- Associated Press - Monday, June 22, 2015

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - Facing a budget veto threat, Republican lawmakers are discussing a short-term spending plan that will keep state government running for six months at the fiscal year 2015 spending levels.

Republican leadership met Monday with Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan to discuss the short-term spending plan, known as a continuing resolution. Hassan says she will veto the Legislature’s $11.3 billion budget proposal if it passes both chambers on Wednesday. She says the budget cuts business taxes at the expense of other key priorities and relies on bad math that will leave it unbalanced. The budget doesn’t fund a pay raise for state employees or provide money to continue Medicaid expansion beyond 2016, two key priorities for Hassan.

The government will shut down when the existing $10.7 billion budget ends June 30 without a short-term spending plan in place.

Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley said the short-term plan on the table would fund the government at this year’s levels but allow the fiscal committee and executive council to approve more money in “emergency” situations. Maintaining existing funding levels means many state agencies and programs will not immediately see expected increases.

Hassan’s spokesman William Hinkle said the governor would like to see a short-term spending plan that is closer to the budget proposal rather than existing funding levels.

The continuing resolution will need approval from both legislative chambers and Hassan’s signature to take effect. The plan gives lawmakers and Hassan six months to reach a deal, and Bradley says a timeline hasn’t been set for when negotiations will continue.

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