The Good (with caveats):
- Funding substance abuse treatment/prevention higher than in many years, ($3.2M/year plus including it in normal Medicaid for first time). Caveats: possible later cuts; the 16-year-old funding formula, never respected, has been reworded to provide half what it promised.
- Restored all the elder services, emergency shelters, and local health & human services offices (Claremont) which the House cut. Caveat: later cuts, unless we can solve revenue problem.
- Restored almost all the mental health funding cut by the House but needed to avoid re-opening last term’s lawsuit settlement; we got lapse flexibility that may allow the last $1.4M to be managed.
- Restored enough of the community college (CCSNH) funding, but not university funding, to avoid a tuition increase. Caveats: CCSNH has been cutting teaching positions for over a year to manage and will continue to; university promises only a less than 10% tuition increase for in-state; the only state scholarship program is to rely solely on donations.
- Provided a large increase per pupil for charter schools, restored normal catastrophic aid funding; shifted adequacy funding so that towns with declining school populations get much less and those with growing populations get more, unfortunately regardless of student need (Claremont was hit, also Lebanon a bit)
- Restored some of the developmental disability
- Restored most transportation (roads & bridges) Caveats: underfunding and dependence on one-time funding for smaller roads/bridges reconstruction; only half the normal snow-plowing funds; only 30% of the capital equipment funds they need to replace unsafe aged vehicles.
- Restored half the minimum overtime budget needed to staff the state prisons safely; this is better than the House version! Corrections cannot attract permanent hires at permitted wage levels.
- Restored enough public safety funding to operate. Biggest caveat other than potential later cuts is that they cannot replace the 27 cruisers lost in this past winter’s storms unless unexpected revenue comes in.
- Restored most of the tourism promotion money depended on by state’s restaurants and lodging places to bring tourists from outside the state (cut $1M, 11%) – and by our third largest tax.
- Increased the county share of nursing home funding by only $4.8M, or 1.9% in year one and 0.6% in year two (this is good because earlier versions had it worse).
- Restored some of R&M revenue sharing, but only in FY17, when the money may not be there.
- Kept the SB367 2014 promise of $8.2M for municipal roads, though it cut the money for smaller state roads. Because of this and FY17 revenue sharing, total downshifting might decrease.
And outside the budget: the capital budget, HB25, included $800,000 in new money for affordable housing lending.
Rep Susan Almy