Aug 19, 2015 12:00 AM
Landrigan: Gov. Hassan, Republican legislative leaders lob latest shots over vetoed budget
CONCORD - Following another round of private talks today, Republican legislative leaders and Gov. Maggie Hassan sparred over the stalled state budget.
House Speaker Shawn Jasper, R-Hudson, and Senate President Chuck Morse, R-Salem, said they made a significant concession - to find the $12 million needed to pay for a two-year contract for state workers.
"Today, Senate and House Leadership made a strong offer to compromise by agreeing to fully fund the state employee contract, including the pay raise, as part of the FY 16-17 state operating budget,’’ Senate President Morse said in a statement. We sincerely hope the Governor will accept the proposal and end the budget impasse.’’
House Speaker Jasper said the GOP plan also includes unspecified legislative oversight and transparency and they urged Hassan to convince the Legislature to override her budget veto when lawmakers return on Sept. 16.
The vetoed budget contained no money for the state worker pay raise.
"This will allow our communities and citizens in our state to realize the significant benefits included in the legislative budget, like the 75% funding increase for substance abuse treatment and prevention,” Jasper sasid.
Under this plan, lawmakers on Sept. 16 could then take up a separate bill to pay for the state worker raises after the veto plan.
In a respectful but firm response, Hassan said the GOP offer is not a complete one because it fails to pay for their business tax cuts that over time would cost $90 million.
The vetoed budget would cut the state’s taxes on corporate profits and business activity.
Hassan said she offered two approaches, one an affordable one to have the tax cuts in place for 2017 and allowing lawmakers to decide in the future if they want to find the money to pay for those tax breaks.
The second plan would pay for the tax cuts by raising the tax on cigarettes and the annual cost to register a car or truck.
"I have offered two potential compromises to address what appears to be your principal concern - business tax cuts,’’ Hassan answered. "Your letter in no way seeks to address the critical issue of the long-term fiscal and economic instability created by the unpaid-for-corporate tax cuts in your budget.’’
Republican State Chairwoman Jennifer Horn charged Hassan with prolonging this budget fight to advance a potential campaign for US Senate in 2016.
"Instead of political posturing for her United States Senate bid, Governor Hassan should focus on working across the aisle and ending months of fiscal uncertainty caused by her irresponsible budget veto,’’ Horn added.