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May 30: Senate panel approves $11.3 billion budget

Saturday, May 30, 2015 4:39
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(Before It's News)

The Senate Finance Committee on Thursday signed off on its version of the state’s new two year budget. At $11.3 billion, it’s less than the $11.5 billion proposed by Gov. Maggie Hassan in February and more than the $11.2 billion approved by the House in April.

Senate budget writers have had the benefit of the most current revenue estimates in crafting their version of the state budget, which is set to take effect on July 1 and run through June 30, 2017.

Both the House and Senate have Republican majorities, while Hassan is a Democrat. And while the Senate committee’s version of the budget restores some of the cuts made in the House version, Hassan is still not pleased.

“I have serious concerns that the Senate Finance Committee’s partisan plan will hurt families, undermine business growth and take our economy backward while relying on gimmicks that will ultimately leave the budget unbalanced,” Hassan said in a statement.
“Senate Republican leadership says that New Hampshire can’t afford to lower tuition at the community colleges, provide a modest cost-of-living increase to employees, fix our roads, fund mental health or even adequately staff our correctional institutions or our juvenile justice system. They even say that in the midst of a heroin epidemic, New Hampshire can’t afford to adequately fund substance misuse prevention and treatment.”

See a WMUR story here.

Shea-Porter takes on Guinta

Carol Shea-Porter has added her voice to the chorus of people who think U.S. Rep. Frank Guinta should resign in the wake of a Federal Election Commission finding that he violated campaign finance laws.

Shea-Porter is the Democrat who formerly held the 1st Congressional District seat in the U.S. House before losing it to Republican Guinta in 2014.

The FEC found that Guinta violated the law when he accepted a $355,000 campaign contribution from his parents, money that Guinta continues to insist was his and that the money was a loan to his campaign back in 2010. He’s been fined $15,000 and ordered to return the $355,000 to his parents.

“Guinta broke the law, used illegal funds in his campaign, and proceeded to lie and cheat for five years,” Shea-Porter said. “I stand ready to win this seat back and restore honesty, integrity and competence to the NH-01 seat.” See a Concord Monitor story here.

Republicans, too, have called for Guinta to resign, the most powerful of whom is U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-NH, who said again this week that she is “deeply disappointed” in Guinta and said he needs to resign. See an NHPR story here.

Guinta is up for re-election in 2016.

In other election news

It seems it’s never too early for polls in political contests, even if those contests aren’t official yet. A case in point this week was a WMUR Granite State poll that looked at current voter sentiment with regard to a possible match-up between Ayotte and Gov. Hassan for the U.S. Senate.

Ayotte is coming up for re-election in 2016 on her first six-year term and there’s a lot of speculation that Democrat Hassan might challenge her. The WMUR poll by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center showed Ayotte and Hassan in a statistical dead heat at this point.

That same poll showed that Guinta’s favorability is being hurt by the campaign finance scandal.

In other election news this week, Vermont U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders and former New York Gov. George Pataki officially announced campaigns for president and both came to New Hampshire. Sanders is an independent in the Senate and will run for president as a Democrat. Pataki is a Republican in what is likely to become a very crowded GOP primary.

See a report on Pataki here and an LFDA editor report with video on Sanders here.

Former business executive Carly Fiorina was also in the state this week as part of her campaign for the GOP presidential nomination. See a Union Leader report here.

There is a lot of discussion about the 2016 primary and election on our Facebook page, along with other topics of statewide interest. Join in on the conversation. In the meantime, we’ll see you next week.

Live Free or Die Alliance


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