Garry Rayno's State House Dome: Rainy day blues
The surplus would bring the total for the fund - otherwise known as a "revenue stabilization fund,'' used to offset state revenue losses - to about $25 million.
A national report released last week by The Pew Charitable Trusts debunks the 5 percent rule. Whatever type of rainy day fund states have, the report said, all 50 were inadequate for the economic freefall that began in 2008. The revenue shortfall for all states was more than double what they held in reserve.
In robust economic times, capital gain revenues will be far higher than during depressed periods. That increases the money going into the stabilization accounts when state revenues are strong and decreases the deposits when the economy is weak.
"In many instances, caps on the size of rainy day funds have prevented states from saving enough to substantially offset revenue losses," the report says. "Although most states recognize the importance of having a fund to smooth the booms and busts of the revenue cycle, few base the size of their rainy day fund on their own typical revenue fluctuations."
New Hampshire's Rainy Day Fund is not capped.
Where does New Hampshire sit with the other 50 states? New Hampshire's revenue stream has very low volatility, at 4 percent, which ranks it 43 in volatility.
The lowest fluctuation is found in South Dakota, at 2.6 percent.
Medicaid expansion or the NH Health Protection Program has been controversial and the controversy continued last week when the Executive Council on a party-line 3-2 vote approved a $292.5 million contract with the two managed care companies - NH Healthy Families and Well Sense - that administer the state's Medicaid managed care program.
The new agreement, which Health and Human Services Commission Nicholas Toumpas called cornerstone that allows the program to move forward, was a late item on the Executive Council's agenda, which means it was not on the published agenda prior to the meeting.
Although Toumpas emailed the changes to the current contract to councilors over the weekend after the state received federal approval for the rates last Friday, they did not receive the actual paper contract until two hours before the meeting.
"Our primary purpose in this state is to be a check and balance, and we rubber stamped this contract without reading it," Sununu said after the meeting. "I don't understand why (all the councilors were not) saying give us a couple of days."
Two Republicans running for the council took Democrats to task for not reading the 200-page contract before voting on it, including Jim Adams, who is running for Pappas's seat.
"This is a perfect example of why our Granite Staters are losing faith in their elected officials," said Wheeler. "NH and the Executive Council has always taken pride in conducting the people's business in public, out in the open. Yet there has been a disturbing trend in the executive branch in Concord to keep the public in the dark regarding spending in excess of authorized appropriations."
"Today's vote means thousands of New Hampshire residents will have access to health care coverage and the economic security that comes with it," Pappas said. "These few amendments to the much larger Medicaid Managed Care contracts were anticipated and vetted and are essential in implementing the bipartisan health care expansion compromise. I read these amendments and participated in a question-and-answer session with Health and Human Services, and I know delaying (the) vote would have needlessly compromised health care coverage for thousands of individuals in our state."
The election season is in high gear.
The State Employees Association came out of the shout a little earlier than usual by endorsing a candidate in the Democratic primary for state Senate District 15 consisting of Concord, Hopkinton, Henniker and Warner, all communities with large populations of state workers.
When longtime Sen. Sylvia Larsen announced her retirement this year, she said Ardinger was a capable replacement, but other Democrats had other ideas.
The exodus of legislative staffers continues.
Tom Cronin, who served as Senate communications director, begins a new job Monday as public affairs manager for the University of New Hampshire.
Cronin said he will help coordinate UNH's government relations and advocacy efforts to increase the awareness and reputation of the university among state and federal elected officials and New Hampshire residents.
On Cronin's last day on the job, he provided a little bipartisan help to a woman whose van got stuck in the Eagle Square Parking Garage.
Cronin and Senate Democratic Policy Director Matt Robison worked to free the van from the garage's clutches, and the woman was soon on her way.
Under the State House Dome will not appear July 27 or Aug. 3 because I am will be on vacation for the next two weeks. The Dome will resume on Aug. 10.