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Thursday, June 4, 2009

What's in the Senate budget?

That's an excellant question. The Union Leader provides a useful sidebar on the Senate budget.

Major features of the Senate budget plan:

$11.6 billion in spending, including nearly $3.3 billion in general funds. Overall spending up 12.6 percent over 2008-09.

Legalizes slot machines, expected to bring in $205 million in license fees and revenue from a maximum of 13,000 machines at race tracks and North Country slot parlors.

Suspends the Business Enterprise Tax credit against Business Profits Tax liability in fiscal 2011, capturing $40 million. Also sweeps out $4.5 million from LCHIP fees and $110 million from a medical malpractice insurance fund.

Increases the tobacco tax by 45 cents on July 1, the fourth increase in five years.

Raises the drivers license fee $10, to $60 for a five-year license; boosts vanity license plate fee by $15 to $40 , and car registrations by $15 a year. Registration fees double on all watercraft, from canoes to yachts.

Raises the tax on rooms and meals by nearly 10 percent, to 8.75 percent from 8 percent.

Deletes House-passed taxes on capital gains, estates and gambling winnings.

Fully funds the school building aid formula at a total of $91 million, and distributes $941 million in adequate education grants. Flat funding for the university and community college systems.

Closes five district courts -- Milford, Colebrook, Claremont, Hillsborough and New London, and shuts down Keene District Court next year.

Cuts $50 million in revenue sharing to towns and cities, and $27 million from the state's share of pension contributions for public workers.

Requires retired state workers to pay health insurance costs for the first time, saving the state $5 million. Eliminates so-called bumping rights for laid-off state workers. New public workers pay higher retirement plan contributions.

Closes the Tobey School in Concord and Laconia State Prison, and adds jobs at the New Hampshire State Prison in Concord.

Adopts Gov. Lynch's plan to join turnpikes and interstates, and allows turnpike money to be used for statewide maintenance of divided highways. Eliminates the 30 percent E-ZPass discount, while capping monthly charges at $30. Deletes the House's 15-cent gas tax increase.

Allows commercialization of welcome centers and rest areas on interstates, and allows the state Liquor Commission to sell through private stores and to close underperforming state-owned stores.

Provides $40 million for developmental disabilities wait list, $5.6 million for brain-injured, $1 million for cancer prevention, and $30 million to meet rising Medicaid caseloads

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