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Conservative Critics Say N.H. House Budget Proposal Spends More Than It Seems

Paige Sutherland/NHPR
House Finance Chair Neal Kurk presents the committee's budget proposal to House members Monday, April 3, 2017.

Republican House Finance members laid out their budget proposal for lawmakers Monday morning, just days before the spending plan is up for a vote by the whole body.

But not all House members are pleased with how the proposal turned out.

During Monday’s presentation, members touted how the plan spends less than the Governor’s proposal, specifically by about $200 million.

But some conservative Republicans argue that’s not entirely true.

Although the budget comes out to $11.9 billion – more than a quarter billion, mostly of federal dollars, aren’t being counted.

Republican Rep. David Bates calls that a “budget gimmick.”

“We shouldn’t be passing a budget that basically pretends to spend less than it really does,” Bates said, who's complaints were echoed by fellow Republican Rep. J.R. Hoell. 

House Finance Chair Neal Kurk argues this accounting strategy is normal and has been applied in the last six budget cycles. But without full Republican support, the committee’s spending plan may have more trouble passing than expected Wednesday. 

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