Sununu’s budget proposal calls for $800M in new spending 

  • Gov. Chris Sununu

  • Governor Chris Sununu gives his budget address at the New Hampshire State House Thursday, Feb. 9, 2017. Elodie Reed—Monitor staff

  • Governor Chris Sununu gives his budget address at the New Hampshire State House Thursday, Feb. 9, 2017. Elodie Reed—Monitor staff

  • Governor Chris Sununu gives his budget address at the New Hampshire State House Thursday, Feb. 9, 2017. Elodie Reed—Monitor staff

  • Concord Democrat State Rep. Katherine Rogers records a segment of Gov. Sununu's budget address Thursday. Elodie Reed—Monitor staff

  • Governor Chris Sununu gives his budget address at the New Hampshire State House Thursday, Feb. 9, 2017. Elodie Reed—Monitor staff

  • New Hampshire legislators stand to clap for Gov. Chris Sununu Thursday during his budget address on the House floor. Elodie Reed—Monitor staff

  • Gov. Chris Sununu waves at the conclusion of his budget address Thursday. Elodie Reed—Monitor staff

Monitor staff
Published: 2/9/2017 12:51:35 PM

Gov. Chris Sununu’s proposed state budget would increase spending by $800 million over a two-year period without raising taxes, he said Thursday.

The budget will increase to $12.1 billion, from the existing budget of $11.3 billion. That number includes state general funds, the state education formula as well as federal dollars.

General and education fund spending will increase by 2.2 percent in fiscal year 2018 and 1.2 percent in fiscal year 2019.

The governor’s budget writer, Charlie Arlinghaus, said all spending in 2018 and 2019 will be balanced by revenue; no money will come from outside sources.

“We think that’s very important,” he said Thursday.

Here’s a breakdown of some of Sununu’s spending priorities for the next two years, by state department.

Department of Health and Human Services

Sununu is proposing a $57 million increase, biennium over biennium, to go toward the state’s developmental disabilities waiting list – with the ultimate goal of eliminating the waiting list.

The state’s alcohol fund would be doubled from the current 1.7 percent to 3.4 percent – an increase of over $3 million. The fund diverts revenue from the state’s liquor commission to treatment and prevention efforts. The 3.4 number does not mean full funding – which is 5 percent.

The budget creates a $5 million workforce fund to help boost wages for underpaid caregivers and workers in the health field.

The budget would increase behavioral health by $3 million to strengthen the community mental health system.

Education

Funding for the University System of New Hampshire will remain flat, at $81 million. However, Sununu’s budget adds $5 million for a scholarship fund that will go directly to 1,000 in-state students, rather than the university system itself.

The budget proposes spending $9 million per year for a “targeted” full-day kindergarten program that will distribute money to communities who already have, or want to start, full-day kindergarten programs. Money would be allocated based on need, prioritizing low-income and English language-learner communities.

Charter school funding will increase $15 million over the biennium – equaling about $500 per pupil. This money will not go to private or parochial schools.

Department of Corrections

The budget proposes putting $13 million – $5 million in the first year and $8 million in the second year – toward staffing and maintaining the new women’s prison in Concord. Money will also be directed toward addressing staffing and overtime issues in the department.

State and retiree health costs

The governor’s budget proposes the state and retirees split retiree health costs halfway, rather than employers and retirees paying the full cost.

No state employee positions are being cut, and the increased cost of pay and benefits for state employees equals $31.5 million for 2018.

(Ella Nilsen can be reached at 369-3322, enilsen@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @ella_nilsen.)




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