House Finance Committee Plans Extremist Budget Reductions
Since receiving the State Budget about a month ago, the House Finance committee has done very little public work on HB 1 and HB 2. This week the panel announced that they plan to slash hundreds of millions dollars from NH’s budget. The current proposal is that DHHS alone will be cut by $60 million in general funds or state funds from current spending levels in the ’16/’17 budget! In other words, if the House Finance committee has their way the next two years will spend less than the current budget.
Despite an improving economy, strong state revenues and low unemployment, the Finance committee has apparently made the determination that not only does the Governor’s proposed budget invest too much money, but also our current state budget needs to be slashed and burned. Yes, this is the current budget, which was nearly unanimously approved by a Republican State Senate and a Democratically controlled NH House in 2013.
Why is this happening? The GOP controlled House has no intention of adopting any proposal that would give the state any significant new revenues. In addition, the House is adopting revenue projections that current taxes will raise much less money than the Governor is predicting in her budget proposal.
What this all means for specific DHHS services and programs is still completely unknown, however, at this point it is clear that the Governor and the House Finance committee are miles and miles apart in terms of the level of investment needed in NH’s state budget.
What can you do? The House Finance committee’s proposed actions are extreme and unwise. If you care about NH’s future I would encourage you to reach out to the House Finance committee and ask them to put together a reasonable budget that does not dismantle critical human services. There is some hope, the chair of Division 3 called the $60 million DHHS cut a “moving target.” Meaning there is an opening to lessen the amount of money currently being proposed to be reduced.
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