Jun 12, 2015 5:32 PM

Landrigan: House-Senate budget talks open; key deal on state revenues

Source: NH1.com

CONCORD - State budget negotiators came to only one agreement on its first day, but it was a significant one.

During their one-hour, opening session, House and Senate budget writers embraced revenue estimates for the next two-year budget cycle that starts July 1.

The Senate plan figured upon $118 million more from existing taxes and fees than the House-passed budget had.

House Finance Chairman Neal Kurk, R-Weare, said revenues clearly picked up after the House voted on its plan last March.

"April was very good to us," Kurk said.

House Ways and Means Chairman Norm Major, R-Plaistow, cautioned these numbers could be adjusted next week once lawmakers review how much tax and fee cash came into state coffers through mid-June.

Legislative leaders then outlined some of their biggest differences.

Senate Finance Chairman Jeanie Forrester, R-Meredith, said it was critical the final deal include cutting the state’s two main business taxes.

"This critical economic development tool needs to be part of this budget," Forrester said.

House Finance Chairman Neal Kurk, R-Weare, said his team opposes the Senate plan to use a $34 million surplus by this June 30 on spending over the next two years.

"It is not the best way to budget," Kurk said.

The four senators and five House members agreed to meet next Monday through Wednesday, 10 am to 6 pm and to finish by the deadline for a deal next Thursday at 4 in the afternoon.

Both Senate President Chuck Morse, R-Salem, and House Speaker Shawn Jasper, R-Hudson, said they had no intention to allow either body to go past that deadline.


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