May 27, 2015 9:23 AM
Landrigan: State Senate budget plan approved; business tax cuts but no payraise for state workers
CONCORD - Senate budget writers will wrap up work today on a two-year state budget plan that spends $2.8 billion in state dollars, nearly $100 million more the House plan.
In a key, near final decision, they approved cutting two business taxes that will cost $14 million starting in 2017, the second year of the budget.
Senate President Chuck Morse, R-Salem, said the tax cuts send an important signal to business owners and should help attract new and expanded business.
Senate Democratic Leader Jeff Woodburn, D-Dalton, said the tight budget can’t afford the revenue loss and the money would be better spent restoring spending.
The plan also would deliver a 3 percent increase in rates for caregivers that help the disabled and senior citizens stay living at home and not in a nursing home or other institution.
A gaping omission in the budget plan is that it does not include more than $10 million needed to pay for the two-year pay raise contract for state workers.
The House-passed budget also did not include any money for the contract hammered out over the winter by negotiators for Gov. Maggie Hassan, the State Employees Association and other unions.
The Senate Finance Committee is expected to give its final vote on the plan this morning.
The full Senate will vote on it next week.
Once it’s approved, House and Senate budget negotiators will be named with the charge to come up with a compromise plan before the current budget cycle ends June 30.