BY: Citizens Count
On Thursday the New Hampshire Senate will vote on a state budget drafted by the Senate Finance Committee. Here are the highlights of the Senate budget plan:
• The Senate plan restores funding for services to the elderly and people with disabilities, which was cut in the House budget proposal.
• The Senate budget cuts the business profits tax by 0.6% over four years, with a projected revenue decrease of $14 million in this budget cycle.
• Contrary to Gov. Hassan's agreement with the largest state employees' union, the Senate budget does not including funding for a $12 million pay raise for state employees.
• The Senate plan increases community college funding to guarantee a tuition freeze. UNH says the Senate plan does not include enough funding for a tuition freeze at four-year colleges.
• After criticizing the House for "raiding" the Renewable Energy Fund and the Rainy Day Fund, Senate budget writers committed to leaving both funds untouched.
• The House and Gov. Hassan both included Keno revenue in their budget proposals, but the Senate budget plan does not include the lottery game offered in bars.
• The Senate budget does not re-authorize expanded Medicaid eligibility. Senators say they want to debate Medicaid expansion separately in 2016.
"This budget is thoughtful, conservative, but compassionate," said Senate Finance Committee Chair Jeanie Forrester (R).
"Unfortunately, the budget approved by the Senate Republicans prioritizes special interests and tax giveaways for big, out-of-state businesses over the people of New Hampshire," countered Senate Minority Leader Jeff Woodburn (D).