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$79,000 tab for State House room door causing upset

A small-government advocacy group on Thursday faulted Gov. Maggie Hassan for her role in this week’s approval of a $79,000 door for a room at the State House.

On Wednesday, the Executive Council unanimously approved a contract to add the door to State House Room 100, a meeting room that can get crowded and only has one set of double doors for ingress and egress.

The cost is high because the door work involves cutting through original masonry, structural work, and use of appropriate finishes and materials.

In a statement, Americans for Prosperity-New Hampshire said state revenues are $25 million short of targets for the past two months, and Gov. Hassan has instituted a travel ban and hiring freeze.

“There is no way she ever should have put an item for a gold-plated State House door on the agenda for the Governor and Council,” said Greg Moore, the organization’s director.

In a statement, Hassan’s office said Senate President Chuck Morse, a Republican, requested the project.

“This is a capital budget safety project mandated by law, approved by the Legislature and included by the Senate President’s office. It is not funded by general funds, and it is unrelated to the departmental freeze,” said Hassan spokesman William Hinkle.

Telephone messages left for Morse and Republican Councilor Chris Sununu were not returned.

In an interview, Moore said he directed criticism toward Hassan because she prepares the agenda for the Executive Council. He said blame can be had for anyone, including Republicans, who supported the project.

He acknowledged the phrase “gold-plated” was a figure of speech.

Democratic Executive Councilor Colin Van Ostern Tweeted Thursday that the room is often at capacity, and the issue is one of public safety.

“Cutting into 200-yr old granite ain’t easy/cheap,” his Tweet reads.

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