House, Senate appoint negotiators to hammer out final version of next N.H. budget
The House and Senate today named the negotiators who will be responsible for hammering out the next two-year state budget.
Senate President Peter Bragdon, a Milford Republican, during today’s Senate session named Salem Republican Sen. Chuck Morse, Lempster Republican Sen. Bob Odell, Meredith Republican Sen. Jeanie Forrester and Manchester Democratic Sen. Lou D’Allesandro to the conference committee.
“It’s the Senate’s hope that House members will not let their desire to increase spending get in the way of reasonable compromise that reflects our shared priorities. It would be truly unfortunate for the citizens of our state if we were forced into a continuing resolution,” Bragdon said in a statement. “This would mean retaining our current funding levels, rather than benefitting from the modest increases we both agree on, just because some members of the House are committed to raising taxes.”
House Speaker Terie Norelli, a Portsmouth Democrat, earlier in the morning announced Concord Democratic Rep. Mary Jane Waller, Nashua Democratic Rep. Cindy Rosenwald, Lebanon Democratic Rep. Susan Almy, Stoddard Democratic Rep. Dan Eaton and Weare Republican Rep. Neal Kurk would serve on the committee.
“As we move into the committee of conference phase of the budget, we are fortunate to have a great team of legislators working to ensure we restore investments in our state and communities,” Norelli said in a statement. “We look forward to working with our colleagues in the Senate to finalize a budget in a timely manner.”
Norelli also named House alternates. For House Bill 1, the main budget bill, they are Hanover Democratic Rep. Bernard Benn, Conway Democratic Rep. Thomas Buco, Stratham Democratic Rep. Patricia Lovejoy and Kingston Republican Rep. Kenneth Weyler. For House Bill 2, the budget trailer bill, they are Peterborough Democratic Rep. Peter Leishman, Easton Democratic Rep. Susan Ford, Hanover Democratic Rep. Sharon Nordgren and Plaistow Republican Rep. Norman Major.
Wallner, the chairwoman of the House Finance Committee, will chair the conference committee since the budget bills originated in the House.
The Democratic-led House passed its budget in April, and the Republican-led Senate passed its version last week. It’ll be up to the committee of conference to resolve the differences ahead of the June 20 deadline for all such committees to complete their work.
The conference committee will hold its first meeting Friday at 10 a.m. The current fiscal year ends June 30, and the next biennium begins July 1.
(Ben Leubsdorf can be reached at 369-3307 or firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @BenLeubsdorf.)