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Senate Budget Writers Restore Funding For Social Services

Paige Sutherland for NHPR
Earlier this month the Senate Finance Committee hears from N.H. residents to restore funds to the state's social programs.

On Wednesday the Senate Finance Committee restored millions of dollars for elderly services, the developmentally disabled and substance abuse treatment that was cut by the House.

This includes $23 million for developmental services, $2.9 million for substance abuse treatment and $4 million for emergency shelters. However, these numbers are less than what the Governor proposed in her version. 

The committee also restored funding for elderly programs such as Meals on Wheels and Servicelink, which connects seniors with care across the state. Two weeks ago hundreds of people testified in front of the committee, asking to restore such funding. 

The Committee; however, like the House voted down Medicaid expansion as well as cut $2 million dollars from the New Hampshire Hospital's budget.

Senate Finance Chair Jeanie Forrester calls its version of the budget a “compassionate one.”

“We care and it is all about making sure we know what the revenues are and spending to that. And we have always just like we did in the last budget, we set our priorities and our priorities were very care. We are going to take care of our vulnerable citizens, we are going to take care of Meals on Wheels, Servicelink, the DD community, and that is what we did,” she said after the committee meeting.

This week the Ways and Means Committee finalized its revenue estimates, giving the Senate $118 million more to spend, but many still question if there is enough money to make ends meet.

Forrester says they are still crunching the numbers, but expect to have a clearer picture sometime early next week.

The full Senate is scheduled to vote on the budget June 4th. 

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