Today, the House Finance committee completed work on HB1 and HB2 including two additional amendments.
These amendments seek to resolve two key issues:
- Restoring $19 million to education stabilization grant funding to towns and cities
- Restoring $34 million per year in funding to the Department of Transportation
The amendments to HB1 and HB2 to address these issues did the following:
- Kept funding to the University System of New Hampshire at current FY14-15 levels. This freed up $14.5 million.
- Redirected $50.8 million from the Renewable Energy Fund to the General Fund.
- Replaced the Department of Safety allocation from the Highway Fund with $23 million per year from general funds.
- Redirected a portion of the revenue from the 4.2 cent road toll increase enacted in 2014 (SB367) to fund DoT operations, not just betterment.
As a result of these amendments, the Department of Transportation is funded at a level comparable to our current operating budget.
As a result of these amendments, funds were also available to restore $19 million in stabilization grants to cities and towns.
There are no additional or increased taxes or fees associated with these amendments.
Stabilization grants will continue at the Governor’s level for 2016. In 2017, for those towns that have had a decline in enrollment and could have expected a correlated reduction in funding, no town will lose more than $750,000. For those towns whose enrollment has climbed and have been affected by the cap, the cap is now removed and they will be fully funded. The amendment has mitigated the reduction in funding for dozens of communities.
Towns and cities will also continue to receive their current level of municipal block grants allocated from the pre-existing (18 cent) road toll.
Lastly, the committee approved an additional amendment appropriating $300,000 per year to the Fish and Game Department, with half of those funds being earmarked to support overtime costs for search and rescue operations.
The budget now ends with a $168,000 surplus which will fall to the “Rainy Day” fund.
House Republican Office
New Hampshire House of Representatives
State House Room 313, Concord, NH 03301