State Budget

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 / 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.

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.

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