CONCORD, N.H. – New Hampshire’s Senate Finance Committee voted Friday to make deeper cuts to the corrections budget and to use the savings to restore funding for state troopers that the House has proposed to eliminate.

Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Morse said he didn’t see any other way to fund 38 trooper positions that otherwise would be cut than to trim other budgets, especially the corrections budget.

The committee voted to cut the corrections budget $7 million below the spending level set by the House and $13 million below Gov. John Lynch’s recommended spending level.

Morse, R-Salem, noted the $102 million annual budget the committee adopted in the preliminary vote is a 2 percent increase above this year’s spending level and corrections is the only state agency to get an increase in the $10.2 billion budget for the two years beginning July 1.

“I don’t think we’re strangling them,” he said. “The only way I can fund safety and add back all those troopers is to go someplace else.”

Morse said the committee plans to give corrections the tools it needs to achieve the savings. That could include privatizing some prison functions, such as pharmacy operations or nursing, he said.

Morse had proposed sending 600 inmates from the Concord prison to private facilities but prison officials said that would not save money.

Morse said lawmakers need to work with Lynch, who also is exploring privatizing aspects of the prison’s operation. Lynch has not outlined what functions he hopes to privatize, but his office has said nothing could be accomplished in time to count the savings in the budget Morse’s committee is writing.

Morse also wants lawmakers to study the corrections system and report their findings by November so the Legislature can make changes to the department.

“The reality is, that department can’t continue to grow and grow and grow” in costs,” he said.

The Senate has a June 2 deadline to vote on its version of the budget.

That would give the Senate and House two weeks to negotiate a compromise under legislative rules.

The Senate Finance Committee hopes to wrap up most of its work in about 10 days.

Morse said Friday’s decisions on agency budgets are open to revision.