Published DateCONCORD — With few exceptions, lawmakers from Belknap County, Democrats and Republicans alike, voted in favor of the of the $10.7 billion 2013-2015 state budget and its companion bill, which both carried the House of Representatives by overwhelming majorities as the Legislature closed its session last week.
Only two representatives from the county — both Republicans — voted against the budget — Richard Burchell of Gilmanton and Jane Cormier of Alton. Explaining his vote.
Burchell said that he was concerned that too much was spent on some items and not enough on others, but was unable to be more specific. "I usually take notes," he said, "and I wish I could give you a lucid answer." He said only that in course of the budget discussions he was concerned that funds were not appropriated for what he considered important purposes, and confessed in retrospect, "I'm a little dubious about my vote," he confessed, describing the budget as "a fair compromise."
"It grew government," said Cormier. "The whole thing is too big." She was especially troubled to find that the surplus accumulated during the prior biennium would be spent in the next. "The budget went up 6.5-percent," she noted, adding that "people's incomes didn't go 6.5-percent."
Rep. Colette Worsman was the lone member of the county delegation to vote against the companion, or so-called "trailer," bill to the budget, which includes adjustments to taxes and fees as well as changes to current law associated with the budget. Worsman explained her vote by noting that the Legislature increased funding for the University System of New Hampshire without requiring the university administration to freeze tuition.
Eleven of the 18 representatives from the county endorsed legislation authorizing the use of marijuana for specific medicinal purposes. Republicans Richard Burchell of Gilmanton, Cuy Comtois of Barnstead, Dennis Fields of Sanbornton, Chuck Fink of Belmont, Bob Greemore and Herb Vadney of Meredith, and Bob Luther of Laconia and Democrats Lisa DiMartino of Gilford, Ruth Gulick of New Hampton, David Huot of Laconia and Ian Raymond voted in favor. Five Republicans — Jane Cormier and Stephen Holmes of Alton, Don Flanders and Frank Tilton of Laconia and Colette Worsman of Meredith voted against.