Social service advocates looking for $7 milllion of surplus to go to HHS
Sponsored by the House’s chief budget writers, Finance Committee Chairwoman Mary Jane Wallner, D-Concord, and Ways and Means Committee Chairwoman Susan Almy, D-Lebanon, House Bill 1411 would restore an across-the-board $7 million reduction for the agency included in the current biennial budget.
“If we don’t reduce DHHS’ obligation to make additional cuts, in six months, there will be further reductions in programs that our citizens and communities rely on,” Almy said.
The Rainy Day Fund was not the issue for social service advocates who said the money is better spent preventing program and services cuts that will result from the across-the-board reduction.
“Continued cuts to the DHHS budget year after year are taking its toll on the children of New Hampshire,” said MaryLou Beaver, director of Every Child Matters. “New Hampshire’s children are the poorest people in our state and the younger they are, the worse off they are.”
“For many years New Hampshire led New England and the region with the lowest percentage of children living in poverty,” Beaver said. “In 2012, 10 states reported lower child poverty for all children through age 18. Of the six New England states, only Maine and Rhode Island showed higher percentages.”Steve Mosher, chief financial officer for the department said the department began the current biennium with a $36 million, general-fund revenue shortfall.
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