HERE’S THE first significant news on the state of the state’s revenue.
It’s not great but it’s less than a catastrophe at this point at least.
September is one of the five big months for the state’s tax on corporate profits, so it’s the initial bellwether on the health of New Hampshire government coffers.
All taxes and fees came in $26.7 million below the same month last year.
The last state budget year was an anomaly because the federal tax cut delivered massive business tax payments to all the states. This helped create the roughly $200 million budget surplus we ended with last June 30.
Compared to September of two years ago, this past month brought in $8 million more in business taxes.
Administrative Services Commissioner Charles Arlinghaus’ team looked at a “pro-rated budget,” meaning: How did the state do in the first quarter compared to its estimate for the entire year?
The answer for all revenues: It was only off $9 million, or 1.8%.
Again, this first quarter has only one swig of big business tax returns while the second and fourth quarters each year have two big months in them.
Meanwhile, Arlinghaus said his team this week also completed the draft Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, which now goes to the auditors for final completion later this fall.
Some of what government had to swallow
Gov. Chris Sununu said any compromise on the state budget meant not getting all you wanted and having to stomach some of what you didn’t.
The final spending plan included provisions from three Senate bills Sununu vetoed, all of which were upheld in the Senate:
• Job Training (SB 2). This was the pet project of Sen. Kevin Cavanaugh, D-Manchester, that created another earmark from the unemployment trust fund to support more job training.
“Raiding the unemployment system for this purpose is shortsighted, risky, and financially irresponsible,” Sununu wrote in his veto message, adding he proposed his own targeted investments.
“Rather than move forward with these innovative proposals, the Legislature has once again put aside sound financial management and opted for tax increases. I cannot support that approach.”
• Energy Efficiency (SB 205). This bill extended the systems benefit charge for the Energy Efficiency Resource Standard (EERS) and doesn’t require legislative approval to increase it.
“The systems benefits charge is a tax hidden within an electric bill,” Sununu wrote in his veto message. “The Legislature should not abdicate its responsibility to unelected officials at the Public Utilities Commission.”
• Medicaid Provider Payments (SB 5). Sununu opposed and vetoed the across-the-board, 3.1% hike for all providers. This bill would have had those increases occur July 1. Sununu won part of the argument as he saved $20 million by delaying those increases until January.
Talk show host moves on
Conservative radio talk show host Keith Hanson has left his perch at WNTK-FM in New London.
“After four years of serving as host of our local programming, we thank him and wish him well in his future endeavors,” station management posted Friday, adding they would use syndicated shows until they find another host.
“Any programming or host change is never an easy task and I’m sure there will be fans of Keith that will be disappointed with the news, which I fully understand.”
Hanson serves as chairman of the Sullivan County GOP.
He was a candidate for chairman of the Republican State Committee in the race that Steve Stepanek of Bristol won last January.
“Everything is fine. After four years (this past Monday was the 4-year mark) it’s time for some other ventures!” Hanson said.
A quartet of 2020 hopefuls up North
Coös County Democrats landed four presidential candidates for the annual Harry Truman Dinner at the Mountain View Grand Presidential Ballroom Tuesday night.
Andrew Yang, Tulsi Gabbard, Joe Sestak and Alan Howe all have speaking parts in the program.
Howe is a decorated Iraq War veteran who ran for and lost a congressional race in Pennsylvania before mounting this quixotic race for the White House.
Act Blue acting up in NH
A national master of small donor fundraising, Act Blue is branching out in New Hampshire, recently raising more than $30,000, and much of it in large donations.
All the presidential campaigns, mostly through individual staffers, were tapped as we identified workers or committees with Andrew Yang ($2,000), Pete Buttigieg ($1,200), Beto O’Rourke ($440), Joe Biden ($755), John Delaney ($579) and Cory Booker ($445) from New Hampshire that all chipped in.
Then Act Blue pumped that money in big chunks out to New Hampshire Democratic Party committees like Carroll County ($3,800), Rockingham County ($2,300), Coös County ($5,500), Nashua ($4,100) and Manchester ($1,700).
Andrews is the favorite
She’s running against a former incumbent but ex-U.S. House Chief of Staff and Democrat Naomi Andrews is the favorite in the special election that Epping voters will decide Tuesday as she goes up against former GOP Rep. Michael Vose.
GOP leaders credit Vose with working it and he could win the seat back in 2020.
But all the presidential campaigns and their volunteers have been fanning out for Andrews, who has raised a staggering $19,000 for a seat that pays $100 a year.
By party registration this is an R-plus-4% district but the Dems ran up the score on special elections in 2017-18, so you’re betting against that trend picking Vose.
Democratic activists last week celebrated campaign finance reformist Olivia Zink winning a seat on the Franklin City Council. Revenge was sweet for her, as she won last Tuesday by 10 votes after losing by only one the last time she ran.
Congratulations to Franklin Mayor Tony Giunta, who dusted off two opponents to win another term at the top.