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Measuring the Size of New Hampshire’s State Budget

September 11, 2017 State Budget
ruler and pages photo

Legislative deliberations during the creation of New Hampshire’s biennial State Budget often evaluate the size of budget proposals relative to the prior biennial operating budget. Debates frequently focus on the overall growth of the budget, but measurements of different subsets of the budget or comparisons relative to different baselines can create confusion and misunderstandings. Budget growth discussions during the 2017 Legislative Session included estimates ranging from 1.4 percent in the first year and 1.1 percent in the second year to a total increase of 10.5 percent. Numbers used in public debates and widely reported in the press characterizing the size of the final budget ranged from $11.7 billion to more than $12 billion.

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The State Budget for Fiscal Years 2018 and 2019

July 13, 2017 State Budget
New Hampshire State House

New Hampshire’s State Budget provides the basis through which most State activities are funded for the next two years. While the overall growth in this budget is slightly less than the growth of its predecessor, revenues projected to be available enabled the Governor and the Legislature to fund certain state-level priorities. This State Budget emphasizes care for children and youths, including through child protection, mental health care, substance use disorder treatment, and juvenile justice changes, relative to certain other priorities. Substantial tax cuts for businesses were enacted, with the potential for future revenue declines that are not likely to be fully offset by other revenue increases.

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The State Senate’s Proposed Budget

June 13, 2017 State Budget
Senate Chamber

The State Senate, using the Governor’s operating budget proposal from February as a baseline, crafted a State operating budget that reduces spending though changes to program funding levels and to anticipated federal funds. The Senate reduced appropriated spending from the Governor’s budget by $324.7 million, accomplished in part by planning to authorize up to $237.8 million through other mechanisms outside of the State Budget. About 63 percent of the program areas were funded at levels proposed by Governor Sununu’s budget, and while the Senate budget grows from the current State fiscal year (SFY) 2017 budget by approximately 1.7 percent for SFY 2018, about 41.3 percent of program areas would receive the same funding or less in SFY 2018.

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New Hampshire’s Minimum Wage Falls Further Behind

6 Jan 2020

tree with coins

The federal minimum wage is the lowest hourly wage that can be paid to most workers anywhere in the nation. Since its inception at the national level in 1938, when only certain workers were covered, the wage has increased and encompassed more types of employees over time. State law sets New Hampshire’s minimum wage to the federal minimum level, currently at $7.25 per hour. An individual working 40 hours per week at this wage will make about $15,000 per year, assuming they work all 52 weeks. This income level is below the federal poverty guidelines for all households other than a single person, and well below the levels for households that include a partner and children.