NH Budget

Josh Rogers, NHPR

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.”

Mayor Gatsas presents his budget proposal to aldermen and department heads
Jonathan Lynch / NHPR

Mayor Gatsas unveiled his budget for fiscal year 2014, which raises taxes and allots more funding to schools.

Gatsas' budget pushes for the maximum amount of new revenue allowed under the city's tax cap. That's just more than a two-percent increase.

The bulk of new revenue would go towards bolstering the city's school system, which has experienced layoffs and overcrowding in recent years.

Gatsas was optimistic that the budget could be hammered out before the city's June deadline, but acknowledged it would be a difficult process:

Yesterday, Governor Maggie Hassan presented her priorities for state spending. It was a long list that included more funding for mental health, higher education, state troopers and a new women’s prison.  On the funding side – Hassan proposed a higher tobacco tax and Casino Gambling. But not everyone agrees that the numbers add up.  We’ll look at the details and where the budget battles go from here.  

Guests

Emily Corwin / NHPR

The governor’s budget address is the starting point for the months of wrangling and compromises that will eventually determine where the state will spend its money.

In the budget released today Governor Hassan spelled out her priorities in key areas like education, healthcare and infrastructure.

On Education

Restoring cuts to the state’s public universities was a centerpiece of Maggie Hassan’s campaign for governor, and Education was at the center of her speech.

Hassan Makes Pitch For Raising Cigarette Tax

Feb 14, 2013
Cigarette
SuperFantastic / Flickr Creative Commons

Governor Maggie Hassan is looking to raise New Hampshire’s cigarette tax.  In her state budget address, she pitched a  30-cent increase as good public health policy.

“New Hampshire has the highest youth smoking rate in the Northeast, with 19.8 percent of high school students who smoke cigarettes," Hassan said.  "Cigarette taxes nationwide have proven to be one of the most effective ways to prevent youth smoking.”

She also said it will raise $40 million in revenue without compromising cross-border sales.

Governor Hassan’s is proposing the state restore funding to Environmental groups’ first priority: the Land and Community Heritage Investment Program. The $4 million dollars a year for LCHIP comes from fees tacked generated by certain real-estate transactions. It’s supposed to go into a dedicated fund used to put land and historic building into preservation.

Hassan Makes Case For Casino In Budget Address

Feb 14, 2013
Double Spin 5 Times Pay $1 Slot Machine
Frank Bonilla / Flickr Creative Commons

Governor Maggie Hassan used her budget address to propose a new, high-end casino. 

Governor Hassan’s budget banks on this casino generating $80 million in licensing fees.  And she said the state is already dealing with the social costs of gambling allowed in other states, without benefiting from the revenue.

Governor, Legislature Prepare To Hammer Out Budget

Jan 17, 2013
Emily Corwin / NHPR

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.

N.H. Treasurer Urges $125M Capital Budget Limit

Jan 8, 2013

New Hampshire's treasurer is urging lawmakers to limit borrowing for public works projects supported by state taxes in the next capital budget to $125 million.

State department heads will spend the coming weeks working to meet Governor-elect Maggie Hassan’s mandate to cut spending by 3 percent next year.

The Department of Health and Human Services is asking for $321 million more to cover their programs for the next two years.   

Kyle Todesca, UNH

The University System of New Hampshire is asking lawmakers for $100 million dollars in annual state funding.

That’s more than twice what they were given in the previous budget.

Heads of the various state departments, and the presidents of the state’s universities went before budget writers today to present their initial requests for state funds.

Chancellor of the University System, Ed McKay, says he is cautiously optimistic that governor elect Maggie Hassan will make restoring the cuts from the last budget a priority.

Emily Corwin / NHPR

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Maggie Hassan says she will create a panel of lawmakers, state agencies and economists to build consensus around budget numbers. 

It would be called the Consensus Revenue Estimating Panel, Gubernatorial candidate Maggie Hassan told members of the Portsmouth Rotary Club on Thursday.  During her lunchtime address at  the Portsmouth Country Club, Hassan said the panel will help provide lawmakers with accurate budget numbers that they can agree on.

Ovide Lamontagne Outlines Campaign for Governor

Aug 14, 2012
Portrait of Republican candidate for state  governor, Ovide Lamontagne
courtesy of the candidate

Republican candidate for governor, Ovide Lamontagne, came on NHPR’s ‘The Exchange’ today to discuss his campaign.

Lamontagne says his campaign is focused on the economy and jobs. He wants to loosen regulations on local business and support free enterprise.

He also says he would develop a ‘zero-base’ or ‘prospective’ budget versus New Hampshire’s current ‘maintenance’-style budget.

Flikr Creative Commons / blmurch

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.

The most recent State budget slashed funding for legal services for the poor. Last week, the House passed a bill that would put even more aid at risk.

The legislation would change how something called IOLTA works.

IOLTA stands for ‘Interest on Lawyers Trust Accounts’.

When a client hands money over to a lawyer for a short period of time, say, while a real estate deal is being closed, the lawyer puts the money into a pooled account. That account earns interest.

Guinta Touts GOP Budget

Mar 20, 2012

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.

New Hampshire has a long history of frugality.  And with the current crop of spending hawks in the legislature, that sense of thrift has only intensified.

But you’ll have a hard time if you want to keep tabs on state spending online.

Charting NH's Incredible Shrinking Government

Mar 14, 2012
Catherine Idsae

Two hallmarks of Republican legislative leadership these past couple of sessions have been a commitment to small government and the use of deep cuts to state government to bridge budget gaps.

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.

How State Budget Cuts Affect Your Property Taxes

Feb 14, 2012

A new report finds that Granite State communities are leaning more and more heavily on property taxes. Examining data from 2007–2010, the New Hampshire Center for Public Policy Studies found:

A Year of Big Changes for the State Budget

Dec 26, 2011
Dan Gorenstein, NHPR

In looking back at the big New Hampshire news stories of 2011, perhaps none touch as many facets of the state as the new two year budget.

Reporter Dan Gorenstein spent much of the year following the budget process and the issues arising from it. He tells All Things Considered host Brady Carlson about what's in the budget and what it means for New Hampshire.

Dennis Delay / New Hampshire Center For Public Policy Studies

Yesterday, StateImpact liveblogged the Joint Economic Session.  Members of the House and Senate Finance and Ways and Means Committees gathered for hours to hear economists offer projections on where the global, national, and state economies are headed in 2012.

On first glance, New Hampshire’s November revenue numbers look terrible.

For the month, the state is $57 million dollars in the hole.

But NHPR’s Dan Gorenstein reports, there may be room for optimism.

You’d think, given November’s shortfall, Administrative Services Commissioner Linda Hodgdon would be alarmed.

But Hodgdon, the head of what is effectively the state’s finance office, is actually pretty bullish about last month’s report.

A minor bill to make technical corrections to the budget has caused a rift between Senate and House Republican leadership. The Senate President says the House’s actions yesterday will cost taxpayers several million dollars.

On Wednesday House lawmakers approved a bill that reduces the number of people of eligible for welfare assistance.

The change would save the state about a half a million dollars a month.

The Senate was on board with that move.

But then the House added a completely unrelated amendment, which puts the bill in limbo.

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