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Bus to Lebanon: More low state priorities

New Hampshire House Democrats say the state’s social services needs are underfunded by tens of millions of dollars. The transportation commissioner says we are hundreds of millions of dollars short of what we need to repave our roads. Meanwhile, the House considers a bill this week that comically scrambles to find money for a bus service between Claremont and Lebanon.

House Bill 650, sponsored by Rep. John Cloutier, D-Claremont, would have appropriated $250,000, which the governor was to locate “out of any money in the treasury not otherwise appropriated” — an acknowledgement that the money was not there. It was amended to reduce the appropriation to $1, which would have created a line item in the state budget to be filled in the future. Now the House Finance Committee is pushing its version, which strips the appropriation and directs that all funding be federal, local or private. Better.

It is disappointing — and instructive — that representatives try to have nonessential pet projects funded when vital needs should come first. A bus won’t get very far on cracked, frost-heaved roads, after all.

Eric Church
Saturday, 8 p.m.

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