May 25, 2015 3:50 PM
Landrigan: It's crunch time for NH Senate budget writers
CONCORD - Senate budget writers meet tomorrow to start wrapping up their two-year spending plan.
There are plenty of key decisions left to make, will there be business tax cuts, a pay raise contract for state workers? Will the final calls on these help or prevent a compromise from coming together next month?
"Senate Republicans won praise for restoring many cuts to human service and higher education programs in the House budget,’’ Landrigan began.
"But not everyone gets their wish yet, home-based caregivers without a rate increase for six years. Here’s their take.
"Frankly what is happening in the current budget, what is happening with the existing budget is criminal. It is breaking the law,’’ said Barbara Salvatore, a leading volunteer for agencies providing health services to seniors and the disabled.
"No contract for state workers months after the union and Governor Hassan shook hands on a deal,’’ Landrigan concluded.
"Why not fulfill an obligation? It’s $12 million, it should have been in the budget, it had better be in the budget because a lot of people are going to be very disappointed if it isn’t,’’ said Sen. Lou D’Allesandro, D-Manchester who is on the Senate Finance Committee.
Senate President Chuck Morse urges those left behind to be patient; more money could come their way.
It’s going to take three or four days to get those numbers together, and then we will come back and talk about some of the priorities that are still on the list,’’ Morse said.
What of business tax cuts?
A top priority, but Finance Chairman Jeannie Forrester admits going back on spending for on popular programs just to cut taxes is not an option.
Finally making Medicaid expansion permanent; Hassan wants it done but Senate Republicans aren’t going to give it to her.
The current budget has just 37 days left and as you can see lots of horse trading before a new one is in place.