Home » Opinion » Editorials
Crossing fingers: It is no match for budgeting cautiously
Last week the state received an additional ?$15 million of tobacco settlement money. Based on current figures, that windfall wipes out the current-year deficit caused by hospitals withholding Medicaid Enhancement Tax payments. Earlier this year, the state projected ending the year with a deficit of $41 million. The New Hampshire Democratic Party blamed irresponsible budgeting by the previous Republican Legislature. But a funny thing happened on the way to that deficit.
State tax revenues started exceeding projections this spring. In March, business, insurance, interest and dividends and even tobacco tax revenue were all above projections, bringing in an extra $26.5 million. Suddenly the projected deficit was only $14.5 million. Then came the $15 million in tobacco settlement money.
The fiscal year is not over yet, but with only three months to go things look pretty good. The same cannot be said for Gov. Hassan's budget for next year.
To clarify her break from the budgeting practices of the last Legislature, Hassan pledged to "restore" a host of cuts. The revenue just was not there, but she proceeded with some of the restoration anyway. She attempted to pay for it by convincing the Legislature to authorize expanded gambling - and the $80 million in casino licensing fees that would come with it - but the more cautious House refused to go along.
The House, which sensibly authorized much less in spending than Hassan wanted, nonetheless counted on phantom money. Instead of the casino licensing fees, the House included the extra tobacco settlement money in its budget. That money now goes to this year's budget, blowing a relatively small hole in the House's spending plan for next year.
So here we are, a few months away from the start of the next fiscal year, and all eyes are turning to the Senate, which has to come up with a budget that, unlike the governor's or the House's, actually balances. The Republican-controlled Senate, readers might recall, was part of that "extreme" and "irresponsible" Legislature Democrats claimed the state had to run from. It's funny how political rhetoric can collide so harshly with political reality.
READER COMMENTS: 9
- Manchester school district makes bid to run Job Corps center - 2
- NEASC votes to reaccredit Central High - 1
- Londonderry school policy updates sought - 0
- New schedule feature will provide Nashua students with opportunities - 0
- Manchester forums will allow public to question principal finalists - 0
- Mount Washington College to close 2 campuses - 1
- Manchester education standards proposal derided at public hearing - 6
- Proposed Common Core alternative will get public review tonight - 6
- New headmaster eager to take the reins at Pinkerton - 0
READER COMMENTS: 0
- Texas governor to deploy 1,000 National Guard troops to border - 0
- New college are graduates hit by slow wage growth - 0
- Stocks finish the day slightly lower - 0
- Business economists say sales, hiring and pay are up - 0
- Bodies of downed plane's passengers leave Ukraine crash site for return to Netherlands - 0
- 30-year-old man found dead in Laconia apartment - 0
- Market Basket customers gather in Portsmouth to support workers - 0
- AG: Missing Conway teen Abigail Hernandez reunited with family - 10
- Market Basket workers rally, urged to 'shut it down' until ousted CEO returns - 1
DWI License Revocations
Shaheen's record: On insurance, it is dismal
Anti-SUV flop: Americans love utility