Mar 3, 2017 12:48 PM

Governor's team confident their budget estimates are 'conservative and appropriate'


CONCORD – Gov. Chris Sununu’s budget team is standing by its revenue projections for the next two years.

The state House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee Wednesday estimated that state tax revenues for the next biennium to come in $60 million less than what New Hampshire’s first GOP governor in a dozen years projected in his budget address to state lawmakers last month.

The estimates mean that House budget writes may likely make cuts when it comes to spending Sununu proposed for such areas as education, health care, and infrastructure.

“There are a lot of things in the governor’s budget that people were excited about, and they are not likely to be in the House budget,” Republican Neil Kurk, the House Finance Committee chairman, told reporters this week.

He added that funding for some existing programs may come in at lower levels than what the governor outlined.

But Sununu communications director David Abrams told NH1 News on Friday that “the Governor put together a great team, with Charlie Arlinghaus leading the charge, and we’re confident that our estimates are both conservative and appropriate.”

The overall price tag of Sununu’s proposed budget is $12.1 million dollars, $800,000 more than the current two-year budget. But with projected increases in revenues of 2.5% in the first year of the budget and 2% in the second year, the governor was able to call for higher spending levels in key areas as education, the war against the drug crisis, and more funding for resources for the over budget Department of Health and Human Services and their embattled Division of Children, Youth, and Families.

The budget proposes a 2.2% increase in spending in the first year of the budget, which takes effect on July 1, and 1.2% in the second year. While there’s an increase in spending, Sununu touted in his Feb. 9 address that “this budget cuts nearly $500 million from state agency budget requests. And it does so without a single layoff.”

Revenue estimates can change throughout the year, and they often rise in March and April, two crucial months for business tax revenues.

The full House of Representatives will vote on the Ways and Means Committee revenue estimates next week.

The House Finance Committee is going on the road early next week, holding public hearings Monday at the Derry Town Hall and at Plymouth State University. They’ll hold a third hearing at the State House on March 13.

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