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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Continued Budget Concerns in Concord

The Portsmouth Herald reports:
Over the first two months of the fiscal year, the state reported revenue for the General and Education Funds at $187.5 million, which was $17.6 million below the revenue plan passed by lawmakers in June and $5.5 million below 2009 collections for the same period. The rooms and meals tax, which was raised by lawmakers, came in $3.7 million below estimates. The state's two business taxes came in $2 million below estimates while tobacco taxes also came in $2 million below estimates.
House Speaker Terri Norelli assured readers, however, "July and August normally don't provide us solid indicators. I think we will have a better idea of how things are going in this highly volatile economic environment with the September numbers."

Of course, just a few weeks ago in response to poor July revenues, Norelli told us not to worry as August would be better. If not? The she would be "concerned" she said.

Maybe "assured" wasn't the right word.

Meanwhile, talks have broken down with the state's union leadership as Governor Lynch attempts to squeeze out $25 million in mandated cuts needed to balance the budget. The eventual contract will cover over 10,000 state workers and must be finalized by October 12.

On top of that, as the Herald reminds us, there is still the pending matter of the $110 million JUA lawsuit. The JUA of course won the first few rounds of the fight and the matter awaits action by the State Supreme Court (most expect the court will concur with the JUA and subsequently carve a huge hole in the state budget).
"Doing nothing, which appears to be the case right now, is a very dangerous and irresponsible decision," said Senate Minority Leader Peter Bragdon of Milford. "With revenues down 15 percent from their rosy estimates and an adverse ruling from the Supreme Court, a lack of a Plan B could only mean hasty decisions will be made. Hasty decisions are what put us in this mess; more hasty decisions will only further burden our citizens."

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