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NH News

Hassan Gives Casino Bill And Budget A Push

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Emily Corwin

Governor Hassan began her day before the Senate Ways and Means committee.  She delivered a pro-gambling pitch familiar from her budget address last week -- New Hampshire needs to act to authorize a casino with 5000 slot machines and 150 table games before similar facilities open in Massachusetts."Failure to act will allow Massachusetts to capture the revenue from New Hampshire residents, while our communities bear the costs without the benefits."

An hour later, Hassan went before a joint meeting of the House and Senate Finance Committees. There, she sold her budget as one driven by innovation, and a New Hampshire casino as a responsible way to fund government.

"I believe the revenue from a casino would mean tens of millions of dollars a year that would strengthen our economy and address our priorities."

Republicans are giving Hassan’s budget a mixed response. Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley praised Hassan for “conservative” revenue estimates. House G.O.P. leaders, meanwhile, think Hassan overestimated revenue on current taxes by $100 million. They also question her inclusion of $80 million from gambling licenses. David Hess is deputy House Republican Leader.

"It is the first time that a governor is balancing a budget on a stream of revenue based upon activity that is not only illegal but that is criminal."

The Senate Ways and Means committee is slated to vote on the casino proposal March 5. The state budget will remain with the House until early April.