Open Space Funding in New Hampshire Nears Final Hurdle

The Land and Community Heritage Investment Program (LCHIP), New Hampshire’s only state-wide funding program to protect important open spaces and our cultural heritage, has had a rough few years. Five years ago a dedicated LCHIP funding source--a $25 fee paid on document recording at the county registries of deeds--was put in place. Since then, the state legislature has repeatedly raided LCHIP’s dedicated funding. As House and Senate conferees begin negotiating a final state budget for the next two years, LCHIP is positioned to see its dedicated funding source fully restored.

The Senate’s version of the budget passed last week would fully restore LCHIP’s dedicated fund, ending all diversion of LCHIP fees to the state’s general fund. The House version of the budget passed earlier this spring partially restores LCHIP’s dedicated fund, but still diverts $3 million to fund general government. The question now is whether the Senate position on LCHIP or the House position will make it into the final budget. This question must be answered, along with all other outstanding issues, by Thursday, June 20th. The time is now to reach out to your elected officials one last time on LCHIP. Please call, write, or email your state representatives and senator in support of full funding for LCHIP in the biennial budget!

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