Watch Out! Here Comes The Budget . . .

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A guest blog entry from Jay Smith, MD, MPH, NHPHA Policy Committee Co-Chair

In the last two days, we have gotten urgent messages* out about the House Finance committee's likely plans for some critical parts of the budget that were to be worked on before the publishing of this newsletter. The budget has to originate in the House so the work of their Finance committee is critical to New Hampshire's health, environment and safety agencies and infrastructure.  Details of all the meetings are in the House Calendar.  

As most of our members are probably aware, the current leadership is treating the budget as a place to try to enforce their desire to shrink the government. We have little  chance in modifying substantially what the House leadership decides to do this coming fortnight but the process doesn't end with the budget resolutions sent to the House floor by the committee. Paying close attention to specifics and making sure your representatives now how you feel about the consequences of not funding needed services could lead eventually to better outcomes.
Find representatives on the Finance committee here

Find your own reps and contact information here

The Finance committee briefs the full House on their budget proposals on March 30.  If one has time and inclination, that can be heard live here starting at 10 a.m.

By April 2nd, the House has to send all of its bills, including its budget to the Senate and the process of hearings will start all over.  In June, there will be a flurry of activity as both chambers finish up work on each others bills that "crossed over".  Since the Governor also has to sign the budget (and other bills that passed both chambers), her people will be involved in the negotiations that go on in the joint committees of conference.  Expect a lot of information from NHPHA with suggestions of who in the leadership is most critical to contact in seeing that public health priorities are not neglected in the final budget or in the many bills that could still be amended even though we thought we had gotten the right outcome during the first go round.  On a positive note, any bill that has been given the thumbs down in either chamber should not come back to haunt us unless one chamber did pass it.

*Urgent Messages
Call To Action
NH Health Protection Program Under the Knife

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