Governor Maggie Hassan today applauded the bipartisan budget agreement reached by House and Senate negotiators.
"This bipartisan, fiscally responsible balanced budget agreement represents true and meaningful progress on the priorities that matter to the people of New Hampshire and that are critical for creating good jobs and building a more innovative economic future," Governor Hassan said.
"By restoring investments in priorities such as higher education, mental health, economic development, public safety and more, this bipartisan agreement will keep our state moving forward by encouraging innovation and maintaining the health and well-being of our families and communities."
The budget significantly restores funding for the University and Community College systems to allow them to freeze tuition, returns a scholarship fund for New Hampshire students, and invests in other economic development activities such as tourism and trade promotion and technical assistance for businesses. It will allow the state to move forward with implementing its 10-year mental health plan, funds the waitlist for people with developmental disabilities, restores the Children in Need of Services (CHINS) program, improves public safety by adding additional state troopers, and increases aid to cities and towns.
The bipartisan budget also establishes a study commission that will report back on Medicaid expansion by October 15th.
"While I believe we could move forward now with accepting the $2.5 billion in federal funds for Medicaid expansion, I respect the Senate's desire to study a New Hampshire-specific model and appreciate its willingness to do so in a timely way," Governor Hassan said. "I am confident that once members of the Legislature see the results of the study, they will want to move forward as quickly as possible through a special session. Because, as both Democratic and Republican Governors across the country have found, Medicaid expansion is absolutely critical to the health and financial well-being of our citizens, and every day that New Hampshire delays after January 1st will cost us $1 million a day in federal funds."
Governor Hassan also praised the work of lawmakers on the budget.
"Like all budgets, this agreement required difficult choices and compromises. But the bipartisan balanced budget agreement clearly demonstrates that the New Hampshire traditions of hard-work, collaboration, and commonsense problem-solving have returned to Concord. Both the House and Senate repeatedly showed a willingness to rise above ideology and listen to the people they represent in order to reach constructive compromises.
"I want to thank President Bragdon, Speaker Norelli, Senator Morse, Representative Wallner, and all of the budget negotiators from both chambers, as well as the staff of the Legislature, state agencies, and my office, for their tireless work that led to this bipartisan agreement.
"With this fiscally responsible balanced budget, the people of the Granite State can feel confident that their voices have been heard loud and clear. I encourage all members of both the House and Senate to send this budget to my desk for my signature so we can lay the foundation for a stronger, more innovative New Hampshire."