State Budget

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.

With April being a big month for state revenue, New Hampshire could end the biennium in the black; things are looking tougher for the casino proposal, as the legislature continues to work on the budget; Senator Ayotte held a handful of town halls meetings last week, getting questions and a bit of backlash on her gun control positions.

The House passes their budget, which does not include gambling, but funds some of Governor Hassan's priorities, such as mental health and higher education; the budget-writing process now moves to the Senate, where it is likely to see numerous changes; the Senate hears several high-profile bills this week, including a reinstatement of the state minimum wage; Scott Brown announces he "would not rule out" a Senate run in NH.

The House votes this week on their State budget bill; an as-yet-introduced amendment to the casino bill seeks to limit any future casino from competing with the Verizon Wireless Arena with a large audience entertainment venue; gambling looks to have staying power in the legislative budget process.

Steve Owens Portrait
Amanda Loder / NHPR

A taxpayer-funded eco-business program is paying off for New Hampshire.  The Green Launching Pad at the University of New Hampshire has given grants to more than a dozen start-ups in the state.  But it hasn’t awarded any new funds since last year.

Votes are expected in the House this week on whether the state will allow the building of one casino, as outlined in Governor Hassan's budget, and the proposed raise to the gas tax; The House Finance Committee gets to work on the budget.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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:

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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