Frozen state pending: An obvious time to save
May 19. 2014 8:05PM
Given the state’s poor financial position, depositing every dollar of the current budget surplus into the state’s savings account is a no-brainer. The House conferees should stop wasting time and agree with the Senate’s plan to do so.
Bond rating agencies have put the state’s credit rating on watch for a possible downgrade. One reason is that the state has too little money — less than $10 million — in savings. State law requires budget surpluses to be put into the rainy day fund, but legislators of both parties have repeatedly suspended that law, resulting in our dangerously low level of savings.
The last budget has produced a surplus of about $15 million that should be saved, but Gov. Maggie Hassan and the House want to spend about half of it. That is reckless. After the Medicaid enhancement tax court ruling blew a $185 million hole in this year’s budget and April revenues came in $22 million lower than projected, the state has got to stop the bleeding. Gov. Hassan belatedly asked for a freeze on hiring, purchasing and out-of-state travel. If money is so tight that the state has to freeze purchasing and hiring, then we should not be increasing spending in other areas. Save the money.