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Hassan vs. GOP on state budget (with video)

Wednesday, June 24, 2015 6:18
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(Before It's News)

By Paul Briand

With the run-up to the House and Senate vote on the state budget, Gov. Maggie Hassan and Republican legislative leaders expressed frustration over each others stand on key issues, including business tax cuts, Medicaid expansion and funding for state employees’ pay raises.

Hassan, a Democrat, promised to veto the $11.3 billion that comes from the Republican-led House and Republican-controlled Senate. Hassan had originally proposed an $11.5 billion budget in February.

Hassan and GOP leaders visited media outlets this week to make their points. One such visit took place at Seacoast Media Group in Portsmouth, separately, with the governor and four Republican state senators.

Hassan told the SMG editorial board that money lawmakers believe is surplus and can be carried forward into the new budget is actually just being accrued to pay bills that will come due in the first quarter of the new fiscal year.

“It’s one thing to have a number on a line,” she said, “but it’s another thing to have it your bank account.”

But Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley of Wolfeboro questioned Hassan’s use of the carry-forward money. According to Bradley, it may be a case of Hassan trying to use surplus money to pay for over-spending in the current $10.7 billion budget.

“We believe she has overspent the $10.7 billion she was authorized to spend,” said Bradley. That won’t be known for sure until an audit of the biennium spending is done in September, he added.

Here’s what he had to say on carry forward money:

What follows is Hassan’s view on the budget and some of the issues of disagreement:

Here is what Sen. Bradley had to say on the various issues:

The discussion on the business tax cuts was emblematic of how differently the two sides view the issue.

At issue are gradual reductions in the state’s business enterprise tax and business profits tax. The cost to revenue in the first biennium budget is about $21 million, according to Bradley. The full effect of the reductions is over three budget cycles, a total of six years, at which point the cost to revenue is about $90 million.

Bradley said the purpose of the tax cut is to make New Hampshire “a more friendly state for job creation.”

State Sen. Nancy Stiles, R-Hampton, said it has support in the business community. “This is one things we’ve been hearing from our businesses is to get this tax reduced,” she said.

Hassan said she hasn’t heard that from the businesses she’s sat down with. Rather, the priorities she hears about deal with the need for an educated workforce, good roads and bridges, decent health care, reduced energy costs, and programs to address mental health and substance abuse issues that can affect workers and their families, needs that the business tax cuts will take money away from.

“$90 million is a huge amount of money in a New Hampshire budget,” she said.

In this clip, Hassan talks about money the Legislature failed to include to cover the salary increases in the state employees’ new contract:

For a full rundown of the SMG discussions, see a Seacoast Online story here.

Live Free or Die Alliance


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