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Entries in State Budget (33)


NH Senate Republicans - ICYMI: Forrester pens column on spending transparency 

The New Hampshire Senate

Republican Majority Office


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The public has a right to know how much money state government spends


August 24, 2014


By Sen. Jeanie Forrester


One of the quirks of New Hampshire’s budget process is that we start writing next year’s budget before we elect the Governor and Legislators who will approve it. State departments are already crafting their spending requests for Fiscal Years 2016 and 2017. Unfortunately, they are doing so in the dark, without a clear picture of how the current budget is shaping up.


Fiscal Year 2014 ended on June 30th. We knew within a few days that state revenues came in right on target. In fact, the updated revenue figures released earlier this month show that General and Education Trust Fund revenues came in just $3.1 million over the conservative revenue estimates that Senate Republicans insisted on during the 2013 budget debate. That’s 0.1% over the $2.17 billion dollar forecast. Some taxes brought in more than we planned, and some dipped below our estimates, but the overall revenue plan hit the center of the bullseye last year.


That doesn’t guarantee that revenues will be as accurate this year, which runs through June 30, 2015. Republicans and Democrats in the House and Senate will all keep an eye on revenues throughout the year, aided by the Monthly Revenue Forecast, published the first week of every month by the New Hampshire Department of Administrative Services.


Unfortunately, we lack this important transparency on the spending side of the New Hampshire budget. The data is there, but Governor Hassan has so far refused to share it with the public. Governor Hassan has been warning since May that state departments might exceed the FY14 spending levels authorized in the current budget, and has reinstated a spending freeze on out-of-state travel, equipment purchases, and filling vacant state positions that expired last July.


But she has not shared the basis for this concern, or shared with the Legislature whether any state departments overspent their budgets last year. Since the close of FY14, Senate Republicans have been asking to examine the state’s spending records. We’ve formally requested Governor Hassan to provide a department by department update on FY14 spending to the Legislative Fiscal Committee, and she has refused. If we’re going to have the bipartisan cooperation that the Governor claims to value so highly, we all need to have up to date information.


New Hampshire law requires spending reports similar to the revenue reports we read each month.


RSA 9:11 Monthly Reports “Once each month the director, division of accounting services shall make a report to each state agency showing in detail the total amount expended during the previous month and the accumulated amount expended to date from July 1. The report shall also show the total encumbrances outstanding and the balance available for the remainder of the fiscal year.”


State law requires the Governor to know exactly how much each department spends every month. And it authorizes the Governor to reduce expenditures in any department in danger of going over budget.

We simply want to see the same information the Governor has. She keeps hinting that we’re going to have big budget problems, and insists there’s a problem with revenues. Well, we can see the revenues every month, and we know that’s not the problem.


But what about spending? Did any state agencies exceed their budget expenditures last year? Are any in danger of going over budget this year? The Governor insists that everything is fine. She could prove that very easily, and back up her claims of bipartisan problem solving, simply by sharing the monthly spending reports sent out to every state agency.


Passing a balanced budget is important but it’s only the beginning of a long process. Monitoring revenues to make sure we meet our estimates is important too. However the most important part of maintaining a balanced budget is managing department spending. Doing that in a transparent manner helps build trust that the government is being efficient with our tax dollars. Doing that in the dark – or worse, not managing spending and keeping the public in the dark – leads to suspicion, confusion, and potentially to budget deficits.


Sen. Jeanie Forrester (R-Meredith) is Chair of the Senate Finance Committee.


NH Sen Bradley to Hassan: Which business taxes would you like to increase?

The New Hampshire Senate

Republican Majority Office

Governor continues to blame revenues while hiding spending


Concord, NH – Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley (R-Wolfeboro) today called on Governor Maggie Hassan to specify which business taxes she wants to increase. Hassan has been warning of a potential budget deficit since May, but has refused to update the Legislature on state spending. FY14 revenues came in above the conservative forecasts insisted on by Senate Republicans, yet Hassan continues to claim that recent business tax reforms “are having a negative impact on the state's budget.”


“If Governor Hassan thinks New Hampshire’s business taxes are too low, she should tell us which ones she wants to increase,” Bradley said. “Does she want to start taxing trusts again? That would raise about $5 million a year. Does she want to reduce the Research and Development Tax Credit? She might want to roll back the Net Operating Loss Carry Forward provisions signed by Governor Lynch. the Or maybe she wants to lower the threshold for the Business Enterprise Tax so that New Hampshire’s smallest businesses will pay more.”


“These important business tax reforms had broad, bipartisan support, and were factored into the revenue estimates that proved so accurate for FY14,” Bradley continued. “If Governor Hassan wants to roll back these tax reforms, she should tell us which taxes she wants to increase. In the meantime, I would repeat our request to update the public on how much state departments spent in FY14, which ended 50 days ago.”




In 2011, the Legislature increased the filing threshold for the Business Enterprise Tax from $150,000 to $200,000, providing tax relief for New Hampshire’s smallest businesses.


In 2012, the Legislature voted 23-0 in the Senate and 312-18 in the House to override Governor Lynch’s veto of SB 326, exempting trusts from the Interest and Dividends Tax.


In 2012, the Legislature overwhelmingly approved HB 242, increasing the Net Operating Loss Carry Forward provision of the Business Profits Tax to $10,000,000.


In 2013, the Legislature passed SB 1, doubling the Research and Development Tax Credit and making it permanent. At the time, Hassan called it “a critical component of our innovation agenda.”


In June of 2013, Hassan praised the “bipartisan, fiscally responsible balanced budget agreement” that included all of the tax provisions she’s now criticizing.


NH Sen Bradley renews call for spending update as HHS goes $100 million over budget 

The New Hampshire Senate

Republican Majority Office

How much have the other departments spent?


Concord, NH – Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley (R-Wolfeboro) today renewed the request for Governor Maggie Hassan to supply Fiscal Year 2014 spending figures for all state departments. The Department of Health and Human Services is reporting that it exceeded its FY14 budget by $30.9 million, and is on track to overspend its FY15 budget by $71.2 million. FY14 ended on June 30th, and Senate Finance Chair Jeanie Forrester (R-Meredith) formally requested an update on department spending on July 7th.


“The potential budget deficit from HHS alone tops $100 million, but New Hampshire is operating in the dark. Revenues came in on target last year, but spending is over budget. We don’t know how much, and that’s irresponsible. Governor Hassan needs to open the state’s books and provide the Legislature and the public with the complete picture. Every day she stalls makes it harder to address the potential budget deficit created by overspending,” Bradley stated.


Spending Watch ‘14


44 Days since the end of Fiscal Year 2014

37 Days since Sen. Forrester requested an update on state spending



Hemingway For Governor - Governor Hassan "Cooks the Books" to Justify Turkey Trot

State Claimed a 22% Export Increase; report shows increase was .7%

Manchester, NH – A new article in Business NH Magazine has exposed Governor Maggie Hassan and her administration for misrepresenting state export numbers in an effort to boost her irresponsible junket to Turkey last month and boost her leadership statistic. 

“It was an attention-grabbing headline: “NH Export Growth Led Nation in 2013.” That claim was later used by … Gov. Maggie Hassan as proof of the success of the state’s export efforts and to help defend NH’s recent trade mission to Turkey when it came under fire from Hassan’s Republican opponents.”  The Truth Behind NH’s Export Growth, by Erika Cohen, Business NH Magazine.

Governor Hassan and others in her Administration claimed a 22% increase in exports in 2013 over the previous year.  Unfortunately, as the article continues, the report is based on a ridiculous claim.  The number includes the “export” of crude oil. Unfortunately NH neither produces nor refines crude oil so where did the number come from? According to the article:

“That crude oil merely travels on a train through NH from other locations to Canada,”

“Governor Hassan so wanted to travel to Turkey, during a state travel ban she imposed, for reasons we still don’t understand, that her Administration used illusionary math to sell it,” said Republican Gubernatorial Candidate Andrew Hemingway.  “This is beyond failed leadership, this is deliberately throwing out false statistics to support her waste of taxpayer funds.  She should be held accountable and she needs to explain why she felt it was OK to cook the statistic books to the very people she is beholden to.”


NH Senate Finance Chair Requests State Spending Update 

Calls for comprehensive report on State’s financial position heading into FY2015


Concord, NH – Senate Finance Chairman Jeanie Forrester, R-Meredith, today formally requested that Fiscal Committee Chairman Mary Jane Wallner schedule a Fiscal Year 2014 state spending update as a part of the next regularly Fiscal Committee meeting.


Last week, lawmakers learned that state revenues for the fiscal year exceeded plan by approximately $5.8 million.  Yet while revenues have met the responsible and conservative estimates set by the budget, it remains unclear how the Executive Branch has performed with regards to controlling spending.


“As we move into the second year of the biennium, it is imperative to have a comprehensive understanding of our current financial position, especially on the expense side of the budget, in order to determine if any legislative action is necessary to ensure we live within the balanced budget we all voted for,” writes Sen. Forrester in her letter.


The Fiscal Committee is scheduled to meet on Friday, July 25 at 10AM.  The full text of Sen. Forrester’s letter to Representative Wallner is available below:



Dear Representative Wallner:


On behalf of the Senate members of the Legislative Fiscal Committee, would you please schedule an update on FY14 state spending as a part of our next regular meeting?


As you know, the Fiscal Year 2014/15 budget requires a budget surplus of approximately $26 million in the first year of the biennium in order to be balanced.  To accomplish this, revenues must come in as planned, and state agencies and departments must not spend more than their budget appropriations which includes meeting their lapse and back of the budget reductions required by law.


With the June revenue figures in, and the preliminary FY14 figures reported, we now know that actual revenues for the fiscal year have met the responsible and conservative estimates laid out in our budget.  This is an important first piece of the puzzle.


Still unknown, however, is how the Executive Branch performed on the spending side of the budget for the year.  The Governor’s recent words of caution, particularly with regards to the Health and Human Services budget, as well as her decision to institute a spending freeze to further restrict state expenses, suggests that the Governor may have experienced difficulty keeping spending under control over the last twelve months. 


As we move into the second year of the biennium, it is imperative to have a comprehensive understanding of our current financial position, especially on the expense side of the budget, in order to determine if any legislative action is necessary to ensure we live within the balanced budget we all voted for.


Therefore, I would ask that you include on the agenda for our Friday, July 25 Fiscal Committee meeting a “spending update” item to include a presentation from the Governor’s office.


Thank you for your consideration of this request.