House, Senate Negotiators Try To Find Agreement On New State Budget

Jun 15, 2015

Credit Allegra Boverman for NHPR

New Hampshire House and Senate negotiators return to work this week on the next two year state budget.

The committee of five representatives and four senators are looking to bridge differences between the budgets passed by each chamber. The Senate plan spends about $150 million dollars more than the version passed by the House, and includes business tax cuts that aren’t in the House plan.

House Finance Chair Neal Kurk, a Weare Republican, says he’s concerned the Senate plan rolls $34 million dollars in expected surplus from the current budget into the next one.

And several GOP senators, including Finance Chair Jeanie Forester, are looking to restore about $1 million dollars to district offices for the Department of Health and Human Services.

Neither plan includes money to continue expanded Medicaid beyond 2016 or to fund a pay raise included in a labor deal with state employees. Democrats, including Governor Maggie Hassan, have said both issues are among their top budget priorities. 

The budget negotiators say they hope to agree on a framework by Thursday. Lawmakers and the governor have until June 30th to agree on a spending plan.