March 18, 2013
Tonight, New Hampshire’s House Finance Committee will hold its last two field hearings in Claremont and Rochester. This is a key moment in the budget process, as later this week the Committee will begin to decide how to reconcileÂ Governor Hassanâ€™s proposed budget for the next two years (FY14-15) with the state’s revenue realities. Funding for the Land and Community Heritage Program (LCHIP)Â is at risk.Â Land conservation and historic preservation projects, so important to NH communities, hang in the balance.
Dedicated funding for LCHIP is supposed to come fromÂ a $25 fee paid on document recording at the county registries of deeds. But over the past five years,Â more than $10 million (or almost two thirds of all the funds collected)Â has been diverted to the general fund.Â The GovernorÂ has made a clear statement of principle that the diversion ofÂ Land and Community Heritage Investment ProgramÂ funds for other purposes must not continue.Under the Governorâ€™s proposal, LCHIP would receive $1 million from its dedicated fee in the first year, andÂ allÂ fee revenues in the second year (about $4 million).Â However, the House has insufficient revenue to fully fund all of the Governor’s budget items, and dedicated funding for LCHIP is once again being eyed to plug gaps. Conservation and preservation opportunities in the Upper Valley and across the state will be lost if the legislature does not honor its commitment and restore the funding intended to LCHIP.
The hearing will be held at Sugar River Valley Regional Technical Center 111 South Street, Claremont, NH, from 5 – 8pm.
If you are unable to attend tonight’s meeting in Claremont, you can still let the Finance Committee know about your concerns and priorities, contact:
Rep. Mary Jane Wallner
Chair, House Finance Committee
Legislative Office Building
33 North State Street, Concord, NH 03301