• Increases in the Salt Water Fishing license fee and Marriage License fee were removed.
• A provision allowing for the Governor to raid dedicated funds was deleted.
• The School Choice Tax Credit program passed last year will remain in effect.
• A reporting date was extended for an existing commission to study and report on the regulatory environment for expanded gambling.
• The state will pick up more of the counties’ costs for poor residents’ long-term care than had been proposed in the House budget, thereby helping the county tax payer.
• A loan and repayable grant was made to help the North Country’s Tri-County Community Action Program out of its current financial crisis and allow it to continue to provide services to its thousands of clients.
• The budget funds $16.9 million in general funds and $37 million in total funds for four labor contracts providing for a 6.2% cost-of-living increase for state employees, their first in several years. The cost of these contracts was not known to House or Senate finance committees during the budget process. It was first presented to the conference committee by the Governor’s labor negotiator. The funds to cover the cost came from unexpected revenues received in the current fiscal year from existing taxes.
• There are two major “back-of-the-budget” cuts in personnel: one is for $7 million in general funds at HHS; the other is for $10 million in general funds and $25 million in overall funds from all Executive branch agencies.
There were very few differences in program and service spending levels in the House and Senate versions of the budgets.
CTN body text:(Editor’s Note: NH State Representative Mike Kappler can be reached at email@example.com.)