CONCORD, NEW HAMPSHIRE – April 7, House Republicans succeed in passing their version of the state budget, House Bills 1 and 2. Following the final vote, Representative Mary Jane Wallner (D-Concord), former Chair of the House Finance Committee, released the following statement:
“House Bills 1 and 2 as amended by Republicans on the Finance Committee and passed by the support of the Republican Majority do not meet the needs of our citizens or our state. House Bill on contains $50 million in back of the budget cuts to the Department of Health and Human Services on top of underfunding 226 positions, threatening the effectiveness of dozens of critical services and throwing matching federal funds down the drain. The hypocrisy of massive cuts to funding and jobs in the name of “tightening our belt” and handing out $10 million of public money to private citizens who voluntarily took risky investments is mind boggling.
House Republicans also failed to fund $15 million in grants for wastewater treatment projects, many of which have already been promised to communities. Instead of funding these grants or any of the dozens of services cut, they prioritized putting over $30 million in the rainy day fund. Recovering from a global pandemic is not the time to be saving for a “rainy day”.
I have been in the legislature and worked hard on state budgets for a long time, House Bills 1 and 2 fall short in ways that I have never seen before. In addition to the layers and layers of cuts and underfunding, this budget sets dangerous precedents about the role of the Finance Committee and undermines the very foundation of the legislature, our policy committee structure. In the name of getting votes, Republicans added policies to the budget that have repeatedly failed on their own merits, were just recently voted down by policy committees or have never even had a public hearing. This budget is not good for our state, not good for the legitimacy of the legislature, and absolutely not good for our constituents.”