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Medicaid Expansion Work Requirements Hinge on Federal Approval

September 5, 2017 Common Cents
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The State Budget, signed into law on June 28, 2017, includes a provision that requires certain Medicaid enrollees to engage in work-related activities to be eligible for Medicaid. New Hampshire’s Medicaid program includes both traditional Medicaid and expanded Medicaid under the federal Affordable Care Act. The Medicaid expansion in New Hampshire is structured as the New Hampshire Health Protection Program (NHHPP). The State Budget directs New Hampshire to seek a federal waiver to require certain NHHPP participants to engage in specified work-related activities for at least 20 hours per week.

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A Snapshot of the State’s Labor Market

August 31, 2017 Common Cents
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In the long economic recovery following the Great Recession, New Hampshire’s workers have faced slower job growth than the nation as a whole, and wages for many low-income workers have not kept pace with inflation, leaving many people with less purchasing power. New Hampshire’s job growth has been more robust in the most recent years of the post-Recession economic expansion, however. The state’s economy has been fully recovered by several key metrics for some time, and the unemployment rate remains below 3.0 percent, less than the pre-Recession levels of 2006. By most measures, it is a good time to be a worker in New Hampshire, but many of the jobs generated in the wake of the Recession offer workers less in compensation than those lost during the economic contraction.

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State Funding for Higher Education Still Below Pre-Recession Levels

August 30, 2017 Common Cents
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Student loan debt is the second largest source of U.S household debt, surpassing auto loans and credit card debt and only eclipsed by mortgages. Nationally, student loans totaled $1.34 trillion, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. State policies can have a role in reducing tuition costs students face at public institutions, but a new report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities suggests states may not be devoting as many resources to containing higher education expenses for students as they did prior to the Great Recession. In New Hampshire, the State government allocates relatively few dollars to public higher education by certain key metrics compared to all other states, and average student debt loads are also the highest compared to those in other states.

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Elections Highlight Continuing Questions About Keno Revenue

8 Nov 2017

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While results are still preliminary, Keno gaming appears to have been legalized in seven cities around New Hampshire as a result of Tuesday’s votes. The margin of victory in Rochester for Keno legalization was reportedly only one vote and may still be subject to change or recount, but voters appear to have legalized Keno gaming in Berlin, Claremont, Laconia, Manchester, Nashua, Rochester, and Somersworth. Voters in Concord, Dover, and Keene voted against Keno gaming legalization. Franklin had legalized Keno gaming previously, and the Portsmouth City Council decided to not put Keno on the ballot. Other municipalities, including the City of Lebanon, may make decisions regarding Keno legalization next year. These results have implications for State policy and finances.