State Budget

Hannah McCarthy for NHPR

Gov. Chris Sununu delivered his budget address Thursday, outlining his priorities as the state Legislature kicks off its biannual budget writing cycle.

NHPR's newsroom has been reporting on what to expect this budget season — you can find a rundown on that right here — and now, we're offering more context on the things Sununu mentioned in the budget address itself.

Weekly N.H. News Roundup: February 10, 2017

Feb 9, 2017

We discuss the implications for the state following Governor Chris Sununu's address outlining his two-year spending plan.  A N.H. house committee voted against passage of Right-to-Work legislation; the bill goes to the full house next week.  A paid family and medical leave bill won’t be voted on this year, despite community and bipartisan support. And a new report says Manchester's drug problem is still serious but efforts to address it are working.


NHPR Staff

Governor Chris Sununu delivers his budget proposal to lawmakers this week. It’s the first step in a months-long journey to build a two-year spending plan that will affect nearly every aspect of life in New Hampshire.

To help you prepare for the months of headlines to come, NHPR reporters are highlighting areas of the budget that are likely to generate the most discussion.

 

No one has ever called crafting a state budget easy. There are thousands of decisions and myriad competing interests. And for a new governor, there is also the crunch of getting it all done and printed a mere six weeks after taking office.

But if Gov. Chris Sununu is at all anxious about his final product, he isn’t showing it.

U.S. Navy Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Daniel Viramontes, Wikimedia Commons

Adults with developmental disabilities in New Hampshire have long struggled to find adequate support once they leave the school system. This legislative season, lawmakers will vote on a bill that would give a 2% raise to workers who care for these Granite Staters - with the aim of boosting the workforce serving this population.  

Petty Officer 2nd Class Tiarra Fulgham; Wikimedia Commons

Adults with developmental disabilities are provided government assistance, including services they used to get from the school system as children. But for years, there's been a waiting list for that help, despite political promises and attempts at reform.  We ask why the state keeps falling short for these adults and their families.

Producer's Note: Read our additional coverage of this show. 


Paige Sutherland/NHPR

Due to what he says is a projected budget shortfall, Gov. Chris Sununu is calling on state commissioners to hold off on new hiring for the next six months. 

Daniel S. Hurd via Flickr CC

 

  New Hampshire's chief accountant is resigning three years before his term ends, giving Republican Gov. Chris Sununu another key appointment in his first term.

Comptroller Gerard Murphy is leaving at the end of January when the state's comprehensive annual financial report is completed. The comptroller handles all statewide financial reporting, including monitoring state revenues, which determine how much money the state has to spend.

Murphy is taking the job of associate vice president for finance at Keene State College.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

State financial experts say New Hampshire is starting the year off in better fiscal health than expected. That’s good news for lawmakers charged with crafting the next two-year state budget.

Chris Jensen for NHPR

Citing strong state revenue numbers, Governor Maggie Hassan is calling on Republican leaders to act on a number of spending priorities. But top Republicans say much of what the governor seeks is already in the works.

Allegra Boverman / NHPR

As the sunset for New Hampshire's Medicaid expansion approaches, state legislators are debating how best, or whether, to extend the program. And while the prospect of dropping 47,000 Granite Staters who receive this coverage is daunting, some lawmakers are worried about how to fund it when federal support decreases.

After a long battle in Concord, the state’s business tax rates are now set to drop starting next year, the first such cut in more than a decade.

But the question of whether these cuts will succeed in luring new businesses to New Hampshire doesn't yet have a clear answer.

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. 

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.

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.

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.

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.

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. 

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.

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.

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

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