Senate, House Finance propose strong budget for NH

Major priorities include full funding for special services, reduced business taxes

Concord, NH – The Senate and House Finance Conferees today voted to approve an $11.3 billion spending plan that focuses on the needs of New Hampshire citizens, and supports small businesses and the economy without raising or adding any new taxes.

“We have been working for more than three months to find solutions that address the Senate’s priorities while living within our means and without raising or adding any new taxes,” said Senate Finance Chair Jeanie Forrester (R-Meredith). “This budget successfully achieves these goals in a balanced plan that will result in a stronger future for New Hampshire.”

“Through the work of both the House and Senate, we have produced a budget that fully funds services essential to our most vulnerable citizens, including services for the developmentally disabled, at-home health care, and even increased funding to $42 million in drug and alcohol prevention and treatment as well as provide a modest tax reduction for our state’s small businesses. Small businesses employ 95% of the private sector workforce and by making this reduction, we provide a foundation for them to grow, creating more quality jobs for New Hampshire people and providing a solid economic foundation from which our state can thrive into the future.”

“Helping people and helping businesses do not need to be mutually exclusive priorities and the legislative budget has established a fair middle ground that fully supports both major statewide initiatives. I continue to believe that this thoughtful, conservative, yet compassionate budget which will serve the state’s needs,” continued Forrester.

“Governor Maggie Hassan’s budget proposal included $129 million in new taxes that would hurt New Hampshire’s citizens. We have worked with the Governor on many issues to come to a place where we can agree. The threat of a veto comes because of her unwillingness to work with the legislature to find common ground on certain issues,” said Forrester.

“Republicans were elected with a mandate from the voters to keep spending in check, and to keep taxes low while maintaining vital services,” said House Finance Chairman Neal Kurk (R-Weare). “We’ve achieved these goals in this budget.  But the governor would rather increase taxes on the people of New Hampshire than support a balanced, fiscally responsible budget like the one approved by the committee of conference today. Since the House first presented its budget In March we’ve had the opportunity to review our updated revenue stream.  As a result, we were pleased to be able to restore and, in some cases, increase funding to important programs and services, including developmentally disabled, elderly services,  alcohol and drug abuse prevention, education, public safety and infrastructure, while restoring the state’s Rainy Day Fund to protect the state’s bond rating. The House and Senate made an important decision not to include an extension of Medicaid Expansion in any version of the budget.  Review of data, costs, and the federal government’s commitment to its share of funding will be considered in the next legislative session, separately from the budget,” added Kurk.

“Business tax rates in New Hampshire are some of the highest in the nation and have slowed job growth and diminished New Hampshire’s competitiveness for small businesses. I am proud of this budget because it considers our state’s small businesses, which are the foundation for providing services to those in need,” said Senate President Chuck Morse (R-Salem).

“In this responsible plan, tax rates for small businesses will be reduced for the first time in 20 years. Reductions to the Business Profits Tax and Business Enterprise Tax would be phased in starting in 2017 and DRA estimates this would reduce tax revenues by $21 million over the biennium, which is fully accounted for in this balanced budget,” Morse added.

“It seems the Governor’s priorities have changed from supporting a well-balanced plan to supporting narrow special interests aimed at her seeking higher office. Governor Hassan needs to refocus her attention to the citizens of New Hampshire and doing what is best for them,” said Morse.

“A veto of this budget that both supports the most vulnerable citizens in our state and works to build a stronger business economy that creates good jobs would hurt the state of New Hampshire and I hope Governor Hassan will seriously consider the budget before her and reconsider this unreasonable and dramatic conclusion,” Morse continued.

“We were elected and sent to the State House to represent the people of New Hampshire and not the governor or her special interests,” said Speaker Shawn Jasper (R-Hudson). “This budget spends millions of dollars over and above the current budget and yet the governor continues to talk about ‘cuts’.  We cannot and will not tax our way to prosperity on the backs of the citizens of New Hampshire.  The budget process is about compromise and give and take.  Thus far the legislature has done all the giving and yet the governor still wants more,” said Jasper.  “It is time we took back the New Hampshire Advantage that, until recent years, we had enjoyed within the region.  Through strategic business tax cuts in this budget we will once again be able to hang out the ‘open for business’ sign in New Hampshire.  In the long run it will attract new business and result in more jobs for the people of our state,” added Jasper.