Senate revenue estimates for budget well below House’s
In base general fund levies, the Senate estimates are $61.4 million less than the House and $149.5 million less than Gov. Maggie Hassan’s proposed budget, which includes $80 million in licensing fees for a casino, which the House and Senate do not.
“For the next biennium, the Senate comes out $92.4 million ahead of the House in business taxes,” Odell said. “However, we do project lower, more conservative totals in other traditional revenue categories based on strong returns over the last few months of the current fiscal year.”
“At a time when the business climate in New Hampshire appears to be improving, Senate Ways and Means did not believe relying on millions in new taxes on businesses and consumers was the way to balance the budget,” Odell said.
The majority of the difference — $107 million — is from the Medicaid Enhancement Tax (MET) that hospitals pay on net patient receipts.
In the current budget, budget writers continued the program, which combines state and federal dollars to offset unpaid bills for the small rural or critical care hospitals but not for the state’s largest hospitals.
The House and Gov. 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.
“It is not like we are losing money, but it does create an anticipated gap in spending that Finance is going to have to deal with,” Odell said.
Finance Committee chair Sen. Chuck Morse, R-Salem, said the problem will cause hospitals to leave the state. “Hospitals will have no incentive to stay in the state,” he said.
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