The N. H. House has released its version of the State’s Biennial Budget for fiscal years 2016-2017, proposing an $11.2 billion dollar budget, approximately $400,000 million less than that presented by Gov. Maggie Hassan in February. Gov. Hassan issued this statement below on March 23 after the House Finance Committee voted to recommend passing its versions of HB1 and HB2. The Concord Monitor covered the story on 3/24 with "House Finance Committee Pushes Ahead Budget Proposal" -- click here to read the article.

"In recommending a budget with deep, unnecessary reductions that will hurt families, undermine business growth and take our economy backward, the House Finance Committee is failing to support the priorities that are critical for building the foundation of a more innovative economy. In addition, they have also reverted to the use of budgeting gimmicks to hide even deeper cuts.

"This backward proposal includes drastic cuts to the Department of Transportation, to critical services for seniors like Meals on Wheals, to substance misuse, to mental health, to developmental disabilities, to higher education, to travel and tourism promotion, to municipalities and more, all of which will hurt our economic future and lead to downshifting to local property-tax payers.

"These irresponsible reductions will make college more expensive and negatively affect the safety of our roads, bridges and communities, the development of the healthy and skilled workforce that our businesses need, and other priorities that help spur economic progress. I continue to remain open to any constructive proposals that will help New Hampshire continue to invest in the success of our people, our businesses and our economy, and I urge legislators from both parties to work together to move away from these unnecessary and harmful cuts."

The full N.H. House will vote on this version in coming days, after which it will go to the Senate in April. The Senate will then create its version of HB 1 and 2. In June, if there are differences in Senate and House versions, a Committee of Conference will be formed, comprised of both House and Senate representatives. This group will confer and deliberate to forge the final budget, which will be presented to Gov. Hassan for her signature. All this must be done by June 30, 2015.