The New Hampshire legislature approved a two-year budget Wednesday authorizing the sale of up to $193.5 million in new money bonds and notes. The governor has said she will sign the budget.

The Senate approved the $10.7 billion budget 24-0 and the House approved it 337-18. The budget restores spending for the state's university and community college systems to allow them to freeze tuition. It allots money for economic development activities, increasing travel and tourism promotion and trade assistance for businesses. It also increases aid to cities and towns.

More than half the debt will be sold for the general fund and the remainder used for highway and other funds, said New Hampshire Treasurer Catherine Provencher.

The $193.5 million will be sold over the next four to five years, Provencher said. All of this debt is to be general obligation of the state. Debt from previously authorized budgets along with portions of this budget's authorization will be sold in the next two years, she said.

The state may also sell refunding bonds in addition to the new money bonds.

New Hampshire will probably sell about $75 million in November, Provencher said.

Over the last five calendar years New Hampshire has sold $311 million (2008), $155 million (2009), $428 million (2010), $100 million (2011), and $188 million (2012) in general obligation bonds.

The budget establishes a commission to examine Medicaid expansion in the state and come up with a recommendation on the topic by October 15.

"It is already clear that accepting the $2.5 billion in federal funds for Medicaid expansion is a good deal that will strengthen our economy and provide critical health coverage to thousands of our working families, but I respect the Senate's desire to further study the issue and appreciate its willingness to do so in a timely way," said Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan. "I am confident that once the study is complete the legislature will seek to move quickly to implement expansion through a special session in order to improve the health and financial wellbeing of our citizens."

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