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Friday, August 1, 2014

Final 2013-14 state revenues dip though $3 million over forecast

CONCORD – The final report on state revenues confirmed taxes and fees brought $3.1 million more into state coffers than expected for the state budget year that ended June 30.

This tax summary from the Hassan administration was $2.7 million less than disclosed a month ago . ...

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CONCORD – The final report on state revenues confirmed taxes and fees brought $3.1 million more into state coffers than expected for the state budget year that ended June 30.

This tax summary from the Hassan administration was $2.7 million less than disclosed a month ago .

This small 1.1 percent surplus in expected revenues has significant financial and political consequences since the 2014-15 state budget assumed as of this halfway point on July 1, state government would have a $26 million surplus. It’s unknown how much surplus it has at this time as state spending has yet to be determined.

Administrative Services Commissioner Linda Hodgdon said her staff needs until the end of September to review thousands of agency budget accounts to determine that figure.

Last spring Gov. Maggie Hassan did say it was unlikely that agencies would be able to hit a critical target of returning $50 million of unspent money into the treasury.

Every year, this accrual accounting adjusts state revenue totals up or down and Hodgdon said the final $2.7 million decline was not out the norm of years past.

“It’s hard to say what is an average year for these adjustments. Earlier this month, it looked like the number might be even larger, so at the end of the day, I was pleased it was down to $2.7 million,” Hodgdon said Thursday.

Most of the dip came in business taxes, which were adjusted downward by $4.8 million though state taxes on cigarettes and other tobacco projects slid down by $1.2 million.

On the plus side, these adjustments from an assortment of 250 fees, fines and other sources totaled $4 million more than initially reported.

In the most recent year, the state took in $2.17 billion which was $103 million less than the previous one.

Hodgdon said more than half of that drop was from a Medicaid tax on hospitals that two state courts ruled was unconstitutional.

The Legislature has since approved an alternative tax structure, and all but one of the state’s acute care hospitals have publicly endorsed it.

In the year ending June 30, 2013, the state also received $30 million as part of national settlements with tobacco makers and oil companies that sold gasoline with an additive that polluted ground water supplies.

Kevin Landrigan can reached at 321-7040 or klandrigan@nashua
telegraph.com. Also, follow Landrigan on Twitter (@Klandrigan).