Budget Now in Senate’s Hands

The House approved its version of the budget on Wednesday

On Wednesday, the New Hampshire House approved the budget and trailer bill. Both measures now move on to the Senate, which will work on its own versions.

Rep. Cindy Rosenwald of Nashua said the budget was a “modest restoration of some of the most devastating cuts” made two years ago under the leadership of Rep. Bill O’Brien.

Of course, not everyone agreed that the cuts made two years ago were all that devastating. On Monday, Rep. Ken Wyler of Kingston denied anyone receiving services in NH was made to suffer by those cuts.

“There is no evidence that those who are receiving services from our state in the past two years were harmed or were denied any services,” Wyler said at a GOP press conference. You can watch a video clip here.

Dedicated public employees have helped stem the effects of some of those budget cuts, in spite of massive reductions in staff and resources. The stress of doing more with less definitely takes a toll, though, and New Hampshire’s residents and public employees deserve some of the relief provided in this budget.

Because the House plan doesn’t include possible revenue from the Senate casino proposal, budget writers had to cut some of the spending included in Gov. Hassan’s proposal, to the governor’s chagrin.

“The House budget as it stands falls short of our balanced budget proposal in key areas that are critical for strengthening our economy and improving the health and well-being of our people,” she said in a statement.

It’s possible that if the House approves the casino plan, Hassan’s proposed increases in funding for mental health services, the University System of New Hampshire, community colleges and services for adults with developmental disabilities could be fully restored.

The House also approved on Wednesday the capital improvements budget, which includes funding for a new women’s prison. This is especially relevant because the state on Wednesday announced it had canceled the bidding process for private corporations to build new state prisons after all bids received fell short of expectations.

We will, of course, continue to closely follow the budget process and provide you with updates as the process moves along.

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