Gov. Maggie Hassan vetoed the New Hampshire Legislature’s proposed $11.3 billion budget, saying its inclusion of unpaid-for corporate tax cuts will create a more than $90 million hole in future budgets.
“I have vetoed the budget passed by the legislature because it is unbalanced, makes false promises about what it funds, and gives unpaid-for tax giveaways to big corporations, many based out-of-state, at the expense of critical economic priorities, including higher education, health care, public safety and transportation. The long-term impact of these unpaid-for corporate tax cuts will create a more than $90 million hole in future budgets, further eroding our ability to encourage economic growth,” Hassan said in a June 25 statement.
The Legislature passed, in addition to the two-year budget Hassan vetoed, a six-month continuing resolution that will fund the government at 2015 levels starting July 1. Hassan signed the continuing resolution on June 25.
State Rep. Al Baldasaro, R-Londonderry, expressed his disappointment with the governor’s decision to veto the budget.
“She got 96 percent of what she wanted,” he said. “We removed Medicaid Expansion, which will bankrupt the State and cause businesses and homeowners to have to pay for it. We need to get out of it and get people back on their own insurance. Because of Obamacare, people are paying over $5,000 or more in deductibles, and it’s taking food off their tables.”
But Hassan argues that failing to ensure the continuation and funding for the New Hampshire Health Protection Program would jeopardize health insurance coverage for more than 41,000 New Hampshire citizens and create uncertainty for businesses, the health insurance market and the economy.
Additionally, Hassan fears the program’s dissolution would jeopardize access to substance abuse and mental health treatment provided under the expansion plan.
But Baldasaro argues the program creates a $120 million hole in the State’s budget.
“The State has to live within their means,” he said, noting the Legislature’s budget includes funding for Meals on Wheels for seniors, mental health and drug abuse programs, more funding than last year for the University of New Hampshire and $1,000 more per student for charter schools.
In her statement, however, Hassan expressed concern the budget doesn’t adequately fund substance abuse prevention and many other State functions.
“I have made clear to legislative leaders that I am not philosophically opposed to reducing corporate tax rates and that I am willing to work together, compromise and negotiate to reach a better, more responsible and balanced budget. I have put forward concrete ideas that would reduce business tax rates while ensuring that those cuts are paid for in order to protect our state’s long-term finances and economic future,” she concluded her statement. “I did not come to the decision to veto this budget lightly. I would prefer to work together to find a compromise path forward, and I remain committed to such efforts.”
Baldasaro said residents who have questions or concerns about the budget process are welcome to call him at 425-6997.