Maggie Hassan swiftly rejected a proposal from Republican legislative leaders Wednesday.

The proposal would fund a pay raise for state employees.

Governor Hassan called it a step forward that Republicans were willing to fully fund the state employees contract.

“And that is something that we can agree on,” she said, “but true compromise needs to be around the central issue here, and so far they haven’t done that.”

DHHS

At a meeting Monday morning at the Sununu Youth Center in Manchester, a bipartisan group of N.H. lawmakers discussed several options of how the facility can save money due to its low enrollment. The facility currently houses 44 people but it can hold 144.

Senate and House members applauded the juvenile detention center for operating at a third of its capacity. but said it needs to better utilize its funding in order to serve more youth.

The group did; however, rule out closing the facility.

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

With the state’s budget stalemate now in its second month, the impacts of the current stopgap spending plan are starting to come into view. But because it’s been a dozen years since the state last found itself in this situation, navigating these budgetary waters is proving a challenge -- both for state agencies and for those who rely on their services.

Twitter

More than anywhere else, New Hampshire political news breaks and is debated swiftly on Twitter. That includes tweets not just from reporters, but from the politicians themselves. Of course, all of this can be followed using the hashtag #nhpolitics.

Here's how news of Gov. Maggie Hassan's budget compromise unfolded on Twitter through the day. 

Paige Sutherland for NHPR

With state budget negotiations largely stalled, Gov. Maggie Hassan presented what she called a new compromise proposal Thursday. But the plan seems to have done little to persuade Republicans to return to the negotiating table any time soon.

Planet Fitness

Gov. Maggie Hassan has vetoed a bill that would have changed the state’s business tax code. The so-called “Planet Fitness” measure was introduced by the gym franchise in May after the company’s executives threatened to leave the state if the law was not changed.

Flickr

New Hampshire substance abuse treatment advocates met in Concord Thursday for their annual meeting, where members highlight the successes of the past year. But this year's meeting was focused on the year ahead and how the current state budget debate might shape their future.

Sara Plourde / NHPR

Governor Maggie Hassan’s veto of the Republican-backed state budget bill has dominated State House news in recent weeks. But Hassan’s veto pen has seen plenty of non-budget action this session, as well.

Governor Maggie Hassan on the Budget Stalemate

Jul 13, 2015
Allegra Boverman / NHPR

In June, the Governor made good on her promise to veto a Republican-backed plan. Now, with government agencies operating under a temporary resolution, political rancor has worsened. We sit down with Governor Maggie Hassan to get her thoughts on the prospects for compromise.

On The Political Front is our weekly conversation with NHPR's Senior Political Reporter Josh Rogers. This week, a look at what's going on behind the scenes of New Hampshire's state budget battle.  

It’s now been a couple of weeks since Gov. Maggie Hassan vetoed the state budget. Very quiet weeks if the measure is true progress towards a budget deal, but very loud ones in terms of the partisan rhetoric about the budget. 

NHPR Staff

It remains to be seen whether, or when, Republican lawmakers and Governor Maggie Hassan will resolve their differences on the next two year state budget.

The House and Senate are expected to return in September to consider legislation vetoed by Governor Maggie Hassan, including two budget bills.

House Speaker Shawn Jasper says lawmakers may return earlier if the state’s budget issues are resolved, but Senate Ways and Means Chair David Boutin says a deal might not come until later in the fall, because the two sides remain far apart on several issues. 

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

 

Gov. Maggie Hassan has signed into law a $271 million capital budget that includes money for 50 new beds at the state veterans' home for dementia care and for a new Merrimack County courthouse.

It doesn't include $4 million Hassan wanted for further study of a plan to bring commuter rail from Boston into Nashua and Manchester. She says it is critical for economic development and bringing young people into the state. Opponents say the benefits are overstated and the state will need to spend money subsidizing the project.

If you’ve been wondering how the state budget battle might play out through the dog days of summer, the past week provided some insight. None of it, however, seems very promising for a smooth resolution.

Top N.H. Lawmakers Discuss State Budget Impasse

Jul 2, 2015
Sean_Marshall / Flickr / Creative Commons

Since Governor Hassan’s budget veto last week, lawmakers have called for compromise, though there’s been little action on that front. Meanwhile, as state government continues to operate under a temporary resolution, agencies are struggling with uncertainty. We sit down with leaders from both parties to discuss the way forward.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

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.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

 

The regular legislative calendar may be coming to an end, but work is far from done for New Hampshire lawmakers and Gov. Maggie Hassan.

A timeline for continuing work on the budget hasn't been finalized, but members of the Senate Finance Committee will gather Tuesday for a work session. The Joint Legislative Fiscal Committee will also meet monthly through the summer, as is standard practice, and will take on the task of approving emergency funding requests necessary with the short-term budget in place.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

The 2015 size surplus or lapse has been a point of dispute between the Governor and Republican leaders for some time.

In crafting a new two-year state spending plan, GOP budget writers plan on $49 million rolling over July 1 after the 2015 fiscal cycle comes to a close.

But Sheri Rockburn, the Chief Financial Officer of  the Department of Health and Human Services, told the fiscal committee on Friday that the state's largest department expects to overspend its current budget. This means budget writers may lack a surplus they were banking on in their proposal.

Paige Sutherland for NHPR

Now that Gov. Maggie Hassan has vetoed the Republican-backed state budget, she wants lawmakers to get right to work on a new one. But when a new two-year spending plan will be crafted is the latest matter of debate. 

Hassan Vetoes Budget

Jun 25, 2015
Paige Sutherland for NHPR

As promised, Governor Maggie Hassan has vetoed the 2016-17 budget approved by the Republican-led House and Senate. 

Related Infographic - 2015 Budget: Where the Governor and Legislature Disagree

Pages