Home » Opinion » Editorials
NH's budget picture: Big decisions must come soon
The Legislative Budget Assistant's Office says the state is headed for a $25 million budget shortfall this year because hospitals are withholding their Medicaid enhancement tax payments in a dispute with the state over the tax. (The shortfall could be closer to $35 million, some legislators believe.)
Counting on new revenue from a growing economy would be a mistake, several economic analysts have said. The state's economy is expected to remain sluggish this year. And that leaves legislators and the governor in a pickle.
Gov. Maggie Hassan and many Democrats campaigned last year on promises to "restore" spending cuts by Republicans in the last budget cycle. But as legislators are seeing this week, the money simply is not there. As House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Susan Almy noted, there is not even enough money to fund the state's current operations, much less pay for anything on top of that.
It looks as though Hassan and the Democratic leaders in the House have to choose one of three paths: 1) pull back from the "restoration" on which they campaigned (thus tacitly acknowledging that Republicans were right when they said there was not enough money); 2) approve massive tax increases; or 3) bet everything on a swift approval of casino gambling, which would have to include the immediate sale of casino licenses worth tens of millions of dollars.
Gov. Hassan has some pretty big decisions to make in the next few weeks.
READER COMMENTS: 8
- Kuster's abortion lies: Claims against Garcia are untrue - 29
- The Obamaconomy: Shea-Porter shows its flaw - 30
- Smith schools Hassan: Leadership in Londonderry - 0
- Where officers live: Manchester is missing the point - 4
- Leo Bernier: For Hillsborough County Commission - 0
- Insurance exchanges Sam's Club or Obama's club? - 11
- Garcia and Guinta: For a change, send them to DC - 22
- Jeanne's travel ban: She doesn't want Obama here - 14
- Making it up: Shameless state Senate attacks - 9
READER COMMENTS: 0
- Manchester pair arrested for fighting in Merrimack parking lot - 0
- Nashua man who was shot by officer sentenced to 5-10 years - 0
- Election Day hotline established to report suspected voter fraud, abuse - 1
- Nashua man charged in child sexual assault - 0
- Two accused of trafficking women in Hampton, Hooksett and Manchester - 0
- 'Fugitive of Week' captured in Hooksett - 0
- Pedestrian struck in Keene - 0
- NHIAA Cross Country: Moskowitz, Kimball primed for Meet of Champions battle - 0
- Salem coach Rich has seen playoff runs from both sidelines - 0
Manchester pub crawl leads to arrest of four
School's out for voters