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: 1
- Wheeler in Dist. 5: A GOP fighter for the little guy - 3
- GOP for legal pot? Hemignway's high help - 12
- Obama's indecision: In NH, only Ayotte urges action - 43
- Concealed controversy: Our 'Mother, may I' gun policy - 41
- Innis in the 1st: A strong choice for Congress - 11
- Obama waits: A terror threat grows - 41
- For U.S. Senate, Scott Brown best NH candidate come November - 72
- Race and policing: America has a problem - 0
- Strength in faith: Gaining it from Jim Foley's family - 0
READER COMMENTS: 0
- Weekly brother gave police wrong name - 0
- Education business tax credit program upheld; Hassan asks lawmakers to repeal the law - 3
- Owner sought after fatal pitbull attack near Tuckerman Ravine - 1
- Big smiles as Market Basket customers and workers return - 8
- Tom Herzig's Trackside: Patnode poised to win NH Weekly Series crown - 0
- NHIAA Boys' Soccer Preview: Talent to boot - 0
- Last call at home for Fisher Cats tonight - 0
- Jessica Goldman was on the move - 0
- Band camp gets Memorial musicians in rhythm a week early - 1
Where is Shaheen? Hiding from you
Reports: Market Basket doomsday plan would shutter 61 of 71 stores if deal not struck soon
GOP for legal pot? Hemignway's high help