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June's revenue figures key in determining if cuts needed


CONCORD — State revenues are still slightly ahead of estimates for the year, but all eyes will be on the June returns, which will close the 2014 fiscal year.

In figures released Tuesday, May revenues were down $3.1 million from budget writers’ estimates, returning $85.8 million.

Much of the shortfall, according to Linda Hodgdon, N.H. Department of Administrative Services commissioner, is due to early securities payments in April.

“It’s still really June we should be paying attention to,” Hodgdon said. “June is still the month we are concerned about with quarterly estimates for business taxes and (interest and dividends payments).”

For the year to date, the state is $800,000 ahead of estimates at $2.03 billion, but $23 million less than a year ago.

Legislative budget writers counted on a $26 million surplus in fiscal 2014 to have a balanced budget at the end of the biennium June 30, 2015.

The tobacco tax was $1.1 million ahead of estimates for May, returning $18.6 million, which was the largest tax collected for the month, followed by the rooms and meals tax at $18.4 million, $400,000 ahead of estimates.

Although few business taxes are collected in May, they produced $9.4 million, which is $400,000 more than anticipated.

However for the year to date, business taxes have produced $238.4 million, which is $6.7 million below estimates, but $900,000 more than collected a year ago.

Gov. Maggie Hassan issued an executive order last month that the Joint Legislative Fiscal Committee approved to freeze hiring, equipment purchases and out-of-state travel paid for with general funds.

At the time, Hassan noted through March the state was $25 million ahead of estimates, but April revenues were $22 million below plan, particularly for business taxes and interest and dividend payments.

Republicans, however, said that revenues are close to estimates for the year, saying instead the problem is spending.

Hassan mentioned the possibility lawmakers will be called back into session this summer to approve spending cuts if June revenues are significantly below estimates.

Senate President Chuck Morse, R-Salem, said he does not want to call senators back and instead said Hassan and her department heads should better manage spending.

garyno@unionleader.com

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