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$87 Million 'Christmas Tree' Spending Bill Will Get Debate At N.H. State House

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Lawmakers in the New Hampshire House and Senate will meet Tuesday to hash out differences over an $87 million dollar spending bill.

The plan would boost pay for state workers, settle a lawsuit with New Hampshire hospitals, and fix decaying bridges, among other things. 

But reaching agreement is no sure thing. Debating spending bills of this magnitude is atypical during non-budget years.

According to senate majority leader Jeb Bradley, this bill, which also resuscitates policies favored by Governor Sununu lawmakers had earlier rejected, is prudent.

“What we tried to do in the Senate is identify things that are one time issues for one time dollars,” he said.

The House’s top Republican, Majority leader Dick Hinch, says he’s glad the state has money to spend.

Budget experts say federal tax changes are a big reason why. But Hinch doesn’t believe that justifies backing this bill, which never had a public hearing and has become known as 'the Christmas tree.'

“I’m not a big person relative to Christmas trees, but we’ll see,” he said. 

One person sure to be watching is Governor Sununu. His office says he supports the entire package but says some priorities are more important than others.

Josh has worked at NHPR since 2000.

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