CONCORD, NEW HAMPSHIRE – Today, in a party line vote, Republicans on the House Finance Committee passed House Bills 1 and 2, the state budget bills. After the vote, Representative Mary Jane Wallner, ranking Democrat on the committee, released the following statement:
“The budget bills as amended and passed by House Republicans today contain significant underfunding of vital services, programs and positions throughout the state workforce as well as the inclusion of wide reaching and controversial policy matters that should have been worked out with public input in policy committees.
In the Department of Health and Human Services, Republicans added a $50 million back of the budget cut and unfunded 226 positions, further threatening to cripple critical services that are already underfunded and understaffed. They did not continue the $40 million in revenue sharing in the form of direct support to cities and towns across the state that was included in the Democrat’s budget last term. Republicans also added language directly targeted at closing family planning health care clinics by requiring burdensome physical separation from a reproductive health facility.
By underfunding education by $90 million, the budget also does not address the pandemic-related losses to school budgets which will have a direct impact on increasing local property taxes and on the quality of our children’s education.
In addition to these cuts and dozens more, we also saw completely unrelated policy changes being thrown into the budget at every turn in order to, as explained by the Chair of Finance, trade for votes for the budget from the far right-wing members of the Republican caucus. This is a completely inappropriate and disrespectful way to deal with the budget. Maybe if they had done the work to build a budget that doesn’t undermine and attack the services, departments and workforce that serve this state there would have been no need these backroom deals.”