NH Senate Republicans Boost Rainy Day Fund and Protect Highway Fund

The New Hampshire Senate

Republican Majority Office

Senate Rules Committee approves introduction of responsible budget bills

Concord, NH – The Senate Rules Committee today approved introduction of a pair of bills to improve how the state manages its budget. Senate Republicans are crafting bills to bolster the Rainy Day Fund and protect the Highway Fund.

Senate Finance Chair Jeanie Forrester (R-Meredith) won approval to introduce legislation transferring the state’s undesignated Fiscal Year 2013 Surplus into the Rainy Day Fund. The bill follows State Treasurer Catherine Provencher’s advice that the current Rainy Day Fund is inadequate.

“Until 2008, New Hampshire’s Rainy Day Fund was sufficient to cover more than six-percent of general fund revenues – a level deemed appropriate by bond rating agencies,” said Forrester.  “Unfortunately, past legislatures reduced the Rainy Day Fund to a paltry $9 million, which covers less than one-percent of our general fund revenues.  That’s one of the worst levels of stabilization funding in the nation and leaves the state precious little room cushion in the event of another economic downturn.  My legislation will begin rebuilding that fund to a level that the Treasurer and bond rating agencies expect and our taxpayers deserve.”

Sen. Jeb Bradley (R-Wolfeboro) was cleared to introduce a bill protecting the state’s Highway Fund and improving transparency by ending the diversion of millions of dollars to state agencies other than the Department of Transportation.

“When New Hampshire drivers pay the Gas Tax at the pump or their car registration every year, they think that money is going to maintain the roads and bridges on which they drive. Instead of increasing those taxes, we should first ensure that Highway Fund revenues stay within the Department of Transportation,” Bradley said.  “This biennium, $160 million will be taken out of the Highway Fund to pay for other state agencies. Highway Fund diversion has been a long-held and bipartisan habit, but my bill would gradually phase out this diversion while protecting the safety of our roads.”