Executive Order on VA Benefits

Concord, NH – Today, Governor Chris Sununu signed an executive order that allows physicians at Manchester’s Veterans Affairs Medical Center to provide medical care to VA patients outside of the Manchester VA facility.

“The state of New Hampshire is committed to delivering results for New Hampshire’s veterans,” said Governor Chris Sununu. “This executive order provides for a continuum of services for our veterans, and we will stop at nothing to deliver the best care. Period.”

Dr. Joseph Pepe, President & CEO, Catholic Medical Center “This is about stepping up for New Hampshire’s veterans, and Catholic Medical Center is proud to work alongside the Department of Veterans Affairs and Governor Sununu so that we can ensure New Hampshire’s veterans are taken care of right now.”

Alfred “Al” Montoya, Acting Director of the Manchester VA Medical Center said, “On Friday, I asked Governor Sununu to consider allowing Manchester VA providers licensed outside New Hampshire to practice in our community hospitals. Today, less than one business day later, we celebrate the executive order that makes that possible. This action will result in greater access to care for New Hampshire’s Veterans, which is precisely what they deserve.”

Ben Vihstadt
Benjamin.vihstadt@nh.gov
603-271-2121

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Debunking Budget Rumors

Claim: “the budget will exceed $12 billion for the first time ever”

As amended, the proposed House budget spends $5,899,427,839 in FY18 and $5,954,661,954 in FY19 in total funds for a total of $11,854,089,793 over the two year biennium. It does not exceed $12 billion.

Claim: Spending is increasing by 7.3%

When comparing the dollar amounts appropriated in HB1 & HB2 in 2015 to the same data in HB1 & HB2 as proposed by the House Finance committee, total fund spending over the 2-year biennium will increase by 4.4-4.9%.

Here’s our chart from the non-partisan Legislative Budget Assistant’s Office. They have 3 comparisons depending on which part or parts of the budget bills you are comparing. Any way you slice it, none of them are 7.3%:

budgetpic

Claim: “The increase in this one budget is very nearly as much as the increase in BOTH of Maggie Hassan’s budgets combined.”

If you add up the Hassan increases in 2013 and 2015 it totals $1.285 billion. $1.285 billion would equal an 11% increase, which we would oppose, because that would be unaffordable.

Claim: “We cannot let government grow at this rate. It’s bad for our economy for government to grow faster than the private sector; high spending leads to high taxes; larger government means less liberty.”

We agree. That’s why the Republicans on the House Finance committee approved a budget that is fiscally responsible, and meets the needs of our state without raising any tax or fee

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Roads and Bridges

House Speaker, Finance Chair Announce Property Tax Relief, Infrastructure Aid in House Budget

CONCORD – House Speaker Shawn Jasper and leaders of the House Finance Committee today announced details of two initiatives to be included in the House version of the state budget bills that will focus on returning money back to cities and towns. In addition to existing programs directing funds to municipalities for education funding, meals and rooms tax revenue distribution, and road betterment funds, these House budget provisions propose to increase state aid.

They include:

  • $25 million per year in direct aid to cities and towns to assist with property tax relief.
  • Up to $50 million from FY 2017 will be set aside to assist municipalities with infrastructure improvements, which may include roads, bridges, schools and other core projects essential to communities.

“We are committed to increasing aid to cities and towns in an effort to provide some relief to property taxpayers. With an aging population, we need to protect our seniors’ ability to stay in their homes,” said House Speaker Shawn Jasper (R-Hudson), “We also need to keep home ownership affordable for the workers and young families we need to retain in our state in order to sustain our economy. These programs will offset costs that our municipalities incur, and we hope they are the driving force in local decisions to ease the burden on local property taxpayers.”

“House members will not only be voting on a fiscally responsible budget that meets the needs of our state. This will be a vote for or against sending more money back to the communities they represent,” said House Finance committee chairman Rep. Neal Kurk (R-Weare), “Our job is to provide essential state services while keeping government affordable. The House is moving forward on the governor’s call to assist cities and towns, protect property taxpayers, and make cost effective investments in infrastructure at the local level.”

 

Background:

 

Division I of the House Finance committee will review formulas and methods for distributing the $25 million annual aid package. The proposed infrastructure program will likely utilize distribution formulas already in statute, such as those prescribed in RSA 235:23, Construction and Reconstruction Aid. These programs are in addition to municipal grant and aid funding already in place, including education aid, highway block grant aid, meals and rooms tax distribution, and other state aid programs.

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