Budget 2018-2019

LFDA Editor

The New Hampshire House and Senate, pretty much along party lines, approved an $11.7 billion budget with Gov. Christopher Sununu's hearty endorsement on June 22.

The two-year spending plan, which runs from July 1, 2017 until June 30, 2019, is largely the work of Republicans since both the House and Senate have GOP majorities. In congratulating the Legislature, the governor, a Republican himself, said, "Republicans are leading the way. Granite Staters sent us to Concord to take action and to address New Hampshire’s most critical public policy and program priorities."

Sununu originally in February offered a $12.1 billion budget that included funding for a variety of programs, including full-day kindergarten, mental health programs, to address shortfalls at the Division of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF), and scholarship money for in-state high school graduates to attend state colleges and univertieis, and business tax cuts. Among the missing in the budget is kindergarten funding, which was handled separately with approval of a plan to fund the program with revenue from Keno.

The N.H. Senate on May 31 approved its version of the budget with approval of $11.8 billion in spending.

The House Finance Committee had recommended an $11.9 million budget, but the budget recommendation never went to a full House vote because conservative Republicans didn't think the spending cuts went far enough, while House Democrats felt spending cuts went too far.

A committee of conference, made up of House and Senate members, on June 14 approved the $11.7 billion spending measure.

Per an analysis of the spending plan by the Union Leader, here is what is in -- and not in -- the budget:

Business tax cuts: The Business Profits Tax goes from 7.9 percent to 7.7 percent in 2019 and to 7.5 percent in 2021. The Business Enterprise Tax goes from 0.675 percent to 0.60 percent in 2019 and to 0.50 percent in 2021.

Electricity Consumption Tax: Billed at a rate of 0.00055 cents per kwh is repealed in 2019.

Infrastructure Funding from 2017 surplus: $30 million in local highway aid; $6.8 million for municipal bridge aid.

School Building Aid from 2017 surplus: Establishes the Public School Infrastructure Revitalization Trust Fund, at an estimated $8.5 million.

Rainy Day Fund: Estimated to increase from $100 million to $100.7 million at the end of the two-year period.

State retiree health care: Provides $171 million over the biennium for state retiree health insurance. Retirees born after Jan. 1, 1949, will pay 10 percent of premium as of Jan. 1, 2018.

Municipal aid: Distributes $137.6 million to cities and towns from Meals and Rooms Tax receipts.

Drug Courts: Provides $6.9 million for county drug court grants.

Liquor Commission: Gives NHLC authority to sell Hampton store land and use proceeds to retire existing commission debt. Authorizes a feasibility study on converting the existing liquor stores on I-95 in Hampton to full-service turnpike plazas.

Public Safety: Provides funding for five new state trooper positions in 2018, with authority to hire five more in 2019.

Corrections: Provides funding for 55 new positions at the new women’s prison in Concord, now expected to open in early 2018.

Transportation: Fully funds highway block grants to municipalities at approximately $790 million over the biennium; provides $87.7 million in gas tax revenue to the Highway and Bridge Betterment Program.

Health and Human Services: Authorizes $19.8 million in rate increases to direct care providers; $8.7 million to move non-violent youth out of the Sununu Youth Services Center; and $2 million from the Governor’s Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention, Treatment and Recovery for the construction of a substance abuse wing at the Sununu Center.

Child Protection: Provides funding for 20 additional child protective service workers in the Division for Children Youth and Families; Establishes an associate commissioner position with responsibility for overseeing DCYF.

Domestic violence: Allocates $500,000 per year for sexual and domestic violence prevention programs to be divided among the 13 rape and domestic violence crisis centers operated by the N.H. Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence.

Medicaid: Appropriates $707.2 million in 2018 and $737.7 million in 2019, reflecting an assumed reduction in caseloads.

Elderly and Adult Services: Appropriates $804 million for nursing home services and the Choices for Independence program to serve elderly in home and community settings; and $12.3 million for rate increases to nursing homes and other nursing services.

Public Health: Requires the DHHS commissioner to establish and use a competitive bidding process for family planning services, and prohibits state funds from being awarded to reproductive health-care facilities to be used for abortion services.

Mental Health: Adds $22.6 million for services, including benefits for children with several emotional disturbances, 20 new in-patient beds; 60 new transitional beds and a new mobile crisis team.

Drug treatment: Increases funding for the Governor’s Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention, Treatment and Recovery from 1.7 percent to 3.4 percent of prior years profits from the Liquor Commission.

Development Services: Appropriates $510 million for services to developmentally disabled children and adults.

New Hampshire Hospital: Requires DHHS to develop a plan to remove 24 juveniles from New Hampshire Hospital.

NH Veterans Home: Provides that any unexpended balance in the Veterans Home appropriation for 2018 can be used to raise pay for licensed nursing assistants so that the home can open additional beds now vacant due to lack of staff.

Education: Provides additional per pupil aid to charter public schools of $625 per pupil; provides $45 million in special education aid; $14.8 million in career and technical education tuition and transportation aid; establishes the dual and concurrent enrollment program, which will provide up to $250 per STEM related course at a community college for qualified high school students; provides $375,000 in grants to public schools for robotics teams.

Community College System: Funded at $96 million, an increase of $7.3 million over the current biennium.

University System of New Hampshire: Level funded at $162 million.

Lottery Commission: Authorizes the sale of scratch tickets through a mobile app, expected to increase revenue to the education trust fund by $13 million.

Medicaid Expansion: Requires DHHS to seek a waiver from the federal government allowing the state to impose work requirements on certain Medicaid recipients. Failure to obtain the waiver will result in termination of Medicaid expansion, known as the New Hampshire Health Protection Program.

Not included in the budget:

Funding of Governor’s Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention, Treatment and Recovery at 5 percent of NHLC profits (funded at 3.4 percent instead).

Sale of the Laconia State School property.

Funding for additional DCYF social workers and voluntary services to help families whose child abuse or neglect cases are determined to be “unfounded but with concern” at an estimated cost of $3.2 million.

Nine new nurses at New Hampshire Hospital, at a cost of $722,005.

Tuition freeze at University System of New Hampshire, $4.3 million.

Full funding of retiree health care, $2.1 million.

Additional stabilization grants to help municipalities experiencing declining enrollment, $6.2 million.

Granite Workforce, a workforce development proposal that would allow the state Department of Health and Human Services to use up to $9 million in surplus welfare funds to provide training and wage subsidies for the unemployed to obtain jobs in areas where there are workforce shortages.

Following are various iterations of the budget:
Operating budget broken down by department
Operating budget complete (PDF)
Capital budget (PDF)
Executive budget summary (PDF)
Operating budget detail in Excel
 

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY

Tabled in the House

2018-2019 state budget bill. The House of Representatives failed to pass this bill, so the Senate added the budget to a different bill, HB 144.

Did not pass House

2018-2019 state budget bill (part 2). The House of Representatives failed to pass this bill, so the Senate added the budget to a different bill, HB 517.

Passed House and Senate

Makes appropriations for capital improvements (e.g. roof replacements, HVAC upgrades, etc.) for the next two fiscal years.

Passed House and Senate

Changes the annual county budget procedures for Rockingham County to match those used in Hillsborough County. Since the House failed to pass the 2018-2019 budget bill HB 1, the Senate is amending this bill into a new budget bill.

Passed House and Senate

Establishes a Bureau of Health and Benefits; a Bureau of Property, Casualty and Workers' Compensation; and a Bureau of Finance; all within the Department of Administrative Services Risk Management Unit. This bill also clarifies the duties of the Risk Management Unit, Division of Personnel, and office of the commissioner. Since the House failed to pass the 2018-2019 budget bill HB 2, the Senate is amending this bill into a new budget bill.

What do you think should take priority in the next budget?

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Issue Status

The New Hampshire House and Senate on June 22 approved an $11.7 billion budget, with Gov. Christopher Sununu's endorsement, that will run from July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2019. The budget process started in February with Sununu's recommendation of a $12.1 billion spending plan. At the start of the legislative review, the House Finance Committee had recommended an $11.9 billion plan, but the House in April failed to vote on the recommendation largely because Republicans who control the House could not reach consensus. The budget was taken up by the Senate, also controlled by the GOP, which ultimately recommended $11.8 billion. It was a conference committee of House and Seante members that ultimately agreed on the $11.7 billion that was adopted by the full House and Senate.

 

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