NH House Republican Leader Comments on Bill That Spends Surplus Funds

CONCORD - House Republican Leader Gene Chandler (R-Bartlett) offered the following statement relative to House vote on HB1411, a bill that spends rather than saves 2013 budget surplus dollars, and reopens the budget to increase spending at the Department of Health and Human Services. The bill passed by a vote of 185-153. An amendment sponsored by Rep. Chandler and Rep. Kurk proposed depositing all $15.3 million in surplus funds into the Rainy Day fund. The amendment failed by a vote of 157-172.

House Republican Leader Gene Chandler (R-Bartlett)

“We passed a 2 year state budget last year with a bipartisan majority. We cannot begin reopening the budget to increase spending whenever a state agency needs a boost. It’s setting a very dangerous precedent. The state has the equivalent of less than 1% of general fund revenue in its rainy day account. This is unacceptable. Without adequate savings, the state has little or no cushion if revenues fall too short of projections. The State Treasurer has recommended putting the entire $15.3 million of surplus funds in the rainy day fund. It will strengthen our state’s finances and credit, and in our opinion it’s the right thing to do. Ratings agencies such as Moody’s suggest in order to maintain a AA1 rating, a minimum of 5% should be in reserve. That equals about $70 million for New Hampshire. The amendment Republicans offered proposed to put all of the surplus into the Rainy Day Fund, which is the financially responsible place to put it. $15 million is a small but necessary step towards that goal.”