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Senate Committee Hears From The Public About The Budget

Ryan Lessard

New Hampshire’s Senate Finance Committee held its public hearing on the budget Thursday night. This follows statements by its chairman implying that the Senate’s budget will be leaner than the $11 billion budget passed by the House.

Members of the public testified for four hours, asking for state funding for numerous programs and social services. Keryn Bernard-Kriegl is the Executive Director of New Hampshire Children’s Trust, an abuse prevention center.

“While all other bordering states are investing state general funds, Massachusetts more than 4 million, in prevention, New Hampshire is investing zero and I find this shameful.”

The $120,000 Bernard-Kreigl asked for, she says, is about 40 cents a child.

Others spoke out in defense of Medicaid expansion and for a federal consumer assistance grant connected to the Affordable Care Act, which is unpopular with the Republican-led Senate.

The Chairman of the committee, Republican Senator Chuck Morse of Salem said the House-adopted budget had overestimated revenue projections by about $300 million. The committee’s ranking Democrat Senator Sylvia Larsen of Concord, says that while her projections are also conservative compared to the House, she guesses the hole to fill is closer to $100 million.