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State Budget Agreement Includes Education Funding Revisions, Medicaid Reimbursement Rate Increases, and Contingent Business Tax Rates

September 25, 2019 Common Cents
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The newly-proposed State Budget agreement to be considered by the Legislature today would boost funding for local public education, with a substantial increase during the budget biennium and a smaller increase continued over time, and includes upward adjustments to Medicaid reimbursement rates and one-time aid to cities and towns. The agreement, finalized by budget negotiators on September 24, would fund these initiatives in part by deploying current surplus revenues, including revenues from reduced spending and increased lapse during the continuing resolution. Funding would also stem in part from freezing business tax rates at 2019 levels. However, future business tax rates would be contingent on a revenue-based trigger and could move up or down for Tax Year 2021 depending on the strength of receipts during the first year of the budget biennium.

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Declining Business Tax and Other Revenues Suggest Caution for State Budget

August 15, 2019 Common Cents
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As policymakers continue to consider State Budget options and choices during the ongoing continuing resolution, understanding State revenue trends remains critical to determining the State’s ability to pay for needed services and the policy choices that affect available resources. With State Fiscal Year 2019 completed and SFY 2020 underway, recent months of revenue collections have provided some additional insight into whether the State might expect more revenue in future years. Questions remain about the future of business tax receipts in particular, which have been very difficult to predict due to recent abnormal behavior following the federal tax overhaul; however, recent data suggest anticipated declines in receipts may limit revenue going forward.

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Continued Rise of NH’s Rental Costs Increases Financial Burdens on Residents

August 9, 2019 Common Cents
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The New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority recently released the findings of their 2019 Residential Rental Cost Survey for the state. Conducted annually in order to understand the condition of the unsubsidized rental market in the state, the latest report identifies several important ongoing trends. The overall increase of New Hampshire’s median rent and utility costs over the past decade continues into 2019, with total rental costs for residential units trending upward to the 2019 median level of $1,347 for a two-bedroom apartment. This new data suggests this rise in costs is occurring in large and small cities and towns, counties, and the state overall. In the past five years, rental costs for two-bedroom apartments in the state have increased by nearly 22 percent on average.

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Initiatives Aim to Increase Rural Access to Broadband Internet Services

2 Jul 2020

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Broadband internet availability and use is uneven between rural and urban areas of New Hampshire. A lack of key broadband infrastructure connecting many homes in rural regions has resulted in increased connection challenges that have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 crisis. The crisis has required individuals and families to transition many activities from face-to-face interactions to virtual communication, and has increased the necessity of reliable broadband internet services among Granite Staters. Key legislation recently passed by the New Hampshire Legislature, new state level initiatives, and federal investments may aid in expanding broadband internet services to underserved areas of the state, and help ensure more Granite Staters will be online at sufficient broadband speeds in the future.

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