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Senate Finance Passes $13B N.H. Budget, GOP Chair Calls It A 'Disaster'

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Dan Tuohy / NHPR
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The Senate Finance Committee adopted a state budget along party lines Friday.  The $13 billion plan increases spending on education and mental heath services.

 

The budget proposal also includes tax changes opposed by Governor  Chris Sununu.

The Senate's proposed budget would boost funding for local schools by more than $100 million. It would also pay for a new secure psychiatric unit and increase beds for people in mental health crisis.

Sen. Lou D'Allesandro, chairman of the Finance Committee, says budget writers think the proposal, which will be put to a vote by the full Senate next week, could pass muster with the governor.

"Let's hope we come to the most desirable solution and that's a budget for the people of New Hampshire," he said. "We want to do positive things and I think we are on that path and we've be in communication with the Governor's office. We haven't done this in a vacuum."

The Senate budget would do away with future business tax cuts the governor wants. It would also set up a mandatory paid family leave program, funded by a .5 % withholding of employees' weekly wages. The Governor says that amounts to an income tax, which he's promised to veto.

State GOP Chairman Stephen Stepanek panned the budget as fiscally irresponsible, and bad for businesses.

The next fiscal year begins July 1.

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