The New Hampshire House and Senate both voted to adopt the budget that Her Highness the Governess Margaret Wood Hassan has said she will veto. The spending plan increases the overall budget by more than four and a half percent, while general fund spending jumps almost seven percent. Republicans patted themselves on the back for their responsible, common sense budget that increased funding for a whole bunch of stuff, while Hassan and Democrats in the General Court could hardly utter the word budget without first saying quote “the irresponsible Republican” beforehand. A key issue Her Highness has thrown the gauntlet over is the reductions in the Business Profits and Business Enterprise taxes included by lawmakers. They’re both being lowered by fractions of a fraction of a percent, with future reductions planned so that by the time they’re done, they’ve been lowered by only a fraction of a percent. Hassan says the move will blow big holes in the budget, this from the person who used revenues that don’t actually exist in her proposal and is demanding an increase in the Cigarette Tax to make up for the supposed revenue losses. Republicans say the tax cuts will help grow the economy and don’t need to be paid for.
Also a point of contention is the expansion of Medicaid. G O P leadership appears to be following the agreement they cobbled together with Hassan when they agreed to expand the program which formally installed Obamacare in the state. Since passing the measure, some forty thousand people have signed on and costs for the regular Medicaid program shot through the roof. Hassan, who wants any business tax cuts to contain a sunset provision to analyze whether or not the cuts are producing greater economic activity, doesn’t seem to want to the legislature to follow the sunset provision she agreed to in the Medicaid Expansion, so that program’s data could be assessed. We’ve linked to our interview with Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley on the topic from earlier in the week.
In addition to the budget, lawmakers met a demand Hassan made in issuing her budget veto threat. They adopted a continuing resolution to keep state government functioning without interruption starting on July first, which is the first day of the fiscal year. Politically and practically, this move clears the deck for Hassan’s veto as there will be little if any consequence, practical or otherwise, to her for the veto. Girard at Large has learned that the resolution’s six month window is essentially designed not just to give everybody a break, but to see how state revenues perform over the summer to know whether or not they may be able to spend even more money than proposed. In the meantime, funding will remain roughly level with current allocations and emergency spending provisions that will allow the Joint Fiscal Committee and the Executive Council to spend more if needed.
News from our own backyard continues after this.
Building on Hope, an organization of New Hampshire volunteers who have completed over one million dollars in community-funded, non-profit renovation projects in the past six years, announced the Manchester Police Athletic League or M PAL will receive major renovations to its facilities in two thousand sixteen. Building on Hope representatives were joined by dozens of Manchester Police Department and city officials yesterday at the Michael Briggs Community Center at the corner of Beech Street and Lake Ave. The building, named in honor of fallen Manchester Police Officer Michael Briggs, is in need of major renovations to better serve the eighty six hundred at-risk youth living within a mile of the center.
Initial estimates to renovate the sixteen thousand square foot, one hundred five year old facility are topping one million dollars. Organizers say the effort will require enormous community support and multiple funding sources and they are confident it can be accomplished.
M PAL was established in nineteen ninety two and the group opened the Michael Briggs Community Center in the former Saint Cecilla’s Hall in two thousand four. The organization provides a safe and positive after school environment for Manchester’s inner-city youth, offering an alternative to at-risk behavior and encouraging positive relationships between law enforcement and young people. Each day up to one hundred youth between the ages of five and twenty one go to M PAL after school to participate in free activities including judo, aikido, wrestling, boxing, rugby and lacrosse in addition to receiving academic help from Manchester police officers. M PAL also offers a Venture Boy Scout Troop giving inner-city kids the opportunity to enjoy outdoor activities as well as a computer room staffed with volunteer student tutors from Saint Anselm College.
The building is in need of updates to electric and heating systems, appropriate flooring for athletic activities, and a resurfaced parking lot. A commercial kitchen is eyed to provide healthy snacks and meals to many kids who do not have adequate access to nutritious food at home. The installation of basketball hoops and conversion of two floors of vacant areas into usable space will bring the facility to its full capacity and make room for more participants.
Building on Hope and MPAL are seeking out help from the community to complete this project. Tax-deductible contributions, volunteer commitments or donation of materials are essential to completing this project. For more information or to make a donation visit building on hope dot com.
That’s news from our own backyard, Girard at Large hour ___ is next.