March 21

Dear Friend, 

This week House Republicans continued to show their lack of interest in working together to move our state forward.  Instead, they have relentlessly cut essential services in departments, and passed the burden onto our towns and cities.  

During Sunday’s House Finance Committee Division III Meeting, House Republicans voted to repeal New Hampshire’s bipartisan health care expansion plan, taking away health coverage from up to 55,000 Granite Staters at the end of 2016.

House Republicans also voted to massively cut funding for substance abuse treatment, including eliminating the Governor’s plan to extend the full substance use disorder benefit to traditional Medicaid, which would have helped provide substance abuse coverage to thousands of Granite Staters for the first time.    

During Monday’s House Finance Division III meeting, House Republicans continued to slash the budget for the Department of Health and Human Services, including drastic cuts to services for the elderly and individuals with developmental disabilities.

The House Finance Committee today voted to pass HB 357, downshifting responsibility for road and bridge maintenance to local communities.

The reckless bill would cut the Department of Transportation’s operating budget nearly 30 percent this year, and force DOT to lay off 692 workers - 50% of its workforce, eliminating 40% of highway maintenance jobs and 41% of bridge maintenance jobs. As a result of these devastating cuts, DOT will be forced to turn over 2,500 miles of roads and 1,000 bridges to municipalities.  

Over the past two year our state has been moving forward and overcoming the budget cuts that O'Brien instituted in 2011.  These budget cuts will put us in an even worse position moving forward.  Next week the Finance committee votes on the full budget.  I hope they see the harm they will be causing our state, and instead vote to continue to grow our economy by providing affordable higher education, safe communities, healthcare for our workforce, and good roads.  
 
Steve Shurtleff
Democratic Leader

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