Budget balance: GOP addresses NH priorities

Budget balance: GOP addresses NH priorities

Republicans have made the most of their first time in control of the New Hampshire State House in 14 years.

Despite a nasty split in the House Republican Caucus, the GOP was able to come together to pass a balanced budget, headed for Gov. Chris Sununu’s signature.

The budget doubles state funding for the Alcohol Fund, and rebuilds a wing at the Sununu Youth Services Center to help teen addicts outside of the criminal justice system. It dedicates resources to mental health treatment, which is closely related to the state’s drug crisis. It provides $6.9 million for county drug courts.

The budget package includes $19.8 million to provide raises to direct care providers, and $12.3 million for raises for nursing home workers. These private contract employees have been waiting years for a raise.

Increases in higher education spending are targeted to the community college system and to student scholarships, rather than more money to the spendthrift university system.

The budget provides for these key priorities while rebuilding the state’s Rainy Day Fund, sending money to cities and towns for bridge and school construction, and continuing to lower New Hampshire’s high business tax rates.

The budget process was tense, and sometimes ugly. But Republicans produced a responsible, balanced two-year budget for New Hampshire. The GOP should be proud.