Senate passes budget; next step House

Jun 01, 2017

BY: CCNH-LFDA Highlights

Late Wednesday night the New Hampshire Senate passed a budget bill for the next two fiscal years.

The bill now heads to the House of Representatives, which will likely request a committee of conference to negotiate a final version.  That committee will present the budget for one more vote in the House and Senate.

The budget that just passed the Senate spends a little less than Gov. Sununu proposed, due to conservative revenue estimates and added tax cuts. 

The Senate voted to increase funding for mental health and substance abuse treatment, but not as much as Democrats would like. 

The budget also includes $10 million for a college scholarship program, as Gov. Sununu proposed, but no money for full-day kindergarten.  Still, a separate bill to fund full-day kindergarten is in the House and working its way towards the Senate.  The Senate budget also does not include keno, which the House would like to add to fund full-day kindergarten.

Lastly, the Senate budget cuts business taxes.  Democrats strongly opposed these cuts, hoping instead to use that revenue to pay for more social services.

“This budget fails to fully fund full-day kindergarten, fails to fully fund our efforts to combat the opioid epidemic, and fails to adequately meet the needs of those suffering from mental illness,” said Sen. Lou D’Allesandro

Supporters of the Senate budget argue that the bill responsibly balances increased treatment funding with the economic stimulus of business tax cuts.

“I think we're getting to a point that both sides, more liberals, more conservatives ought to start to say, you know what this makes sense,” said Sen. Jeb Bradley. “Yes, our general fund spending goes up by $108 million from 2017 to 2018 --  20 million of that’s mental health, 7 million is the community college system, 7 million the alcohol fund, 59 million the disability wait list, 2 million for more staff at DCYF, and 10 million for more scholarships. I think most people support each and every one of those.” 

Do you support the Senate budget?  Share your opinion in the comments below, or click here to find your state Representatives and urge them to vote for or against the budget.

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