October 2, 2015

Maggie Hassan Tries To Take Credit For Budget Benefits She Blocked

Gov. Maggie Hassan is hoping Granite Staters forget about her summer of stonewalling the state budget and inaction on combating New Hampshire’s heroin crisis.

Unfortunately for Hassan, it’s not that easy to erase months of failed leadership. The New Hampshire Union Leader pointed out the problem with Hassan’s bizarre victory lap today in a blistering editorial:

After spending the entire year lambasting Republicans for “draconian cuts,” “gimmicks” and “blowing a $90 million hole in the budget,” a few weeks ago she watched as the Legislature overrode her budget veto…

…It would be one thing if Hassan were merely acceding to Republicans for the good of the state. But she insists on claiming credit for the very budget she vetoed. She’s worse than the proverbial rooster taking credit for the sunrise.

Earlier in the week, Hassan went even farther than taking credit for the budget as a whole – she actually took a bow for funding a much-needed mental health crisis center that was delayed by her budget veto.

Addressing the Lebanon Chamber of Commerce Wednesday, she touted the new facility:

HASSAN: I’m particularly pleased that much in our compromise budget reflects the priorities that I laid out in my budget proposal last February, including funding for mental health, funding to combat substance abuse, funding for economic development and funding for public safety. The budget includes the funds necessary to continue the implementation of the state’s landmark mental health settlement, and make other improvements to the state’s mental health system. This includes funding for community-based ACT teams for both adults and children, mobile crisis teams, expanded community-based housing, peer and family support services, and supported employment services. And our budget funds the new crisis unit at New Hampshire Hospital to help relieve overcrowded hospital emergency rooms.

What she didn’t mention was that the facility’s opening was delayed by her budget veto. WMUR reported in the midst of the budget impasse in late August:

The state budget stalemate means a 10-bed mental health crisis unit at New Hampshire Hospital won’t open as planned this fall.

New Hampshire has been working to improve its mental health infrastructure since settling a lawsuit with the federal government in late 2013 over inadequate services. The 2014-2015 state budget included money to build the new crisis unit, but money to hire staff and operate the unit was to be included in the 2016-2017 budget that Gov. Maggie Hassan vetoed.