GOP Senators Defend Proposed State Spending Plan

Jun 2, 2015

The Senate Finance Committee presented to colleagues its $11.3 billion budget proposal Tuesday at the State House calling it a "conservative but compassionate budget."

But Democratic Senate leaders say the two-year spending plan is not in the best interest of New Hampshire residents, claiming that it is riddled with “budget gimmicks” such as double counting and unspecified budget cuts to key social services.

Senate Minority Leader Jeff Woodburn also criticizes the plan,  claiming it gives business tax breaks to “special friends” such as Planet Fitness.  

“Despite the rhetoric the Senate Republican budget is neither compassionate nor responsible,” Woodburn said at a press conference at the State House.

But Finance Chair Jeanie Forrester strongly disagrees.

“The budget that we put together restores a lot of the funding that was cut out of the House budget, we fully funded ServiceLink, Meals on Wheels, the developmental disabled and the waiting list. So, I’m not sure what budget they are looking at but they are not looking at the Senate Republican budget,” she said.

Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley concurs, arguing that the business tax breaks are needed to keep and bring in businesses.

“A budget is always about priorities, and I think Senator Forrester outlined that we restored a lot of money to a lot of social programs and we also made a down payment on job growth in New Hampshire,” Bradley said, adding that according to a national study New Hampshire had the second to last worst corporate tax in the country.

Governor Maggie Hassan says she has “serious concerns” with the proposal -- especially the elimination of state employee pay raises and Medicaid expansion.

The full Senate is set to vote on the budget Thursday. A final version must be signed into law by June 30.