With the two-year state budget in a state of limbo, state leaders have had to resort to emergency funding to keep certain services in operation.
This week, for example, the legislative fiscal committee approved $1.5 million in emergency funds to keep the state parks open for the foliage season, always a high traffic period for tourists to the Granite State.
Lawmakers, however, did not approve the $3 million requested for road construction work the N.H. Department of Transportation wanted to do this fall.
See an NHPR story here
Hassan, in a statement
on Wednesday, continued to push for a permanent solution to the budget stalemate.
“I am concerned that decisions to table other important items – such as delaying Department of Transportation funding for critical transportation infrastructure projects that are imperative to economic development and public safety – were motivated by politics and not the best interests of New Hampshire’s people and economy,” she said.
“I continue to urge Republicans in the legislature to negotiate in good faith and offer a true counter-proposal to my compromise budget plan that addresses the central issue of unpaid-for corporate tax cuts that create a $90 million hole in future budgets so that we can reach a fiscally responsible, bipartisan budget agreement as soon as possible.”
The governor in February offered an $11.5 billion budget for the two fiscal years starting July 1, 2015 and ending on June 30, 2017. The GOP-led House and GOP-led Senate eventually came back with an $11.2 billion budget that Hassan then vetoed. Among the points of contention are business tax cuts that the governor believes will create a $90 million spending gap in future budgets.
State government has been operating on a continuing resolution budget a last fiscal year’s levels. The resolution runs out on Dec. 30.
Gov. Hassan on Thursday ceremoniously signed two bills related to possible future expanded passenger rail service in the state.SB 63
restructures the New Hampshire Rail Transit Authority to operate more efficiently, while SB 88
establishes a legislative committee to study public-private partnerships for infrastructure projects such as commuter rail.
“A modern, safe transportation infrastructure is critical to the success of our people and businesses, and bringing commuter rail from Boston to Nashua and Manchester will help ensure that our people and businesses have the full range of modern transportation options that they need, help bring more young people to New Hampshire and help spur economic growth,” Hassan.
“Commuter rail is one of my priorities for attracting more young people to the Granite State and encouraging innovative economic growth, and I am proud to have signed these two bills that represent an important part of the process to moving commuter rail forward into law.”
Eversource new plan for the Northern Pass
hydroelectric lines from Canada into the Granite State received some cautious reviews from political leaders. Eversource hoped the new plan would address critics’ concerns about its route, its size and how much of the line would be put underground.
But U.S. Sens. Kelly Ayotte and Jeanne Shaheen say the plan still hasn’t gone far enough. Ayotte said she wants to see more lines buried - see an NHPR story here
. Shaheen also expressed her reservations in an NHPR story
Gov. Hassan in a statement
said more needs to be heard from the public impacted by the project, noting that“New Hampshire’s Site Evaluation Committee will undertake a rigorous review process that provides significant opportunities for all voices to be fully heard.”
A federal judge has ruled in favor of a New Hampshire law that creates a time limit for third parties, such as the Libertarian Party, to get on the ballot.
U.S. District Court Judge Paul Barbadoro wrote in his decision
that the law “prescribes a reasonable and nondiscriminatory ballot-access restriction that is justified by the state’s interest in requiring political parties to demonstrate a sufficient level of support.”
See a Concord Monitor story here
Among the many discussions currently on our Facebook page
is about the Northern Pass and whether you like the revised plan. Feel free to weigh in.