N.H. House Passes $12.9 Billion Budget Along Party Lines
The New Hampshire House approved a $12.9 billion state budget today.
The budget passed by the Democratic majority does not include many of Gov. Chris Sununu's proposals.
Those spending priorities included a $26 million plan to build a secure psychiatric unit for mentally ill patients. Instead, Democrats propose $1.2 million for a preliminary design of the unit.
The one bipartisan amendment passed Thursday restores the governor's request of $500,000 to the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.
The House's spending bill includes a major boost in state aid for public schools: an additional $160 million over two years, the largest increase in decades. Democrats say they can fund this with a new tax on capital gains.
Republican Rep. Kenneth Weyler of Kingston criticized the new tax and the budget.
"If we're already in an ideal situation and the economy's doing well, why do we need to spend more money?" he asked.
Democratic Rep. Joelle Martin, of Milford, responded to Republican criticism, saying the budget answers tax-payers' concerns:
"They've asked us for property tax relief, education funding, and adequate support for critical services, like mental health and child protection. The House budget addresses every one of these priorities," she said.
The budget bill now goes to the New Hampshire Senate for review and a vote.