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May 14. 2013 11:08AM

Senate, House revenue estimates are $182 million apart

CONCORD - The Senate Ways and Means Committee adopted revenues for the next biennium that are $182 million less than figures estimated by the House.

A majority of the difference - $107 million - is from the Medicaid Enhanced Tax that hospitals pay on net patient receipts.

The state reduction in the MET could mean the state's largest hospitals will not see the reinstatement in the current budget of the uncompensated care reimbursement program that ended two years ago.

The $107 million reduction would mean a total loss of $214 million for the Department of Health and Human Services budget when matching federal money is included.

The House and Gov. Maggie Hassan assumed a 5 percent increase in the MET over what was expected this fiscal year, but to date hospitals have paid $34 million less than budget writers anticipated.

The Senate decided to use what has been collected this year as the MET base with a 2 percent increase in each year of the biennium.

In base general fund levies, the Senate's estimates are $74.6 million less than the House's, with $40 million of that difference in tobacco taxes. The House increase the tax by 20 cents a pack, but the Senate has yet to act on the tax increase, and Senate Republican leaders have said the increase is dead on arrival in the upper chamber.

The Senate's revenue estimates for business taxes are considerably higher than the House's, but much lower for rooms and meals and real estate transfer taxes. The Senate revenues also do not include $80 million from a casino. The Senate approved Senate Bill 152, which would legalize one casino in the state's southern tier with up to 5,000 video slot machines and 150 table games. Gov. Maggie Hassan included the money in her proposed budget, but the House did not.

The Senate estimates also do not include a number of adjustments included in the House budget such as revenue generated by more auditors at the Department of Revenue Administration, which is $26 million over the two years of the next biennium.


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