Talking Points for final Senate budget calls
CALL TO ACTION:
We are asking you to call your Senator to vote IN SUPPORT of funding the Alcohol Fund at 3.4% but to vote AGAINST AMENDMENTS in HB 2 - #’s 173, 174 and 175, which have the potential to divert funding from the Alcohol Fund for purposes other than prevention, treatment, and recovery, and which designate specific earmarks that have not been vetted by the Governor’s Commission.
On the surface the budget coming out of the Senate looks like a win for substance misuse prevention, treatment and recovery because the Finance Committee voted last week to increase the Alcohol Fund from 1.7% to 3.4% of the gross profits from the sale of liquor.
BUT THERE IS A CATCH:
The Senate Finance Committee also passed an amendment to the Alcohol Fund law that would enable the Commissioner of DHHS to use Alcohol Fund dollars to cover operating expenses at the Sununu Center, NH’s juvenile detention facility. This puts Alcohol Fund dollars that support prevention, treatment and recovery services at GREAT RISK! It is uncertain how much of the Alcohol Fund would be used to support operating costs at the Sununu Center, but the risk is that a substantial portion of the fund could be diverted for that purpose. The intended purpose of the Alcohol Fund law is very clear that moneys disbursed from the fund shall be used for alcohol and other drug abuse prevention, treatment, and recovery services. The amendment passed by the Senate Finance Committee controverts existing law and the intent behind the Alcohol Fund law.
IT GETS WORSE… EARMARKS
The Senate Finance Committee has earmarked other revenue from the Alcohol Fund without the recommendations of the Governor’s Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention, Treatment and Recovery (Governor’s Commission).
By law, the Governor’s Commission is responsible for determining the priorities for Alcohol Fund spending using a comprehensive approach, to direct spending for evidence-based prevention, treatment and recovery services.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?
Even though the Senate Finance Committee proposed to increase the Alcohol Fund, policymakers are once again diverting those funds elsewhere, ultimately reducing the already historically underfunded Alcohol Fund.
New Hampshire is in the midst of what is consistently referred to as the #1 public health crisis - the opioid epidemic. Policymakers need to stop robbing the Alcohol Fund and put every available resource into turning the tide on NH’s addiction crisis.