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October 04. 2013 3:58PM

2013 budget shows $76 million surplus; Hassan hopes to restore HHS spending

CONCORD - New Hampshire ended the 2013 fiscal year with a $76.1 million surplus and Gov. Maggie Hassan wants to use some of the money to rebuild the state's rainy day fund and restore reductions at the Department of Health and Human Services.

Lawmakers believed the state would have a $57 million surplus when budget writers crafted the 2014-2015 biennial budget in June.

The surplus figures are unaudited and will be adjusted when the official audit is done on the state's books later this year.

The state is currently showing $27 million more than anticipated from state taxes and fees for the first quarter of the 2014 fiscal year budget, which gives the state a $46 million revenue cushion.

"A strengthening economy and sound fiscal management from state agencies resulted in a strong surplus, improving our ability to address our fiscal challenges," said Gov. Maggie Hassan.

The current biennial budget includes some across the board cuts in personnel and in Health and Human Services programs and staffing totaling about $18 million.

"At the end of the process, uncertain about revenues, back-of-the-budget cuts were made to the Department of Health and Human Services that no one liked," Hassan said. "With this surplus, and strong revenues for this year, my hope is we can work in that same cooperative spirit to use a portion of the surplus to begin rebuilding our state's Rainy Day Fund and a portion to reduce back-of-the-budget cuts to the Department of Health and Human Services, which could impact vital programs ranging from services for people with disabilities to child care."

The budget package passed in June had overwhelming support in the House and Senate and spends a total of $10.8 billion over the next two years, including $2.8 million in state general funds.

The current budget spends about $800 million more than the previous one crafted under the then Republican-controlled legislature.

grayno@unionleader.com



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