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New Hampshire

December 30, 2012

N.H. lawmakers brace for budget battle

(Continued)

Business interests will have bipartisan support.

“Business regulation, the economy and jobs — that’s the focus for Republicans,” said Rep. Al Baldasaro, R-Londonderry.

Look for renewed discussion of expanded gaming as the Legislature hunts for revenue options to pay for programs.

“Gambling will be in there,” St. James said.

Morse will be out front pushing for expanded gaming, which he sees as a potential revenue source to help with the budget, as well as something to boost the economy.

“I think it will create jobs and build out our highway system in New Hampshire,” Morse said.

He wants expanded gaming in his back yard at Rockingham Park, but concedes the track likely will have to compete for that opportunity through a state licensing bid process.

Hassan embraced expanded gaming on the campaign trail, but has insisted on a bid process.

Her presence in the governor’s office has encouraged proponents of expanded gaming. But the House, with a large flock of incoming legislators whose positions will be formulated in the coming months, is a potential roadblock.

Rep. Walter Kolodziej, R-Windham, looks at the state budget, emerging proposals from the newly Democratic controlled House and doesn’t see how the math possibly can add up.

“There is a lack of money, due to everything the incoming party is talking about doing,” Kolodziej said.

Republicans will resist revenue options that could burden people or businesses.

Ask Rep. David Thompson, R-Derry, what his big concern is for the coming session and he will reply in a word: “Taxes.”

Kolodziej said the Legislature will discuss funding for the Interstate 93 widening. There’s a need for another $250 million to finish the job.

Departing Gov. John Lynch has said that should be a priority for the state because of the potential economic development benefits.

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