Senate approves $11.8 billion state budget
CONCORD (AP) — The Latest on the New Hampshire Senate's debate on the state budget (all times local):
The Republican-led New Hampshire Senate has approved an $11.8 billion budget, but still must vote on a companion bill making policy changes to support the appropriations.
Supporters argued that the budget proposal demonstrated commitment to solving major problems such as the state's heroin and opioid crisis and a failing child protection system while shielding taxpayers from tax or fee increases. Under the plan, spending would increase 1.4 percent in the first year and 1.1 percent the second.
The plan was approved along party lines, 14-9. Democrats, who complained the plan fails to meet the needs of the state's most vulnerable residents, unsuccessfully offered amendments to boost funding for mental health care, higher education and other programs.
Republicans in the New Hampshire Senate are rejecting attempts by Democrats to add to the budget they're debating in Concord.
The Senate is debating a $11.8 billion, two-year budget plan crafted by its Finance Committee. Democrats, who complained the plan fails to meet the needs of the state's most vulnerable residents, are offering a series of amendments, all of which are failing along party lines.
The rejected proposals would have increased funding for mental health programs, paid for services for people with developmental disabilities, created services for families involved in the child protection system and allowed the University System of New Hampshire to freeze tuition for one year.
Debate over an $11.8 billion, two-year budget plan is underway in the New Hampshire Senate.
The Republican-led Senate voted 14-9 along party lines Wednesday afternoon to accept the plan crafted by its Finance Committee, opening the door to further amendments from the floor. Democrats, who complained the plan fails to meet the critical needs of the state, plan to offer around a dozen amendments seeking to add funding in areas such as mental health, child protection and education.
Democrats argued that the GOP plan includes revenue estimates that are too low and tax reductions that are too high. Republicans defended their plan, saying it both protects taxpayers and the state's most vulnerable residents.
The debate comes after the House failed to pass its own version of the budget last month.
The New Hampshire Senate is expected to vote on an $11.8 billion, two-year budget plan that some Republicans say spends too much, while Democrats argue it doesn't go far enough.
The vote Wednesday comes after the House failed to pass its own version of the budget last month. The House could concur with the Senate version or request a committee of conference to provide its input.
Thursday is the last day for the House and Senate to act on bills that originated in the opposite chamber. The Senate is set to meet on Wednesday and Thursday, while the House is in session Thursday.
The deadline to act on all committee of conference reports is June 22.