Talking Points on 2015 House Budget Proposal

  • The NH I know is better than this.
  • Vote for the Governor’s budget; not the House’s version.
  • We want our state to be a safe place for everyone to live and work, and that means maintaining strong transportation systems, fostering vibrant communities, and providing health and safety services for those in need.  The proposed NH House budget does not promote these priorities – it disrupts them.
  • The NH House Finance Committee, voting along party lines, wants to pass a budget bill that cuts around $240 million from Governor Hassan’s budget which was already lean to the bone. NH Department heads have said any additional cuts would prevent their department from fulfilling the mission.
  • The NH House Finance Committee has rejected all of Governor Hassan’s recommendations for raising new state revenue that would allow the state to fulfill its responsibilities to its citizens and visitors.
  • Lowlights of the NH House Committee’s proposed budget – key reasons it should not pass:
    • fails to fund the state employees’ new contract that was negotiated in good faith with the Governor. It also proposes an amendment that would conflict with language in that new contract related to health benefits. This is a clear attack on collective bargaining and working families.
    • requires already retired state employees and covered spouses to pay significantly more for their health insurance benefits – higher premiums; higher co-pays for services and prescriptions.  The average pension is only $14,000/year. This is the thanks our elected politicians give those who spent their working lives attending to the needs of the state.
    • allows the NH Health Protection Program (expanded Medicaid) to sunset, resulting in 50,000 residents losing health coverage, cutting 65 jobs at DHHS, and increasing uncompensated care and ultimately our health care costs.
    • takes State Troopers off the state’s roads and makes severe cuts to the State’s forensics lab.
    • substantially changes school funding impacting our children’s education opportunities.
    • plugs much of the DOT budget gap by raiding the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) and the NH University system – continuing the state’s tradition of robbing Peter to pay Paul.
    • still cuts the DOT budget by $20 million, which will reduce services, including winter highway maintenance, again putting the public at risk.
    • guts programs that protect our most vulnerable citizens – people who need a little extra help during difficult times.
    • fails to pick up hundreds of millions of dollars in federal matching money, continuing to make NH a donor state for federal dollars.
    • guts the Sununu Youth Services Center’s budget to the point that the facility will be forced to privatize/outsource education; laundry services; kitchen services. These cuts will jeopardize the safety of the staff, the public, and the youth residing there.
    • invites more lawsuits against the state.
  • The state was sued for providing inadequate treatment services for the mentally ill. The class action lawsuit was settled in 2013. Now, the Finance Committee, along party lines, are suggesting that the terms of the settlement be ignored and are calling for reducing funding to community mental health services.
  • The need for basic services, such as plowing our roads or caring for our elderly, will not disappear with the state funding. Instead, the state’s responsibilities will be downshifted to towns and municipalities. We all know this means that ultimately, the state’s property tax payers will shoulder the costs – again.
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