State House Memo: On budget, Hassan and the Democrats have the right approach
The New Hampshire Legislature has officially entered the “silly season” of committees of conference between the House of Representatives and the Senate. This year the Senate is playing a particularly dangerous and shortsighted game of dare.
Our Republican-controlled Senate has added a “back-of-the-budget cut” of $50 million to state employees in what amounts to a devastating attack on 700 hard-working Granite Staters and the services they provide to the people of New Hampshire.
It is disingenuous for these same Republican senators to say they are funding services when they offset them with massive “back-of-the- budget” cuts to the jobs for the men and women who provide those services
The proposed cuts could mean longer lines at the Division of Motor Vehicles, longer wait times for law enforcement response, fewer people answering phones in all citizen services offices, fewer snow plows on the roads and less capacity for the state to respond in times of emergency.
Between rejecting Medicaid expansion and slashing the jobs of hardworking state employees, the Senate is eliminating 1,400 jobs and about $400 million from our economy over the next biennium.
Gov. Maggie Hassan and House Democrats put forward a budget based on the priorities that the people of New Hampshire support: job creation, economic development, higher education, mental health, and keeping our communities safe and strong.
Now the House and Senate are coming together in a committee of conference to try and resolve different approaches to budgeting. They will face a choice for the state of New Hampshire:
Will they choose to make cigarettes cheaper and force hundreds out of work? Or will they protect New Hampshire jobs, invest in the New Hampshire economy and expand affordable health insurance coverage to 58,000? I believe Hassan and the House Democrats have the right approach and will fight for and protect the people and the economic future of New Hampshire.
(Rep. Katherine D. Rogers is a Democrat from Concord.)