CTN body text:RAYMOND — The Senate Finance Committee budget makes significant improvements over both the Governor’s budget and the House budget, including: lower total spending, the use of realistic revenue estimates, no tax or fee increases, and increased funding for education and the Department of Health and Human Services. The Senates version is a responsible budget that invests in education and critical services without raising taxes, including:
CTN body text:Spending: Without raising taxes, the Senate budget spends only what the state can afford at $10.7 billion over the biennium, a modest three-percent increase from the last biennium. The Senate’s total spend is approximately $400 million less than the Governor’s budget, and $300 million less than the House version.
CTN body text:Revenues: The Senate budget relies on realistic revenue estimates that recognize an increase in business taxes over the House budget, based on recent strong returns in the BPT and BET, but are more conservative in other traditional revenue categories, including a reduction of more than $100 million in expected MET revenues.
CTN body text:No Tax Increases: The Senate budget does not increase taxes or fees. It removes the 12-cent gas tax and the 20-cent tobacco tax passed by the House as well as House-passed tax increase on salt-water fishing and marriage licenses. Additionally, the Senate preserved the business tax cuts and reform efforts enacted last session that both the Governor and House proposed suspending.
CTN body text:Education: The Senate budget made education funding a priority by:
· Increasing the combined general fund spending to the University and Community College System (CCSNH) by over $100 million from last biennium. The USNH appropriation increased from $83 million to $153 million, and the appropriation for the CCSNH increased from $52.2 million to $82.5 million.
· Directing $24 million to restore and fully fund the UNIQUE Scholarship program for deserving, low-income New Hampshire residents attending college in state;