State budget easily moves past house

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CONCORD, N.H. – On Thursday, the New Hampshire House of Representatives concurred with the New Hampshire Senate’s passage of HB 1, the biennial state budget, by a vote of 351-25. Weeks ago, the House passed its initial version of HB1 on a voice vote, the first time that has occurred in decades. Earlier this week, the Senate approved an amended version of the budget unanimously, necessitating the concurrence vote on Thursday.

HB 2, an accompanying bill to HB 1 that addresses fees, expenditures and revenues, received a 326-53 vote by the House in concurrence with the Senate’s version of that bill.

Both bills now head to the Governor’s desk for final passage.

Here is a recap of some statements that were released following the votes. A full thread of Thursday’s activities in the House can be found here.

New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu

“This budget is a win for kids, families, taxpayers, state employees, and the entire state of New Hampshire,” said Governor Chris Sununu. “I would like to thank Speaker Sherm Packard, Majority Leader Jason Osborne, Senate President Jeb Bradley, Senate Minority Leader Donna Soucy, and House Minority Leader Matt Wilhelm for working together to get this budget across the finish line. The budget includes the largest pay raise for our state employees in decades, increases investments into our rainy day fund and education trust fund, and sends back historic relief to municipalities to lower property taxes – all while cutting taxes.”

New Hampshire Senate Democratic Leader Donna Soucy (D-Manchester)

“The Senate Democrats stand proudly today in solidarity with our friends on the other side of the wall who concurred on the state budget. Since the budget process began it has been a labor of dedication and, at times, frustration, as we worked to do the best work for Granite Staters. This budget is a culmination of months of work by legislators and General Court staff, and it makes incredible investments to better the lives of every single Granite Stater.

“From education, healthcare, housing, to childcare, the Legislature has a lot to be proud of. As was said yesterday, although there are still many issues to continue working on, this budget meets the needs of Granite Staters and only continues to fortify the Granite Advantage. We were pleased that we were able to implement so many Democratic priorities into the budget on behalf of our constituents, and we know that this budget is something that will ensure our residents can grow and thrive right here in our incredible state.”

Speaker of the House Sherman Packard (R-Londonderry)

“In another historic moment, this legislature came to a bipartisan agreement to help move NH forward into an exceptional future. This is a budget that focuses on helping NH families reach their full potential.

Thanks to the hard work put in by our House Finance Committee; they drafted a product that fulfilled our obligations to this state and its citizens. We were able to implement fiscally responsible measures to help bolster our economy and preserve the NH Advantage without adding in any new taxes.

By focusing on what makes the Granite State one of the safest and best places in which to live and work, we are putting families first and investing in crucial areas like education, affordable housing, healthcare, and public safety. We are ensuring programs for mental health and substance abuse are properly funded and increasing funds for towns and students who are in the most financial need.

Our priority is to put our constituents first and give them the necessary tools needed to truly live the way they see best. We don’t need to raise taxes or fees to do that. This budget makes that clear.”

New Hampshire House Majority Leader Jason Osborn (R-Auburn)

“Not only did the House pass its version of the budget in a historic unanimous vote weeks ago, but today we made history once again by concurring with the Senate changes and voting by a large margin to pass a final product. The budget we passed today is the result of working together both across the aisle, and across the wall, in order to find a bipartisan compromise that both parties and both chambers can live with.”

“We delivered a fiscally responsible spending plan that meets the needs of our state and addresses many of our top priorities, without raising taxes. We made reforms to the emergency powers statute, included a sunset for the Granite Advantage Healthcare Program, and fully repealed our state income tax at the end of the biennium. This was an inclusive process from start to finish, and this budget reflects our desire to meet the demands of our constituents and build consensus within the House and Senate.”

House Democratic Leader Matt Wilhelm (D-Manchester):

“No budget is perfect, but the one we’ve crafted does so much to meet the needs of Granite Staters.  From the start of the budget process, House Democrats have prioritized funding for health care, public education, affordable housing, and childcare.  These critical needs for both families and employers were well funded in the final budget and will greatly benefit our state.

After years of no salary increases, this budget delivers a substantial, well-deserved pay raise for New Hampshire’s hard-working state employees.  While I am disappointed that retirement benefits for police and fire fighters were not included in the final budget, I appreciate the commitment to get it done through a commission later this year.

Overall, this budget does a lot of good things for the State of New Hampshire.  I thank the leadership of both parties and both chambers, who kept lines of communication open and worked in good faith to get us to ‘yes.’”

Finance Ranking Democrat Mary Jane Wallner (D-Concord):

“This budget goes a long way toward meeting the needs of New Hampshire citizens and our communities.  The House laid a strong foundation, and the Senate was able to build on that by increasing funding for childcare, affordable housing and public education.  By working together, we were able to provide a desperately needed rate increase for our Medicaid providers and raise for our state employees. 

Democrats did not get everything we want – despite a significant increase in funding for public education, some communities will not receive any more than they do this year.  We remain concerned about the continued downshifting of expenses to property taxpayers through elimination of taxes paid by the wealthy. 

Despite our concerns in some areas, this budget funds the vital services of our state.  I thank my colleagues for their strong vote passing this budget onto the Governor today.”

State Representative Amanda Bouldin (D-Manchester)

All of the communication I received from constituents was in opposition to HB2, specifically because of the ICE component. Ward 5 is a diverse community and is entitled to a voice in Concord.

State Representative Alissandra Murray (D-Manchester)

I know our role in the legislature is to compromise, but I still believe the House compromised better in our version of HB 2. I could not bring myself to vote yes today for several reasons. The Senate removed $1m from the budget that would’ve gone to creating bail status systems for law enforcement. This money would’ve made a tremendous impact on crime without making changes to existing bail statutes. The Senate also added back in $1.4m for a Northern Border Patrol. On top of that they removed the cap on state police, and removed true public notification of immigration checkpoints, which is a constitutional issue. The new education funding formula also left many communities lacking true equitable funding. I’m glad the legislature made compromises together, but I wish those compromises weren’t made on the backs of Latinos, property-poor districts, group 2 public employees, and cities struggling to address crime.

New Hampshire Republican Party Chairman Chris Ager

“Today marks a good day for all Granite Staters.

I’d like to thank the leadership and legislators of the House and Senate who built this common sense bi-partisan budget. This package promotes conservative ideals, while adding significant investments in the places that matter. 

When Republicans lead, we accomplish great things for NH.”

New Hampshire ACLU Policy Director Frank Knaack

“It is unacceptable that our lawmakers have passed a $1.4 million proposal in the budget to increase policing and surveillance near the northern border, and did so despite having no data to support the claims that people are crossing the border without authorization. Worse, policies like this have been shown in study after study to actually make our communities less safe. 

“We thank lawmakers for supporting a long-sought law to require the advance public notice of federal immigration checkpoints being conducted in New Hampshire. While these checkpoints have been sold to the public as focused on immigration enforcement, history has taught us what this is really about – using immigration as an excuse to circumvent the N.H. Constitution and go after Granite Staters for low-level drug possession. This is a victory: public notice will help minimize the intrusion and negative impact checkpoints have on New Hampshire drivers.

“We also thank lawmakers for rolling back the funding for prison expansion–which is not a solution to the current, acute conditions crisis residents face. New Hampshire must not allow the current crisis to serve as justification for the construction of a possibly half-a-billion-dollar facility without a clear understanding of the future of incarceration in our state, including how we can continue to reduce our need for incarceration while strengthening community safety.”


About this Author

Andrew Sylvia

Assistant EditorManchester Ink Link

Born and raised in the Granite State, Andrew Sylvia has written approximately 10,000 pieces over his career for outlets across Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont. On top of that, he's a licensed notary and licensed to sell property, casualty and life insurance, he's been a USSF trained youth soccer and futsal referee for the past six years and he can name over 60 national flags in under 60 seconds according to that flag game app he has on his phone, which makes sense because he also has a bachelor's degree in geography (like Michael Jordan). He can also type over 100 words a minute on a good day.