House and Senate budget writers have worked diligently to produce a thoughtful and responsible budget that meets the needs of the people of New Hampshire.
This budget includes carefully considered appropriations that will allow our state to take care of those most in need while enabling a stronger economy while promoting job growth through reducing the tax burden on our business community and making New Hampshire more competitive.
This budget maintains important House priorities including increased funding to our state’s charter schools, and minimizing impacts on local property taxpayers. Most importantly, it contains no new taxes or fees.
This budget provides much needed funding in our fight against substance abuse, increases funding for local schools and higher education, invests in our state’s continued efforts to improve our infrastructure, ensure adequate public safety, and appropriates more money for health and human services than any previous budget in our state’s history.
The House and Senate made an important decision not to include an extension of Medicaid Expansion in any version of the budget. Review of data, costs, and the federal government’s commitment to its share of funding will be considered in the next legislative session, separately from the budget.
New Hampshire’s taxpayers deserve an honest, transparent, and fiscally responsible budget that promotes efficiency and accountability, and is built on realistic revenue estimates. We are confident this budget leads us in that direction.
The Committee of Conference produced a budget that relies on sound revenue estimates ensuring we only spend money we can reasonably rely on receiving. The budget will also more than double the size of the state’s rainy day fund, which will help our state’s fiscal security and bond rating.
Very importantly, this budget does not contain any new taxes or fees. It relies on revenue from existing sources and the increased revenue we expect as a result of an improving economy. It also protects local property taxpayers from downshifting or costs or unfunded mandates.
Reducing Business Taxes to Help Spur Economic Growth:
This budget contains a plan to lower the state’s business profits tax by 11.4% over the next 3 years. New Hampshire has come of this highest corporate tax rates in the nation. In order to compete for jobs, we must be more business friendly. Lowering our BPT rate by 11.4%will help us be more competitive in attracting new business and help our current businesses stay in New Hampshire to grow and create more jobs.
Health and Human Services:
This budget provides much needed increase in funding for substance abuse treatment, services for the developmentally disabled, mental health and elder care services, including meals on wheels and Servicelink. In fact, this budget spends more on health and human services than any prior state budget. Funds were made available for emergency shelters and an additional $1 million was appropriated to fund 10 additional beds at the New Hampshire hospital.
This budget fully funds our Community College system, allowing them to keep tuition affordable. It also increases funding to the University System by 5.8% for a total of $162 million. Communities affected by a cap in education adequacy funding will experience a boost in funding for their local schools, with the cap being removed in FY 2018. Education stabilization grants will continue at 96% of current levels, ensuring no school district will see a dramatic reduction in funding.
This budget also increases charter school funding by $1000 per student, ensuring these institutions continue to provide an innovative alternative for parents looking for education solutions that fit the unique needs of their children.
Public Safety and Infrastructure:
This budget funds priorities in the Department of Safety and Department of transportation that will ensure our efforts to improve roads and bridges continue, and our citizens can feel safe that our State Police had the resources they need to keep crime low. This budget ensures municipal block grants from road toll revenue continue, and DMV substations remain open for business. Very importantly this budget abides by state law that states that gas tax revenue be used for our roads and bridges and not diverted to other areas of government.
Travel and Tourism:
This budget provides $4.2 million per year in funding for travel and tourism promotion, ensuring one of our state’s biggest industries continues to be an economic benefit. An additional $5 million in revenue from the meals and rooms tax, which is highly dependent on our tourism industry, will be distributed to cities and towns, which is good for local property taxpayers.
Efficiency and Accountability:
This budget takes steps to make government more efficient by merging offices, sharing resources and asking agencies to find ways to do more with the same amount of resources.
This budget also takes steps to demand more accountability from government agencies. For example, this budget allows for more oversight of the liquor commission by requiring legislative review of transfers over $75k in their budget. It also adds legislative appointees to the university system board to increase oversight of their expenditures and operations to answer the best decisions are being made to improve the quality of education they provide.