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June 20: Hassan will likely veto GOP budget

Saturday, June 20, 2015 4:10
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(Before It's News)

Gov. Maggie Hassan has thrown down the gauntlet — in the form of a veto threat — in her standoff with Republican lawmakers over the new two-year state budget.

On Wednesday, the Democratic governor called the budget was about to come out of the Committee of Conference “fiscally irresponsible.”

She said in a statement that “unpaid-for tax cuts to big corporations, mostly headquartered out-of-state, that will create a more than $90 million hole in the budget and put corporate special interests ahead of New Hampshire’s families, small businesses and economy.”

She added: “Because this budget is unbalanced, dishonest about what it funds, and includes unpaid-for business tax cuts that create a more than $90 million budget hole at the expense of critical economic priorities, I will veto it if it comes to my desk as it is.”

She followed that statement up with a press conference on Thursday where she repeated her charges of irresponsibility, backed by House Democratic Leader Steve Shurtleff and Senate Democratic Leader Jeff Woodburn.

But the Committee of Conference, weighted in favor of Republicans, approved an $11.3 billion budget. The governor back in February proposed an $11.5 billion two-year budget. The Republican led-House trimmed it back to $11.2 billion. The Republican-led Senate settled on $11.3 billion. And now the joint committee has agreed on $11.3 billion.

On Thursday, Senate President Chuck Morse said, “Make no mistake. If Gov. Hassan vetoes our smart and sensible budget, it's only because of narrow special interests and her ambition for higher office.” The allusion was to her possible run for the U.S. Senate in 2016.

On the revenue side, the budget writers agreed to cut the business profits tax and the business enterprise tax. Republicans argue that cutting the taxes will make the state appear more business friendly and attract new business, eventually boosting the economy and creating jobs.

The budget does not extend the Medicaid provision that was made allowable under the Affordable Care Act. That could affect 40,000 Granite Staters who were able to get health care with Medicaid expansion. Nor does the budget contain money for raises negotiated by the state with its employee union.

The budget plan now goes to both chambers for approval before heading to Hassan, who must take action on it by June 30, when the state's current $10.7 billion budget plan expires.

A veto, as promised, could set up the need for continuing resolutions to keep state government working while the budget battle continues.

It appears the governor is ready for a possible protracted fight on a new budget, ceding the need for a continuing resolution.

“I thank Senate President Morse and Speaker Jasper for expressing their intention to introduce a continuing resolution to keep state government open, and I continue to encourage them to return to the negotiating table to develop a compromise, bipartisan and balanced budget that is fiscally responsible, honest about what it pays for, and supports the priorities needed to keep New Hampshire’s economy moving forward,” she said.

In other action this week at the State House in Concord, a measure is pending House and Senate approval that will fund domestic violence programs with a higher marriage license fee and adding a $50 fee to fines for domestic violence convictions. See a Foster’s Daily Democrat story here.

House and Senate negotiators failed to come up with a compromise on how the state should spend the estimated $20 million it receives through the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. HB 208 would return all the money to ratepayers. See an NHBR story here.

Newly minted Republican presidential candidates Jeb Bush and Donald Trump made post-announcement forays this week in New Hampshire, the first-in-the-nation primary state. See Bush coverage here. See Trump coverage here.

Democrat Hillary Clinton had previously announced her presidential campaign, but formalized it last weekend, and she too came to the Granite State this week. See Foster's coverage here.

We’re back next week. In the meantime, be sure to check out the wide ranging discussions on our Facebook page.

Live Free or Die Alliance


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