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Aug. 22: Still no deal on state budget

Saturday, August 22, 2015 5:48
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(Before It's News)

Another week and still no break in the stalemate on the state budget between the Democratic governor and the Republican-controlled Legislature.

The latest entreaty from the GOP legislative leadership was rejected by Gov. Maggie Hassan, who said the offer to fund state employees’ pay raises “does not address my principal concerns with the budget: unpaid for tax cuts that will create a $90 million hole in future budgets.”

The governor in February offered an $11.5 billion budget for the two fiscal years starting July 1, 2015 and ending on June 30, 2017. The GOP-led House and GOP-led Senate eventually came back with an $11.2 billion budget that Hassan then vetoed.

State government has been operating on a continuing resolution budget a last fiscal year’s levels. The resolution runs out on Dec. 30.

Among the elements that Hassan disputes in the budget is the lack of funding for an agreed-upon state employees contract that calls for 2 percent raises. She also doesn’t like the cuts to the business enterprise tax and business profits tax, which she contends will create a $90 million hole in future tax revenue.

See an NHPR story here.

Legislative leaders offered to fund the employee pay raises, which Hassan said she appreciated as “an important first step.”

But her letter this week to House Speaker Shawn Jasper and Senate President Chuck Morse said their offer “in no way seeks to address the critical issue of long-term fiscal and economic instability created by the unpaid-for corporate tax cuts in your budget.”

She cited the concern that the state “may soon face another school funding lawsuit because we are capping payments to communities below what they are entitled to receive under our school funding formula.”

That lawsuit emerged on Thursday from the city of Dover.

According to a Foster’s Daily Democrat story, the lawsuit filed Thursday in Strafford County Superior Court argues the state’s annual cap on “adequacy funding” aid shortchanges Dover students and violates principles of the state constitution.

“By arbitrarily limiting adequacy aid to prohibit municipalities from receiving more than 108 percent of the aid they received in previous years, the state violates its constitutional mandate to fund an adequate education to the students attending the city’s schools,” the suit said.

Trump vs. Bush

The New Hampshire presidential primary took an interesting turn here with dueling town hall meetings — and dueling political rhetoric — between real estate mogul Donald Trump and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

Trump is polling ahead of Bush and the other GOP presidential contenders here in the first-in-the-nation primary state.

Bush was in town to attend a forum on education and he held a town meeting afterwards in Londonderry. Trump, did not attend the forum, but scheduled a town meeting of his own just down the road in Derry.

Trump described Bush as having “low energy” while Bush talked of a self-centered Trump “big personality.”

See a WMUR story here.

Northern Pass answers critics

Eversource officials this week unveiled a revised Northern Pass plan that they say addresses critics’ concerns about path and size.

The new plan reduces its scale, alters  its route and buries about 60 miles worth of transmission lines. Bill Quinlan, president of Eversource Operations in New Hampshire, said the new proposal addresses critics' concerns about protecting views, tourism and property values.

See a Union Leader story here.

Also …

Do you support or oppose the Regal cinemas policy of searching bags for firearms?

Should medical marijuana cultivation centers be allowed near schools?

Do you support the decision to make the SAT NH's statewide assessment for juniors?

Those are some of the questions we’ve posed for discussion on our Facebook page. Join the conversation.

Live Free or Die Alliance


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