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Capital Beat

Bragdon blasts Hassan on state budget, calls her fiscal record ‘abysmal’

Senate President Peter Bragdon appears to be unhappy with Gov. Maggie Hassan at the moment.

Bragdon, a Milford Republican, issued a scathing statement this afternoon, apparently in response to a statement last week from Hassan saying Senate Republicans “have unfortunately chosen the fiscally irresponsible approach of sweeping, across-the-board cuts” instead of specific ones in their version of the next state budget.

“Gov. Hassan is welcome to disagree with the spending priorities outlined in the Senate budget, but given her abysmal fiscal record when she was a state senator we certainly don’t need lectures about responsible budgeting from someone with zero credibility on the subject,” Bragdon said in his statement.

He added, “If Gov. Hassan wants to show some real leadership and get involved in solving the pressing financial issues facing our state we welcome her input. Until that time, however, we have absolutely no need for her lectures or time for her political gamesmanship.”

Hassan, a Democrat, served three terms in the state Senate and helped craft the 2007 and 2009 state budgets. Bragdon served with Hassan from 2004 to 2010 and is a member of the Senate’s budget-writing Finance Committee.

UPDATED, 4:30 p.m.: Hassan’s spokesman, Marc Goldberg, offered this response via email to Bragdon’s statement:

“Senate Republicans are claiming to make investments in services across state government on one hand, even as they make across-the-board hidden cuts to those very same areas. It’s as if an airline company sold 100 tickets for a flight on a plane that only has 80 seats. Twenty people will be left behind.

“Whether Senate Republicans want to admit it or not, the approach they have taken with their across-the-board-cuts to Health and Human Services and employees will cost hundreds of jobs and put at risk critical areas, including mental health care, funding the waitlist for people with developmental disabilities, the CHINS program, and the ability to deliver basic services. As DHHS Commissioner Toumpas has said, the Senate budget would create a $40 million hole in the DHHS budget. Additionally, Senate Republicans have put ideology ahead of the health and wellbeing of New Hampshire families by rejecting $2.5 billion in federal funds available to expand Medicaid.

“After numerous budget cycles of deep cuts, if Senate Republicans want to continue the approach of cuts to critical services and employees then that is their decision, but they should be forthright with the people they represent about the true impacts of their cuts.”

(Ben Leubsdorf can be reached at 369-3307 or bleubsdorf@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @BenLeubsdorf.)

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