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DHHS Calls On Senate Budget Writers To Restore Funding

Allegra Boverman for NHPR
The Department of Health and Human Services is asking the Senate Finance Committee to put funds back into substance abuse programs, developmental disabilites and elderly care.

Officials from the N.H. Department of Health and Human Services are asking Senate budget writers to restore funding that was cut in the House proposal.

The $11.2 billion spending plan passed in April significantly under or level funded services for substance abuse, developmental disabilities and seniors.  

Sheri Rockburn of DHHS says if the House budget is adopted current services cannot be maintained.

“I think if the House budget stays as it is right now, we are going to have to make some really tough decisions where there are clients that are getting served today that will not be getting served tomorrow. And I think unfortunately with the House budget there was not one population group that was left untouched,” she said, adding that she is hopeful funding would be restored. 

Cuts include $53 million for developmental services from the current biennium. These reductions would also shut down Servicelink, which connects seniors with services across the state, resulting in the loss of more than 70 jobs.

It would also cut in half funding for programs providing meals and transportation for seniors, which currently serves nearly 200,000 people.

Democrat Lou D’Allesandro of Manchester says the Senate has a lot of work to do. “It would take about 130 million dollars to restore what was cut by the House, and the ironic aspect of it is, is they went to a number and did not take into consideration what human lives would be affected by this.”

But Senate Republican leaders said additional taxes or fees would not be included in its version of the budget.

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