House Speaker Shawn Jasper, R-Hudson, and Senate President Chuck Morse, R-Salem, made a move to resolve the state budget impasse but Gov. Maggie Hassan was not impressed.

Aug 21, 2015 6:57 PM

NH1 News Political Report: August 20, 2015 - The must-read, weekly NH political tip sheet

Private talks continue but Gov. Maggie Hassan and Republican legislative leaders really not any step closer to resolving their dispute over the next two year state budget.

As we had foreshadowed some weeks ago, Senate President Chuck Morse, R-Salem, and House Speaker Shawn Jasper, R-Hudson, decided that one of the major concessions they could afford to make was to find $12 million for a two-year contract for state employees.

The union-negotiated deal was not part of either the House or Senate-passed state budget plans.

Hassan had put enough money for the contract into the budget she first offered last February.

The GOP gambit to include money for the union contract did not lead to any movement, however.

Hassan pointed out legislative leaders still are insisting on expensive business tax cuts without offering a way to permanently pay for them.

This is big news for the State Employees Association. Even though no progress was made this raises the likelihood that when a final deal does arrive it’s going to include the 2 percent pay raises for roughly 10,000 state employees.


While Jeb Bush reference to ending citizenship for "anchor babies" has caused controversy, a prominent New Hampshire Republican held the same view during her first run for public office.

Candidate for Senate Kelly Ayotte back in 2010 offered her support for amending the Constitution to get rid of birthright citizenship for the children of illegal immigrants.

Ayotte did point out at the time the best focus would be to secure the border.

Here’s how Ayotte put it back then according to the liberal blog Huffington Post that reported on the controversy back in August 2010.

"Well, I know that there's a number of proposals that are being brought forward right now to look at that issue. And I think that we should. Because one of the issues is we have to, obviously, when we look at our Constitution, if we're going to propose any changes to it we have to be very thoughtful and careful about that because it's a great document," Ayotte said.

"But that said, we have people who are coming here just to become, to get healthcare and then leave. And they're not even being part of our society and there's something wrong with that. But fundamentally, I think the best thing we can do right now is secure our borders, enforce our existing immigration laws and English is the language of our country."


Meanwhile, Ayotte got a boost to her own credibility with the non-partisan panning an attack ad from the national Planned Parenthood that began airing in New Hampshire earlier this month.

"A Planned Parenthood ad wrongly implies that New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte supports shutting down the government in order to defund Planned Parenthood. She doesn’t. The ad also exaggerates the potential impact of a shutdown," Factcheck concludes.

In fact, Ayotte did vote for a bill to defund Planned Parenthood but at the time she was one of the Senate Republicans leading the opposition to forcing a government shutdown so that they could force the defunding of Planned Parenthood.

Ayotte was one of four GOP senators up for re-election in 2016 targeted in the cookie cutter ad. The other three are Rob Portman, Pat Toomey and Ron Johnson.

"In other words, there were some disruptions to the programs highlighted in the ads, but by and large those programs continued to operate normally," Factcheck sums up.

"Planned Parenthood can legitimately warn of the (slim) possibility of a government shutdown by those who oppose funding the group — some Republicans indeed support such action. But not Ayotte. And the ad’s images of seniors questioning what will happen to their Social Security and Medicare imply a far more dire consequence than most seniors would face."


What about the education funding lawsuit brought by Dover this week? Is that likely to convince Gov. Hassan and GOP legislative leaders to find more money for education aid in a compromise budget deal?

The answer is probably not and here’s why. The Dover suit is not just about the failure of the state to provide education aid to growing school districts like Dover in this budget; it goes back to 2010.

That’s when lawmakers decided to prevent education aid from going up substantially for school districts where enrollments were going up; Windham and Dover are two of those that should have most benefitted in recent years but did not.

Instead the Legislature two budgets ago created a cap on how much additional aid school districts could get from one, two-year cycle to the next.

That’s where the cut in aid came in. Legislators decided to do this mainly so that they could continue sending the same amount of grants even to school districts that had declining enrollments such as Derry.

The so-called "hold harmless" grants became expensive, more than $10 million worth in the past budget but politically it became a requirement because legislators did not want to be responsible for raising local property taxes.

So the first reason not to answer Dover’s lawsuit with more education aid is financial - there’s not a lot of free money lying around.

The second reason is legal: the Legislature acting at this point to change the policy would be a tacit admission that the past policy discriminated against Dover and would at this point strengthen their hand in court.


Meanwhile, Ayotte continues to get bipartisan points in public as she once again co-hosts another forum on the Veterans Choice Card this coming Friday at the White Mountain Community College in Berlin.

Joining Ayotte at this event is Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and Congresswoman Annie Kuster, both D-NH.

The forum will be moderated by Mike Coughlin, CEO of the Tri-County Community Action Program in Berlin.

Shaheen and Ayotte hosted a similar forum at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics in Manchester in May.


Co-Quotes of the Week:

"I have offered two potential compromises to address what appears to be your principal concern - business tax cuts. Your letter in no way seeks to address the critical issue of the long-term fiscal and economic instability created by the unpaid-for-corporate tax cuts in your budget." - Gov. Maggie Hassan’s response to Republican legislative leaders who tried to resolve the impasse over the state budget.

"Instead of political posturing for her United States Senate bid, Governor Hassan should focus on working across the aisle and ending months of fiscal uncertainty caused by her irresponsible budget veto." - Republican State Chairwoman Jennifer Horn charges Hassan is prolonging this budget battle because she continues to toy with a US Senate run.


--  Dealing with the Disease of Addiction? Click here for help --

More from

NH1 News Debates
NH1 News Replay

NH1 on Twitter

NH1 SkyView Cameras

NH1 on Facebook

Check out NH1 News Rail Polls on LockerDome on LockerDome