Landrigan: Political dynamics of passing a budget in the NH Senate
CONCORD - Now that the state budget battle has reached the halfway point, what is the State Senate likely to do with the House-passed spending plan?
And will the Senate be able to have members from both political parties come together after the House vote broke down so severely along partisan lines?
Practically speaking, the Senate has several advantages over the House in writing their budget. They have more time, they get to use up to date revenue estimates and you only need to find 13, not 200 votes to pass it.
"That's a big part of what the Senate does, I mean the Senate has the advantages of March revenues and April revenues,'' Senate President Chuck Morse said. "The other thing that is helpful though is the House doesn't have those revenues so they can take a good hard look at where they want to cut expenses.''
Senate Democrats vowed to make big changes and work with Senate Republicans who have the votes. But they part company on whether business tax cuts should be part of the final package.
"While at the same time we are giving tax cuts to wealthiest 1 percent in our state. I think that on its face that is just, that contrast is just unacceptable to us,'' said Senate Democratic Leader Jeff Woodburn.
The Senate is likely to insist there be money left unspent in the Rainy Day Fund; the House budget took the $9 million now in the fund and drained it.
"I think the Rainy Day Fund actually has to grow. Obviously the Senate passed legislation last year that will help grow the Rainy Day Fund,'' Morse added. "We'll see how that works itself through this year.''