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Building the Budget: New Hampshire’s State Budget Process and Recent Funding Trends

February 9, 2017 State Budget
Budget Pie Chart Illustration

Building the New Hampshire State Budget is a long process, which includes five major phases, challenging jargon, unwritten norms, multiple revenue estimates, and several different versions of expenditure plans and revenue expectations. But understanding the State Budget is more than just learning the process; it is key to understanding our priorities and values as a State.

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The Conference Committee’s FY 2016-2017 Budget

June 23, 2015 State Budget
New Hampshire State House

In its particulars, the version of the FY 2016-2017 budget approved by the House and Senate conference committee on June 18 bears a strong resemblance to the tax and spending plan adopted by the upper chamber just a few weeks ago. While the conference agreement is intended to finance the operations of state government over the next two fiscal years, it is perhaps more notable for what it will do in the years after the close of the FY 2016-2017 biennium. The agreement includes a set of business tax cuts that, though they will reduce revenue by more than $20 million in the upcoming biennium, will not take full effect until FY 2020; once they do, they will drain more than $100 million out of each biennial budget.

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The Senate Finance Committee’s Proposed FY 2016-2017 Budget

June 2, 2015 State Budget
Senate Chamber

Buoyed by a more optimistic outlook for revenue collections over the next two years, the version of the FY 2016-2017 budget approved by the Senate Finance Committee would mitigate some of the spending reductions adopted by the House of Representatives and would reverse others completely. Nevertheless, the Committee’s version of the budget lacks permanent changes in policy necessary to address the failure of the state’s revenue system to recover from the national recession. Consequently, the Committee’s budget proposal falls short of the plan offered by Governor Hassan, both in terms of investments critical to New Hampshire’s economic future and the amount of resources allocated to services designed to protect the most vulnerable Granite Staters.

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Common Cents Blog

State’s Diverse Tax Base Stabilizes Revenue, But Business Tax Changes May Increase Volatility

29 Jun 2017

tree with coins

New Hampshire’s state tax revenue is relatively stable, but the State’s largest tax may be among the most volatile types of common taxes, a new analysis from The Pew Charitable Trusts suggests. Between 1997 and 2016, New Hampshire’s tax volatility, as measured through percentage changes from the prior fiscal year, was only higher than five other states, suggesting New Hampshire’s tax revenues do not typically deviate dramatically from year to year relative to other states. However, digging into the diverse revenue streams and drawing on the experiences from other states shows some risk for New Hampshire.