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Legislature Spends Most of Surplus, Raising Questions for Next Year

May 24, 2018 Common Cents
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On May 23, the Legislature passed several bills with fiscal impacts, including the omnibus spending bill that behaved like a miniature budget this legislative session. The total expenditures passed amount to approximately $129.1 million in new General and Education Trust Funds spending, with additional expenditures outside of these two funds and certain changes to revenues. This total is quite substantial for a non-budget year and reflects the Legislature’s willingness to use the large revenue surplus, collected primarily from the previous three months, without leaving a significant cushion for the second fiscal year of the State Budget. With abnormally high revenues not expected to be sustained, the Legislature is leaving fewer available resources for State Budget negotiations and any unanticipated costs next year.

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Legislature Considers Mini-Budget, Many Other Spending Bills as Session Ends

May 14, 2018 Common Cents
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Following a flurry of amendments to existing bills, the Legislature now faces major spending decisions in a non-budget year that would make use of the current unrestricted revenue surplus. Bills to authorize new State expenditures totaling approximately $130.4 million, which is in addition to the current State operating budget, propose major changes, including a new agreement with hospitals over reimbursements, education and transportation infrastructure funding, State employee salary increases, and reductions in state revenue. The Legislature is convening a Committee of Conference on the largest bill on May 15, and plans to wrap up all its business by May 24.

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Senate Approves Medicaid Expansion Bill as Amended by the House

May 10, 2018 Common Cents
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On May 10, the New Hampshire State Senate concurred with the House of Representatives and voted to reauthorize Medicaid expansion for five years. Although certain circumstances might trigger the end of the program, this step toward reauthorization provides more assurance that the approximately 52,000 Granite Staters served through Medicaid expansion would not lose their health coverage at the end of 2018, when the current program expires. The bill now goes to the Governor for his signature.

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Unsettled Business Tax Revenues Push Surplus Upward, Offer Limited Insight for the Future

7 Dec 2018

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The fortunes of State revenues continue to rise and fall with New Hampshire’s two primary business taxes, which provided positive signs for near-term revenue but have not shown these levels are sustainable. While the two business taxes remained healthy, other revenue sources were relatively flat overall, leaving the State with a revenue surplus entirely dependent on the two business taxes. The lack of growth in other revenue sources combined with the uncertainty around business taxes creates an environment in which it will be very difficult to accurately project revenues for the new State Budget biennium.