NH House Leaders Comment on Notification of Agreement on $36 Million Loss of Federal Revenue from 2004 Audit

CONCORD – House Speaker William O’Brien and House Majority Leader D.J. Bettencourt offered the following statements in response to the news that the federal government will be withholding $36 million in revenue based on an audit of the state’s Disproportionate Share Hospital program dating back from 2004.  The state entered into an agreement with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in which the loss of revenue will be spread over two years, starting in January 2012.  This means that the state will see a $27 million loss in the current budget and a $9 million revenue loss in the next biennial budget.

House Speaker William O’Brien

“While we certainly hoped that the federal government would reconsider the state’s appeal, the reality that we are facing a $36 million hole – and a $27 million hole in this budget – is now upon us.  That’s why we introduced a bill (House Bill 653) to give the state the opportunity to make spending reductions to bring our budget back to balance.  Obviously, we have a lean state budget, but we are going to need to do what the working families across New Hampshire are doing right now: tightening their belts to live within their means.  Clearly, this is going to involve the House, Senate and Governor working together to bring fiscal responsibility in order to resolve this old debt.”

House Majority Leader D.J. Bettencourt

“Fortunately the House made the choice to use reasonable, responsible revenue figures to bring integrity and accountability back to the budgeting process. We will have to make further spending reductions to close this hole, but they’ll be a drop in the bucket compared to what we’d have had to have made if we had used the Governor’s overinflated estimates. We’ve made clear that this legislature refuses to pass the burden off to the taxpayers or raise any taxes or fees.”

Attached - NH DSH Appeal - Executed Agreement