Concord, N.H. – Senate Democratic Leader Jeff Woodburn and House Democratic Leader Steve Shurtleff today called on Republicans in the state legislature to drop their attempt to cut funds for priorities like higher education, substance misuse, and transportation by putting forward a continuing resolution based on their own proposed FY16 budget, not FY15.
Woodburn and Shurtleff said Democrats would offer a continuing resolution that authorizes agencies to spend 96 percent of the first six months of the 2016 budget, addressing concerns that the Republican budget is unbalanced.
“Despite their budget being unbalanced and making false promises, Republicans in the legislature have for weeks claimed that they support strengthening investment in some areas. But now, when faced with the opportunity to demonstrate their support for higher education, substance misuse treatment, public safety and more, Republicans are walking away from those priorities by putting forward a continuing resolution which would cut from the funding levels in their own budget proposal,” Senator Woodburn said. “If they truly support the economic priorities they claim they do, Republicans will stick to the funding levels they proposed for FY16 while working with the Governor to reach a truly balanced, fiscally responsible and bipartisan budget compromise.”
Past legislatures have set continuing resolutions based on the next fiscal year’s proposed budget, or “going-forward” levels. In 2003, when Republican Governor Craig Benson vetoed the budget, the Republican legislature passed a continuing resolution based off the budget bill passed that year for the fiscal year to come.
Moving forward using a continuing resolution based on the Fiscal Year 2016 budget as approved by the committee of conference would allow for funding increases to home care providers, for substance abuse, mental health and charter schools, travel and tourism promotion and public schools. It would also ensure that agencies would be able to immediately use the federal funds allocated in the next budget, for example the Fish and Game budget includes federal funds allocated for emergency relief for commercial fisherman hurt by changes in federal fishing rules.
“Republicans in the legislature should follow past precedent and support a continuing resolution based on their own proposed FY16 budget,” said Representative Shurtleff. “The only explanation for why Republicans would cut critical priorities from the funding levels they themselves proposed in their budget is to deliberately inflict harm on our state’s economy in an attempt to score political points. If Republicans insist on a continuing resolution that cuts from their own budget proposal, it will only reinforce that Republicans can’t be taken remotely seriously on key priorities for our state’s economy like substance abuse, mental health, transportation and our seniors.”