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Lawmakers go home but budget problems remain
Gov. Maggie Hassan warned lawmakers last week that if state revenues continue their downward trend in June, they may have to return this summer to approve budget cuts that could total tens of millions.
A significant shortfall in business taxes and interest and dividends revenue for April spurred Hassan to issue an executive order to freeze hiring, equipment purchases and out-of-state travel paid for with general fund money. Until April, the state had a $26 million surplus, but the shortfall nearly wiped it out.
Budget writers expect the state to take in $216 million in June, including $91.4 million in businesses taxes and $13.7 million in interest and dividends taxes, two closely watched sources of money.
But he said if there are continued problems with business taxes and departments are not meeting their lapses, he expects the situation will force the governor to make spending cuts, probably by early fall.
“This should make for a very interesting election year,” Arlinghaus said. “Anyone who promises additional programs and spending obviously will have a problem when there is no additional money (available).”
If hospitals had sought a refund and the Supreme Court affirmed the superior court ruling the MET was unconstitutional, the state would have had to find $185 million this fiscal year and would not have received $190 million in revenue next fiscal year.
“The next budget will be difficult because of the MET deal, but would have been more difficult without it,” Arlinghaus said. “But it is going to be difficult going forward. They don’t need any additional headwinds.”
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School's out for voters