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Happy New Year As Legislative Session Begins

Posted: January 8, 2015

Happy New Year!  We look forward to a busy legislative year. The session begins today, January 7. The majorities in the NH Senate  (14-10) and the NH House ( 240-160) are solidly in favor of the Republicans. Shawn Jasper of Hudson has been elected Speaker of the House. He has already put in place some changes in the House. As stated below, New Hampshire is facing a shortfall in the budget at present, and spending reductions are the order of the day. We will need to be vigilant in order that we keep the gains that we have put together in the past 30 years.

In addition to the above, this year is the first year of the biennium. The state budget for the next two years must be passed. Any bills that involve money are decided this year. The budget is voted on in a bill called HB1. There is a possibility that we will be fighting for scarce state dollars as we approach June.

As you can see, there is a great deal , in addition to Managed Care, that must be decided. We need you to keep abreast of developments in Concord, and be ready to advocate for your families by making phone calls, by writing letters, by traveling to deliver testimony, and a host of other ways. You are the people that make the difference. If you know of someone who would like to receive our updates, spread the word. Call us with questions, if you need clarity this year.

Take Action

Most importantly, take the time to become acquainted with one or more of your elected representatives this year. If all of us do this, we may become an important part of the legislative process. We can become partners, and not adversaries, for our volunteer legislators. We can communicate what our family members need. The time to introduce yourself is as the session begins, not in the middle of March.

State’s December revenues come in ahead of estimates

Union Leader State House Bureau

CONCORD- With the new legislature set to convene Wednesday, budget writers received some good news as December revenues were $14.3 million more than estimates.

Business and interest and dividends taxes reversed their downward spiral and were near estimates for the month, or above.

The state took in $207.6 million in revenue, 7.4 percent ahead of estimates.

For the first half of the 2015 fiscal year, state revenues total $823.3 million, which is $19.2 million ahead of estimates and $23.4 million more than collected during the first six months of the 2014 fiscal year.

While business tax revenues have lagged since last spring, they rebounded in December, a fairly significant month for business tax receipts.

For December, business taxes produced $90.8 million, $400,000 below budget writers’ estimates for the month. However, for the first half of the fiscal year, business tax revenue is $11.5 million below estimates, producing $234 million, and $7.6 million below 2014 collections.

Interest and dividends tax receipts were above projections by $2.2 million, producing $5.9 million.

While the majority of the annual revenue is collected in April, recent receipts have been well below projections.

Gov. Maggie Hassan has blamed the reduced business and interest and dividends revenues on changes the 2012 legislature made to the taxes.

The real estate transfer tax produced nearly 75 percent more revenue than anticipated, due to increased values and holding company activities prior to the closing of the federal tax year.

Also producing more than estimates were the rooms and meals, tobacco and insurance taxes as well as revenues from securities and the Liquor Commission.

Producing less revenue than anticipated were the communications, utilities consumption and beer taxes and the Lottery Commission.

Legislative budget writers will begin work on the new biennial budget after Gov. Maggie Hassan presents her budget to lawmakers in February.

According to the recently released NH Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the state ended fiscal year 2014 with a $22 million surplus.

Budget writers anticipated a $26 million surplus to balance the budget at the end of the biennium June 30.

Hassan issued several executive orders freezing hiring, out-of-state travel and equipment purchases, as well as cutting $18 million from agency budgets and asked department heads to delay major expenditures.

Tuesday, she released a series of actions she will ask lawmakers to approve to further reduce state spending for the 2015 fiscal year.

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