The Latest: Republican-led Senate OKs $11.8 billion budget

The Latest on the New Hampshire Senate’s debate on the state budget (all times local):

11:50 p.m.

The Republican-led New Hampshire Senate has approved an $11.8 billion budget after rejecting more than two dozen amendments offered by Democrats.

The Senate voted 14-9 along party lines to pass both its spending plan and a companion bill making policy changes to support the appropriations. The debate lasted until nearly midnight as Democrats took every opportunity to either attempt to add money to the budget or force debate on their policy priorities.

Republicans argued their plan addresses major problems such as the state’s heroin and opioid crisis and a failing child protection system while protecting taxpayers. Democrats countered it underestimates revenues and prioritizes tax cuts for businesses over protecting the state’s most vulnerable residents.

The plan now goes to the House, which in April failed to pass a spending plan for the first time in decades.

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9 p.m.

Republicans in the New Hampshire Senate are blocking efforts by Democrats to add items to the budget they’re debating in Concord.

The Senate approved an $11.8 billion spending plan early Wednesday evening but hours later was still debating amendments to a companion bill that makes policy changes to support the budget.

Among other things, Republicans rejected attempts by Democrats to eliminate business tax cuts from the companion bill. The GOP also is blocking amendments seeking to keep the state’s expanded Medicaid program in place for two more years and to prevent money from being diverted from the state’s alcohol abuse prevention and treatment fund.

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5:20 p.m.

The Republican-led New Hampshire Senate has approved an $11.8 billion budget, but still must vote on a companion bill making policy changes to support the appropriations.

Supporters argued that the budget proposal demonstrated commitment to solving major problems such as the state’s heroin and opioid crisis and a failing child protection system while shielding taxpayers from tax or fee increases. Under the plan, spending would increase 1.4 percent in the first year and 1.1 percent the second.

The plan was approved along party lines, 14-9. Democrats, who complained the plan fails to meet the needs of the state’s most vulnerable residents, unsuccessfully offered amendments to boost funding for mental health care, higher education and other programs.

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4 p.m.

Republicans in the New Hampshire Senate are rejecting attempts by Democrats to add to the budget they’re debating in Concord.

The Senate is debating a $11.8 billion, two-year budget plan crafted by its Finance Committee. Democrats, who complained the plan fails to meet the needs of the state’s most vulnerable residents, are offering a series of amendments, all of which are failing along party lines.

The rejected proposals would have increased funding for mental health programs, paid for services for people with developmental disabilities, created services for families involved in the child protection system and allowed the University System of New Hampshire to freeze tuition for one year.

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2:30 p.m.

Debate over an $11.8 billion, two-year budget plan is underway in the New Hampshire Senate.

The Republican-led Senate voted 14-9 along party lines Wednesday afternoon to accept the plan crafted by its Finance Committee, opening the door to further amendments from the floor. Democrats, who complained the plan fails to meet the critical needs of the state, plan to offer around a dozen amendments seeking to add funding in areas such as mental health, child protection and education.

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Democrats argued that the GOP plan includes revenue estimates that are too low and tax reductions that are too high. Republicans defended their plan, saying it both protects taxpayers and the state’s most vulnerable residents.

The debate comes after the House failed to pass its own version of the budget last month.

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9 a.m.

The New Hampshire Senate is expected to vote on an $11.8 billion, two-year budget plan that some Republicans say spends too much, while Democrats argue it doesn’t go far enough.

The vote Wednesday comes after the House failed to pass its own version of the budget last month. The House could concur with the Senate version or request a committee of conference to provide its input.

Thursday is the last day for the House and Senate to act on bills that originated in the opposite chamber. The Senate is set to meet on Wednesday and Thursday, while the House is in session Thursday.

The deadline to act on all committee of conference reports is June 22.

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