· Increasing adequate education grants to cities and towns by nearly
$4 million over the biennium;
· Fully funding existing charter schools and providing funding for four new charter schools;
· Maintaining the School Choice Scholarship Program.
Health and Human Services: The Senate budget appropriates $300 million more to the Department compared to last biennium. This includes full funding for the Developmentally Disabled waitlist, restoration of the breast and cervical cancer screening and prevention program, and a significant increase in payments to County nursing homes over the House version. In addition, the Senate maintained the House’s level of funding for the Children in Need of Services (CHINS) program, domestic violence prevention, and mental health services.
CTN body text:Uncompensated Care Program: The Senate increased funding for the state’s uncompensated care program by $20 million over the House’s budget to ensure both critical access hospitals as well as the state’s larger hospitals receive reimbursement for a portion of the care they provide to low-income patients.
CTN body text:Expanded Medicaid: The Senate budget removes provisions expanding Medicaid in New Hampshire, opting instead to study the long-term costs of expansion via a bipartisan commission. The commission is charged with issuing a report by next December on a wide range of issues including the use of private insurers to cover New Hampshire residents and the impact the expansion will have on taxpayers, patients, and providers.
CTN body text:Dedicated Funds: The Senate budget removes provisions requested by the Governor that would have granted her significant authority to raid dedicated funds to fill potential budget shortfalls. The Senate also ended the Governor’s planned raid of the Land and Community Heritage Investment Program (LCHIP) fund, allowing the full $8.5 million raised by the program to fund conservation efforts as intended by law.
The big thing now is, will the House except the Senate version, and pass a good budget? The choices are: pass as is, or vote no and then request a Committee of Conference (CofC). I’m betting that House votes for CofC to try and get their big spender items put back in it.
As the Senate Finance Committee Chair, Senator Chuck Morse leads the way, creating this Senate version. “Thank You, and well done, Senator Morse”.
CTN body text:(Editor’s Note: NH State Representative Mike Kappler can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)