Landrigan: Move to preserve NH Rainy Day Fund gets push back
CONCORD - The proposed House budget drains the Rainy Day Fund but Wall Street wants New Hampshire to set aside $125 million for financial emergencies.
The State Senate has moved on legislation to try and make it more difficult to do that in the future but it faced push back before a key House committee today.
House budget writers admitted they didn't want to have to take the $9 million left over in the Rainy Day Fund to balance their books but had little choice.
That's because unlike the state budget plan Gov. Maggie Hassan proposed in February, the House plan includes no increases in state taxes.
Senators from both political parties have gotten behind a bill (SB 8) to require a two-thirds vote to make any withdrawal from the Rainy Day Fund.
Senate President Chuck Morse, R-Salem, said trying to restore the $9 million in the Rainy Day Fund and perhaps add to it is a top priority.
"We're going to look very hard at this budget to try and accomplish that,'' Morse said during a recent interview.
State Treasurer William Dwyer told legislative leaders last month that ideally Wall Street rating agencies would prefer the Rainy Day Fund have up to $140 million set aside.
But State Rep. Daniel McGuire, R-Epsom, said the Senate-approved bill would accomplish little.
"I fully respect them and think it is well intentioned but the problem is in my opinion the bill is both ineffective and inappropriate,'' McGuire said.