State Budget

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

Sara Plourde / NHPR

The House and Senate have officially passed a budget for the next two years – a plan that Governor Maggie Hassan promises to veto. Here’s a breakdown of how the governor’s budget proposal compares with the Legislature’s on a few of the major policy and funding points.

NHPR Staff

Funding for public higher education is a core issue in the budget battle now being waged between the Governor and the Legislature. Meanwhile, budget woes are brewing on the state's community college campuses, too, where students, faculty, and senior administrators don’t agree on how to balance the books.

NHPR Staff

House and Senate leaders say they’re crafting a bill that would fund state government beyond July 1, when the current budget expires.

Sara Plourde / NHPR; Data: Legislative Budget Assistant

A show-down over budget politics is brewing between New Hampshire’s Democratic Governor and Republican controlled Legislature.

Renewable energy advocates hope they can use it as an opportunity to convince budget writers to reconsider funneling money away from renewable incentives to fund the Department of Homeland Security.

Jennifer Cochran / Flickr/Creative Commons

Amherst Public Works Director Bruce Berry was a happy man last spring when Gov. Maggie Hassan signed the first increase to the state’s gas tax in more than 20 years.

The legislation promised to double the money the state doles out to repair municipally owned bridges, from $6.8 million a year to $13.6 million. At the time, Amherst had three bridges “red-listed” as structurally deficient, including one on Manchester Road that had been closed for 18 months.

Paige Sutherland for NHPR

After a stretch of long days at the State House and a threat of a veto from the governor, Senate and House budget writers signed off on a two-year spending plan Thursday afternoon.

The $11.3 billion Republican-backed budget passed without any of the significant changes Gov. Maggie Hassan called for earlier that morning.

Paige Sutherland for NHPR

Governor Maggie Hassan’s promise to veto the state budget unless Republican leaders remove or offset proposed business tax cuts is drawing support from Democrats and galvanizing GOP opposition.  It also suggests the budget impasse may not be resolved for months.

Sara Plourde / NHPR

Negotiators in the House and Senate agreed to a compromise version of the next two-year budget earlier this week. Here's a summary of how the deal was reached.

Jack Rodolico

As the next state budget takes shape, Gov. Maggie Hassan and legislative leaders have been debating how to fund New Hampshire's mental health system. The state spends more than $100 million each year providing these services, and one word sums up the sentiment in the mental health community right now: uncertainty.

  Case in point, a construction site at New Hampshire Hospital.

Two proposed changes to the the state's education funding formula have been passed by the two chambers of the New Hampshire Legislature. Both seek to increase or lift altogether the state's cap on growth in per-pupil spending. And both would pay for such it by reducing so-called "stabilization grants," created in 2011 to keep certain school districts from losing huge amounts of funding after the last round of changes to the base aid formula.

Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR; Data: SAUs 28, 30 & 62; Legislative Budget Assistant
NHPR Staff

New Hampshire House and Senate negotiators return to work this week on the next two year state budget.

The committee of five representatives and four senators are looking to bridge differences between the budgets passed by each chamber. The Senate plan spends about $150 million dollars more than the version passed by the House, and includes business tax cuts that aren’t in the House plan.

House Finance Chair Neal Kurk, a Weare Republican, says he’s concerned the Senate plan rolls $34 million dollars in expected surplus from the current budget into the next one.

Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

With lawmakers now in the final phase of crafting the state budget for the next two years, schools around the state are watching the process uneasily. The Legislature is looking, once again, to tweak the formula it uses to send money to local districts. 

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

State budgets contain multitudes: billions of dollar signs, thousands of policy decisions, and almost as many political calculations. For any governor, the budget is likely to be the single biggest political test in his or her two-year term. For Gov. Maggie Hassan, this year’s budget poses a particular challenge: how to get a product she likes, or can at least claim to like, from an all-Republican legislature while heading into a big election year. 


Sara Plourde / NHPR

The debate over New Hampshire’s business taxes has largely played out along partisan lines this year, with Republicans supporting staggered cuts to the state's corporate tax rates, and Democrats opposed. But political rhetoric aside, let's look at the underlying numbers to better grasp the core policy issues.

NHPR Staff

From the start of this year's budget negotiations, Republican leaders, as well as many business groups, have stressed that New Hampshire's corporate taxes, among the highest in the country, are driving away business.

Dave Juvet, senior vice president of the state’s Business and Industry Association, says as other states have made efforts to lower their rates, New Hampshire has lost ground.

Chris Jensen / NHPR

The Senate’s top budget writer says it’s unclear whether the final version of the state budget will include funding for a new labor agreement with state employees.

    Republican Jeanie Forrester of Meredith says there’s been little discussion in the Senate of the deal, which would give state workers a 2 percent raise in each of the next two years at a cost of about $12 million dollars.

New Hampshire Senate
Allegra Boverman / NHPR

The head of the largest state employees union is urging the New Hampshire Senate to fund a new two-year labor deal with the state.

Neither the House budget nor the one approved by the Senate Finance Committee includes the $12 million dollar cost of the deal, which would give state employees 2 percent raises each of the next two years and better dental and life insurance benefits.

Pages