Governor Maggie Hassan released the following statement today on passage by the House of Representatives of their FY 14/15 budget:
"Today's passage of the House budget plan is another step forward in the legislature's budget process. I appreciate the hard work by members of the House to develop their plan, and in many cases their funding priorities align with those in our balanced budget proposal, especially in taking steps to address our strained mental health system and to restore investments in New Hampshire's community colleges.
"However, significant work remains in order to finalize a responsible, balanced budget that reinvests in the priorities needed for job creation and innovative economic growth. The House budget as it stands falls short of our balanced budget proposal in key areas that are critical for strengthening our economy and improving the health and well-being of our people.
"The cuts made to our restoration of university system funding put at risk the proposed tuition freeze at our public universities, making it more difficult for our young people to afford a higher education in New Hampshire.
"A top priority of our budget proposal was to begin to reverse the last legislature's tax increase on hospitals, which is straining their operations and hindering our ability to move forward with strengthening our health care system. Unfortunately, the House budget goes in the opposite direction, relying more heavily on hospital taxes to pay for the general fund.
"I also have concerns that the back-of-the-budget cuts to Health and Human Services, combined with optimistic caseload levels, will force cuts to critical services. And cuts to school building aid will hurt the ability of our local school districts to provide the educational facilities our children need.
"The House budget recognizes that a number of these changes from our budget proposal are problematic, which is why it includes language calling for restoration of these funds if SB 152 is passed. We can address the challenges of the House budget by moving forward with a plan to license one high-end, highly regulated casino that will help us invest in our priorities. I look forward to continuing the dialogue with members of the House as they consider SB 152, and to working with both chambers to ensure that the next budget responsibly lays the foundation to build a stronger, more innovative New Hampshire."