Aug 28, 2015 6:00 PM
"As I understand it, if this is not approved, the parks will have to close and a significant impact to tourist revenue and travel in the state could be expected," said Rep. Neal Kurk, R-Weare, who chairs the Legislative Fiscal Committee.
Republican budget writers sum up their dilemma. Do they stick to their policy of not giving state agencies more money while the vetoed budget is still in limbo and reject this $1.3 million request to keep state parks open through this December?
"So this is a case where the vetoed budget is having a negative impact. I don’t think we should be closing parks. I think this is an emergency," said Rep. Lynne Ober, R-Hudson.
Lawmakers in June approved a continuing resolution to keep government operating until there’s a new state budget deal.
The chief administrator of state parks says this crisis is because parks typically spend more money in the first six months of the year.
"We spend about 60 percent in the first half of the year," said Jeff Rose, commissioner of the Department of Resources and Economic Development.
Gov. Maggie Hassan said she was pleased this request was approved but she says, "At the same time, I am concerned that decisions to table other important items…were motivated by politics and not the best interests of New Hampshire’s people and economy."
But Republican lawmakers say Hassan’s to blame for the continued impasse.
"We wouldn’t be in this pickle if she hadn’t vetoed the budget. We had the money in the budget," Ober said.