By NH State Representative Mike Kappler
Carriage Towne News
RAYMOND —Well, the 2011-12 legislative term is over, and effective on December 5, the new legislators were sworn in and the new 2013-14 term began. It will be a different House this time. As it looks now, the House will be made up of about 220 Democrats and 180 Republicans, which will require people to work together more with those from the other side of the aisle. I see many close votes coming on a number of issues.
Recently, there were over three days spent on presentations at the Governor’s Fiscal Year 2014-15 Operating Budget public hearings. The law that we passed in 2011 requiring the agencies to submit a budget, and then a second budget with a spending level 10% below their current budget, was basically ignored. The three days worth of their wishes came in at about $3.3 Billion, an increase of 26% over current spending levels. The worse agency was Health and Human Services, asking for an increase of $321M or 29%.
The Finance Committee in both the House and Senate will be very busy, burning many a night light, trying to come up with an acceptable budget that both chambers will pass. They really have their work cut out for them this time. Our new Governor will be giving the joint session of the legislature her version of the new budget on February 15, then the House Finance Committee will be getting to work, hopefully sending it to the Senate in mid April.
One thing they have to do is keep an eye on revenue coming in to see how this budget ends up on June 30.
On the lighter side, at the County level, we should be in good shape to continue keeping our County taxes down. We have a strong team of dedicated County workers, and a Delegation that works well with them.
(Editor’s Note: NH State Representative Mike Kappler can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)