State Budget

Sara Plourde / NHPR

Every two years New Hampshire lawmakers are given the task of producing a budget for the state.  The aim is to craft one that best serves Granite State residents, spends within the state’s means as well as adheres to the party lines of those in the majority.

This session with a Democratic Governor and Republican controlled House and Senate – the budget process will fluctuate quite a bit before it is signed into law by June 30th.

Chris Jensen for NHPR

With the House having passed its $11.2 billion two-year state budget this week, it’s now up to the state Senate to come up with its own version of a spending plan.

Jeanie Forrester is a Republican from Meredith and chairs the Senate Finance Committee.

She joined Morning Edition host Rick Ganley to talk about the task ahead.

There’s a perception by some that the Senate will simply start from scratch, without any regard for what the House ended up passing. How accurate is that?

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 for NHPR

Governor Maggie Hassan joined Morning Edition Friday to talk about her reaction to the moves made Thursday by the House Finance Committee.

You’ve made clear your opposition to many of the recommendations made in the House budget. What particular proposals give you the greatest concern?

The House budget that was proposed earlier this week made unnecessary, very harmful cuts that will pull us backwards and will make it much more difficult to make the kind of economic progress we need to.

Alex1961 via Flickr CC

New Hampshire transportation officials say a $41 million budget cut proposed by House budget writers would have dire consequences on public safety and result in more than 300 layoffs.

NHPR / Josh Rogers

It’s Monday morning. NHPR’s Josh Rogers joins Morning Edition to discuss developments on NH’s political front.

Lots of political activity over the weekend Jeb Bush, Scott Walker and Ted Cruz all paying their respects to local Republicans. House budget writers busy. Let’s start with presidential politics.

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.

Dave via Flickr CC

 

Gov. Maggie Hassan says she still wants to bring a casino to NH but is a "realist."

The Governor told lawmakers her decision to fund her $11.5 billion budget with $27m from yet-to-be-legal Keno doesn’t mean she’s changed her mind about supporting a full-blown Casino.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Governor Maggie Hassan delivered her 2015 budget address to a joint session of the N.H. Legislator Thursday.

Click through the gallery above to see photos of the address. Scroll down for our live blog, the full text of her speech, as well as related links, explainers, and photographs.

Governor Maggie Hassan's 2015 Budget Address

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Governor Maggie Hassan will today present her spending plan for the next two years on Thursday. Budget writers face several key challenges this year.

Will the Governor again include a casino in her budget? Will she propose spending on commuter rail, a goal she called crucial when she was sworn in? We’ll have to wait for the speech to see. Hassan didn’t tip her hand in brief comments to reporters.

NHPR Staff

    

New Hampshire’s nursing home advocates are pushing back against a proposed $7 million cut in Medicaid reimbursement rates.

The cut is part of a plan recently unveiled by state officials to close a $58 million shortfall in the current Department Health and Human Services budget, which ends in June.

John Poirier is president and CEO of the New Hampshire Health Care Association, which represents more than 90 nursing homes and assisted living centers across the state.

He joins Morning Edition to talk about his concerns with the plan.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Health and Human Services commissioner Nick Toumpas told lawmakers he will make up most of the $58 million hole in his budget through $45 million in cuts and savings, including trims for community health centers and family planning programs.

But the issue rankling lawmakers the most is $7 million of payment cuts to nursing homes.

Toumpas told the legislature’s fiscal committee those cuts were a tough call.

“I just had not a whole lot of options, in terms of what we needed to do.”

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.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

The state budget is facing a $30 million dollar shortfall, according to the Legislative Budget Office. Legislative budget assistant Jeff Pattison briefed lawmakers today. He stressed that the number could grow or shrink between now and the end of the fiscal year.

“We are looking at about a 30 million dollar problem, but that’s as of January 14th. There are a lot of things that are going to be happening between now and June 30th. My expectation is these numbers will still be changing when we get to the committee of conference in June.”

N.H. Legislative Roundup: A Look Ahead To 2015

Jan 5, 2015
ahlasny / Flickr/CC

We sit down with New Hampshire House and Senate leaders to talk about what might be in store this new session. 2015 is a budget year, so expect state spending and revenues to take center stage.  And beyond that, we'll talk about a few of the 800 bill requests have been filed so far, on topics ranging from voter registration to restrictions on drones. 

GUESTS:

Jon Ovington

A bill proposed in the state legislature would end Medicaid payments for circumcisions.

The bill’s sponsor, state representative Keith Murphy of Bedford, describes the practice as unethical.

"To me there’s something fundamentally wrong about strapping a baby boy to a board and amputating perfectly healthy, normal tissue," says Murphy.

Murphy adds trimming circumcisions from the state budget will save money, although how much will be determined by the legislature next year.

NHPR Staff

As she presented the cuts to the legislature’s joint fiscal committee, Governor Hassan told lawmakers there are two things driving New Hampshire’s growing budget shortfall.

"This is a challenge created by both tax law changes and increased demand and federal law changes in our Medicaid caseload."

These issues are familiar to budget watchers. Medicaid caseload are up – the publicity surrounding Medicaid expansion is one reason. Another are federal changes that have increased eligibility.

In a debate Thursday morning on WGIR, Governor Maggie Hassan repeatedly went after Republican Walt Havenstein for a pledge he signed earlier this year with the conservative group Americans for Prosperity.

“By singing that Koch brothers pledge, he is pledging to undo our Medicaid expansion, he’s pledging no matter what to do what the Koch brothers and Americans for Prosperity tell him to do.”

NHPR Staff

Governor Maggie Hassan says the state finished the last fiscal year with a $19.5 million surplus.

It was the first year of the state’s two-year, $10.7 billion budget.

Hassan says meals and rooms and real estate transfer tax remained strong, though cautioned revenue shortfalls from business taxes and the interest and dividends tax have put a strain on the state’s budget.

In addition, Hassan says the state Department of Health and Human Services has seen caseload growth larger than anticipated.

Ryan Szepan / Flickr Creative Commons

Governor Maggie Hassan issued an Executive Order Wednesday that would freeze state hiring and purchasing, as well as out-of-state travel. The governor says the freeze is needed following a dramatic drop in revenue last month. 

Gov. Hassan says April education and general fund revenues fell short by almost $22 million.  Prior to that, the state had been running a roughly $25 million surplus.  She says the shortfall has lowered the state’s cushion to just below $4 million.

NHPR's Senior Political Reporter Josh Rogers joins Morning Edition host Rick Ganley to talk about the state's $76 million surplus and what it means for Governor Maggie Hassan politically.  Rogers also touches on the government shutdown and the reactions among members of New Hampshire's Congressional delegation.

Domestic violence programs in New Hampshire are turning away some of the people coming to them for help each year.  This follows a series of state and federal budget cuts.  

Before going into recess, lawmakers in Concord will vote this week on the state budget and other deals reached during committees of conference, including Voter ID and medical marijuana. The Democratically-controlled House and the GOP-controlled Senate have been at odds over a number of policy issues, but areas of disagreement over the budget were smaller than possibly expected, with the final budget including provisions sought by both chambers and Governor Hassan.

Ben McLeod / Flickr Creative Commons

State budget negotiators reached accord today on a $10.7 billion spending plan.

The budget still needs approval from the full legislature, but leaders in the House and Senate, as well as Governor Maggie Hassan, agree the proposal meets many shared goals.

NHPR's Josh Rogers tells All Things Considered host Brady Carlson about the negotiation process, what's in the final budget deal and its chances when it goes before the full House and Senate next week.

It's committee season at the State House, as the legislative year nears its end. In the next couple of weeks, the budget will be getting the most attention, with some contention over Medicaid expansion, school building aid, charter schools, and personnel cuts. Other bills to watch for include medical marijuana and voter ID. US Senator Kelly Ayotte announces she supports a bipartisan immigration bill.

The NH Senate will be voting on its budget this Thursday; their plan calls for $10.7 billion in spending over two years, coming just under the House's budget, which calls for $11b, but doing it with large policy differences. One of those differences is Medicaid expansion, which the Governor and House favor. Looking forward to the 2014 US Senate election, in which incumbent Jeanne Shaheen is expected to run for re-election, Jim Rubens has been added to the list of possible Republican contenders, along with Jeb Bradley, Frank Guinta, and Scott Brown.

NHNewsRoundup

The Republican-led State Senate gets closer to a final budget, while carving out a deeper divide with House Democrats.   Also, new challenges for President Obama’s Affordable Care Act in the Granite State.  And a makeover for the Hooksett I-93 rest areas as a well-known New Hampshire restaurateur gets the bid.

 

Guests:

Norma Love, Statehouse reporter for The Associated Press.
 

Josh Rogers, NHPR’s statehouse reporter, and senior political reporter and editor.

Budgetary Back And Forth

May 28, 2013

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. 

Guests

The New Hampshire House makes its first key vote as the casino bill is voted on by a supercommittee comprised of the House Finance and Ways & Means Committees; various amendments will be considered on Tuesday, with a committee vote and recommendation coming Wednesday. The New Hampshire Senate, meanwhile, continues to work on its budget, and the Senate Finance Committee prepares to hear from some of the larger state agencies - Health & Human Services, Transportation, and Environmental Services - on their budget needs.

Sara Plourde

Today on The Exchange, it's our Friday New Hampshire News Roundup. We're looking at some of the top stories of the week, from the one public hearing held on the state Senate's budget, to the House's hard look at the Senate casino bill, and the removal of "grow your own" policy from the medical marijuana bill.

Guests:

Kevin Landrigan - Longtime political reporter for the Telegraph of Nashua.

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