Garry Rayno : Senate Finance crafts funds extra to Sununu’s liking | Columns

The House sent a message to Governor Chris Sununu when the members approved their budget plan about two months ago.

They removed some of the governor’s priorities like his college loan program for graduate students in high-demand areas, a school infrastructure program for broadband and security measures, a new safe 30-bed psychiatric hospital on the New Hampshire Hospital site, a volunteer family – and Sick Leave The governor’s program enabled Planned Parenthood to provide health services to low-income people, and the governor’s scholarship program had removed all but $ 1.

And the House of Representatives household clerks moved money in a significant way by adding nearly $ 30 million to nursing homes in the county to prevent a significant hike in property tax. $ 11 million for the two higher education systems to fund them for the next two years while officials decide on merging the two systems – another revised Sununu priority – and $ 100 million in general funding to offset statewide education property tax dollars for the second year of the biennium.

The House of Representatives budget resumes the state prison education and training programs that Sununu removed from its budget, and cuts its proposed Department of Health and Human Services budget by more than $ 72 million: $ 22.6 million . $ 30 million in staff – over 225 positions – and $ 30 million in fiscal 2022 and $ 20 million in fiscal 2023.

And they fueled the heat in the Culture Wars by including the contents of House 544, which prohibits “the spread of certain divisive concepts about gender and race in state contracts, grants and training programs,” and the cuts to a governor are substantial reduces authority in a state of emergency.

The message from the household clerks sent to Sununu is that your budget is overspending and does not contain provisions that the very conservative Freedom Caucus believes must be budgeted for their support.

The Senate budget sends a very different message to the governor: “We have your back.”

Sununu said the House budget got out of hand when he was passed and he will turn to the Senate to restore order.

Earlier this month, Sununu said, “We have a few things at the back that we need to tighten up,” but generally stated that he thought he liked the direction the Senate was taking better than the plan of the House.

While the Senate did not restore everything that the house had removed or changed, it did take care of many of the governor’s priorities.

The raw numbers are very similar in the House, Senate, and Governor budgets. The governor’s plan spends a total of $ 13.8 billion, including federal, highway, fish, and game funds, and other monies, including general government funds, while the House budget is $ 13.67 billion and the Senate is $ 13 .5 billion US dollars.

Overall fund income for Sununus Plan is $ 5.5 billion, the House $ 5.4 billion, and the Senate $ 5.49 billion.

The fund’s overall resources are $ 5.47 billion for the governor, $ 5.42 billion for the house and $ 5.39 billion for the Senate.

The numbers may be similar, but the budgets are a study of contrasts between GOP factions in lawmakers in some areas and in lockstep in others.

It should be noted that the House budget received no Democratic votes while only two Republicans voted against.

The partisan difference is also likely to be in the Senate with a 14-10 vote on Thursday for House Bill 1, the budget numbers, and House Bill 2, the trailer bill with legislative changes to reflect the numbers and a whole lot more this year, including a school voucher program called “Freedom of Education Accounts”.

The governor supports the “choice of education” but has not said directly whether he would support the program contained in the Senate budget.

However, there are more definitive bowing to Sununu in the Senate budget, including restoring his family and the voluntary medical leave program.

The Senate locked in $ 30 million for a new 24-bed forensic hospital or safe psychiatric hospital and left the door open for a private company to operate the facility.

And the Senate removed the House of Representatives requirement that an abortion provider separate these services financially and physically from other health services in the organization.

The provision is aimed at planned parenting, and the governor has voted both for and against health care contracts for the company citing the same provision.

The ban’s lifting was only part of the change proposed by Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley (R-Wolfeboro), who appears to be the link between the governor’s office and Senate finances in the final days of working on the Senate budget .

The other part of the amendment included the provisions of House Bill 625, which prohibits abortions after 24 weeks of pregnancy without exception for the health of the fetus, rape or incest, and criminally holds a doctor who performs an abortion after the deadline.

The Senate put HB 625 on the table last week, where it will likely stay until the budget is cleared.

Sununu has always claimed to be pro-choice, but some pro-choice proponents aren’t so sure.

What the Senate did was give Sununu a chance so he wouldn’t have to veto or sign the bill and say, “I couldn’t veto the budget for that one provision, but I don’t like it.”

The change would allow the usual planned parenting plan to go to the Executive Board in the next fiscal year, but the current council is unlikely to approve it at all.

Whenever you see maneuvers like this, you always wonder why Democrats never seem to be able to do the same thing.

The Senate also managed to find the money to remove the consistently slashed $ 50 million in the health and human services budget, but it did not restore all of the department’s positions that the House had removed from the budget.

Senate finances also restored money for the governor’s scholarship fund, but left the higher education merger in the air and is likely to be determined in the budget conference committee.

Sununu proposed that the two boards of trustees be merged on July 1st. Instead, the House set up an 11-person commission to investigate the merger and its impact on good and evil, and issue a report in January.

The House also gave the commission $ 1.5 million to do its job. Senator Lou D’Allesandro (D-Manchester) proposed a change with more specific expertise for members of the commission, adding $ 500,000 to give her $ 2 million for her work.

This amendment was not voted on by the finance committee, but the members voted to remove the commission and the money.

Senate Finance also approved an alternative to the “divisive concepts” language, but the new language was also criticized by groups opposing the original provision.

Opponents include civil servants and business, education, faith and advocacy organizations.

Sununu had said he opposed the language in HB 544 and would veto the budget if it remained part of the package but did not comment on the alternative.

The Finance Committee also removed the House of Representatives provision requiring lawmakers to approve an extension of the state of emergency beyond the original 21-day declaration.

The other issue was House Bill 417, which also required the approval of the Executive Board to accept or dispense federal funds during an emergency and the approval of the Finance Committee for spending over $ 100,000.

While these provisions remain in compromise with the governor, there is also a provision that the governor could accept and spend money without legal oversight to protect the immediate health, safety, and wellbeing of New Hampshire citizens.

That was the sticking point for both sides of the aisle with what has happened in the past 14 months, with no legislative control over spending.

The House Freedom Caucus has registered its opposition, stating that the initial restriction is critical to supporting the budget.

“Despite a grave warning from the Chairman of the House Finance Committee, Ken Weyler (R-Kingston), about the importance of certain policy choices that will be included in the proposed 2022-23 budget, the Senate, the necessary emergency powers and other measures, necessary to ensure passage through the house, “the group said in a statement released last week.

“When the NH-Haus passed the most freedom-friendly budget since 2011, important political elements were included in the Budget Trailer Act in order to address the necessary reforms of the emergency powers. The language has been specifically included in the budget to ensure it goes beyond the governor’s potential objections, re-balancing the powers of the New Hampshire government, and adding extra controls to executive authority during a state of emergency. “

The Senate will pass its version of the budget package on Thursday, but there is still a long and winding road to go before a new biennial budget is approved by lawmakers and sent to the governor.

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