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Hassan’s spending freeze proposal approved

Budget Director Gerard Murphy listens as Gov. Maggie Hassan speaks to a joint legislative committee Thursday May 21, 2014 in Concord, N.H.  Hassan requested to freeze hiring, equipment purchases and out-of-state travel. Hassan said that a $25 million budget surplus in March had nearly evaporated by the end of April to just under $4 million. A legislative committee approved Hassan's proposal. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)

Budget Director Gerard Murphy listens as Gov. Maggie Hassan speaks to a joint legislative committee Thursday May 21, 2014 in Concord, N.H. Hassan requested to freeze hiring, equipment purchases and out-of-state travel. Hassan said that a $25 million budget surplus in March had nearly evaporated by the end of April to just under $4 million. A legislative committee approved Hassan's proposal. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)

With lawmakers’ approval, Gov. Maggie Hassan issued an executive order yesterday freezing most hiring, equipment purchases and out-of-state travel paid for with New Hampshire state tax funds.

The joint legislative fiscal committee voted unanimously to approve Hassan’s request, in keeping with a practice utilized by governors when confronted with potential budget deficits.

Hassan said a $25 million budget surplus in March had nearly evaporated by the end of April to just under $4 million. April revenue collections were $22 million below projections due mostly to lower-than-expected revenues from taxes on business, interest and dividends.

“We are taking the fiscally responsible, pre-emptive step of putting a freeze into place now so we are prepared in case the revenue trends seen in April continue,” Hassan said.

Hassan said the judicial branch is implementing a similar freeze and suggested the Legislature do the same.

Agencies can seek a waiver to approve spending frozen by Hassan’s executive order. The hiring freeze does not apply to workers providing direct or custodial care or to law enforcement. Exceptions also are made for purchases of food, drugs, fuel, medical supplies and items needed in an emergency.

Hassan said if revenues in June are weak, more spending cuts may be needed, including some that require a special legislative session this summer for lawmakers to approve.

“These cuts, as you know, will not be easy,” she said.

Senate President Chuck Morse said spending, not revenue, is what needs to be managed.

“The state does not have a revenue problem,” said Morse, a Salem Republican.

Morse said he did not know whether a special session would be needed unless no agreement is reached in the next week on a fix to a tax on hospitals that two judges have ruled unconstitutional. The state collects about $185 million from the tax annually.

Legislative leaders, Hassan and hospital representatives have been meeting behind closed doors to try to reach a settlement. House and Senate negotiators also hope to find a legislative fix by a May 30 legislative deadline.

Legacy Comments23

I must add, PLEASE do not compare NH with Connecticut. They are taxing people to death down there and it is still not enough money. The bigger government gets, the more money they want. (notice I didn't say need) People are moving from CT in DROVES. I have a friend that makes 92k a year and can't afford much. The taxes are killing them. They have no debt, drive older cars, own no credit cards and still have a hard time affording the basic necessities. That's disgusting. They will be moving to NH soon. They will take a huge pay cut, (40k a year) but will be able to live better here. Don't worry, they won't be pulling a Massachusetts invader, they will be leaving their politics down there, along with all the welfare sucking programs. Perhaps NH should take a good look at those on welfare. I bet we could cut the rolls by at least 75% by weeding out the scum. All in all, smaller government would be best first step.

Good to see that your are not bringing your unbiased politics to our state. We need more people like you. You can join the Free Staters who are so unbiased and nonpolitical that they won't even let people know who they are. There are a few people on this forum that you will get along with, they also call poor people names like rats and scum.

Your comments are offensive and over the top. No one has ever called poor people "rats" or "scum". Please stop the ridiculous rhetoric and attempting to pit one person against another based on economic. Have you no shame?

As for the welfare comment, not all people on welfare are scum. There are very few who truly need it. The rest have scammed the system and choose to continue to drain off of decent people who work. So, what would you call them? And I never said anything about rats.

As for the welfare comment, not all people on welfare are scum. There are very few who truly need it. The rest have scammed the system and choose to continue to drain off of decent people who work. So, what would you call them?

I do not know how anyone could interpret your statement about reducing the welfare rolls by 75& by weeding out the scum, other than that you believe 75% of welfare recipients are scum. Perhaps you could enlighten us all with a different interpretation. The rat comment was not yours, that was someone else's.

And do you have any shame or embarrassment for believing that ridiculous story about Obama? You constantly belittle people that have less than you and have a very superior attitude that comes out in all your posts. Maybe you should check the posts of your compatriots on the right, Unbelievable and LaurieFenwick before you say no one has called poor people "rats and scum".

I have lived here all my life, as have my parents. It is my friends moving here. As for the welfare comment, not all people on welfare are scum. There are very few who truly need it. The rest have scammed the system and choose to continue to drain off of decent people who work. So, what would you call them?

If she wants to generate revenue, I have a few ideas. First, get rid of all the "fat cats" in Concord. NO ONE should be making over $55k working for the state, especially with all the benefits that the long time workers workers get. It's disgusting that we pay someone more than 80k a year, they have more than 6 weeks paid vacation, a state paid car (this includes gas and insurance) AND a health insurance plan, that we in the private sector, could only dream of having. This has to stop. The Gov herself doesn't need a limo for every little trip. Why can't she drive herself? I would be more impressed if she showed up for an event in her own vehicle. That would tell me she at least has a clue about trying to save the state money. Then there's police revenue. Every year we are invaded with outrageously noisy bikers. We have laws on the books, pull them over and ticket them. If we can get pulled over in our cars for a noisy exhaust with no test, then they should be subject to the same thing too. Unless of course, people are scared of these little boys and girls who feel the need to be noticed with their noise. I don't care if they are from here or not. Pull them over, give them a ticket. I don't care what their supposed tourist dollars bring, I moved here for the quiet. And since I live here all the time, and pay my bills, I expect that these laws are upheld. And before someone jumps on the "loud pipes saves lives" bandwagon, realize that scientifically, that is impossible. Sound doesn't move that way. Nice try though.

You're kidding, right? You know the state has people like physicians, attornies, highly skilled IT staff, scientists, engineers, and administrators that have duties equivalent to a corporate CEO? You want to pay them all $55K or less? There's only one state employee (so far) that I can see seems to be overpaid, but it's not unsual in this country. Do you know who the highest paid state employee in NH is? The UNH Hockey coach, that's who. Public employees are already paid less (about 11% average) than their equivalents in the private sector: http://www.nirsonline.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=395&Itemid=48

We need to look at better ways to fund our states needs. A sales tax coupled with a lowering of our business tax might be a solution. The sales tax itself could be as the one in Conn. where the first $50.00 is not taxed. Income taxes have been discussed as well but as hated as the sales tax is it would ensure that everyone including tourists would participate in the states up keep. The lowering of business tax at the same time could entice more businesses to come here.

Thanks Acg. I see from: http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2013/10/12/tax-friendly-states-business/2971467/ over to: http://247wallst.com/special-report/2013/10/11/the-most-tax-friendly-states-for-business-2/2/ that N.H. is #8 best of thus needing to reduced the 8.5% corporate tax to ____% to be THE best! Of then businesses will flock to New Hampshire? Is there a Report on this theory?

Thanks back attcha jHaas.Good read on usa today thanks. i am not saying we are doing poorly business wise but we could be doing better. The pick of health insurance companies could be bettered with a lesser bus tax as an example.

JSHass - looked at your link as part of retirement planning. Thought I would include the rest of the information in the article on NH taxes. ""New Hampshire also offers landowners a nice break in the form of freezes on the assessed value of undeveloped land of a certain size. However, the state still received one of the worst property tax grades in the nation. Per capita collections in New Hampshire were among the highest in the nation, both in dollar terms and as a percent of income.".... NH needs to stop the "Current Use" tax break if it wants to be a property tax state. How about a tax exemption that every citizen in the state gets to take. Why do only the larger property owners get this exemption which applies to over 50% of the ENTIRE state. ~~27,000 property owners have OVER 1/2 the state is in this tax exemption.

Thank you Jim, even though with the typo of my last name. You're right to some degree of "to stop the 'Current Use' tax break" to which I add of us landowners who want out of such, like me with 95 acres .7 to .9 mile back on a Class VI road of actually like a jeep trail, but are forbidden by local town officials from upgrading the road to tar for to put in a loop road ON the property for up to 17 house lots because the Board of Selectmen (past, of with-out prejudice of to bring it to a NEW Board) didn't want to set a "Betterment Assessment" upon my neighbors in having to pay $more over ten (10) years, of NONE of them complained, of it was those others living AWAY from the place of who like to keep it a horse trail as a get-away for like a "free ride". I'd like to put some people to work to make $money and pay lawful property taxes.

Thanks Zack, plus I was hoping someone would say that. Now our State Legislators ought to file a House or Senate Bill or Amend a current existing bill to DO this fifteen (15%) percent reduction. Maybe to start at 10%, or more Like for example to not re-hire by vote in Reps Hall the Article 67 Secretary of State, Bill Gardner who has been in there long enough of from the 1970s of he has enough $money to retire now, of to get somebody new in at the starting grade in RSA Ch. 94:1-a,I(b),II of not the current $110,750.02 to Gardner but "only" $83,356.81 (before the reduction) of thus a $savings of: $27,393.21. - - Joe P.S. Thank you too Rabbit for your "We seem to have govt depts. stacking up like planes on a runway these days" but see RSA Chapter 21-G:2,II at: http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/rsa/html/I/21-G/21-G-mrg.htm for to TRY to hinder this growth, by quality rather than quantity, as explained in the words of: "The growth of the executive branch from 32 constitutional offices and state agencies in 1900, to 96 in 1970, to more than 140 in 1983, has created an unwieldy and confusing state government structure. This structure has developed piecemeal, resulting in lack of policy coordination, excessive costs, inefficient use of personnel and capital, overlapping agency jurisdictions, duplication, and the ineffective use of the state's limited financial resources".

Democrats passing massive out of whack budgets is not NEWS.... It is tradition

We seem to have govt depts. stacking up like planes on a runway these days. Incompetence seems to be something we accept. A bill was passed yesterday to allow the Head of the VA to be able to fire people. The common sense question is, why has his hands been tied? Should the head of anything be able to fire incompetent and corrupt employees? it appears not. They just transfer them. Sounds like our public schools. The denial that we have in regards to how govt runs is insane. The VA is the poster child of how govt manages health care. Where is the outrage? The VA is also the model of how the ACA will be managed. let that stick for a bit. The ACA will be run exactly how the VA is run. Yet folks believe this is a good thing. So they just let it ride, and concentrate on climate change, war on women, and more entitlement programs to help victims. Wake up folks. Govt cannot manage anything well. Growing govt will only make them more incompetent.

Apples and oranges. The ACA is based is PRIVATE insurance by PRIVATE health care providers. VA - government run health care.

It's time to reduce a lot of these high paying salaries of especially the Executive Commissioners and judges who are making over $150,000 per year! Over $10,000 a month is more than they deserve! http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/rsa/html/VI/94/94-1-a.htm Years ago Nackey Loeb of The "Union Leader" shamed these people by posting their name and $salary, of it hidden here in their title and $salary. So WHY can't the "Concord Monitor" do one better by also posting their face? (;-) Do you really think that these State Legislators work for only $100 a year without political $kickbacks!? for their appointments.

My man you hit it right on the head. 15% across the board cuts in Mgt.

Yes Zack; plus the word management (of to accomplish goals) is key, as well as "priorities" mentioned twice in Hassan's explanation of WHY she hired Gerard Murphy, pictured here, of see: http://www.governor.nh.gov/media/news/gov-elect/pr-2013-01-02-finalize-staff.htm . The word priority defined as: of greatest or most importance, like The N.H. Bill of Rights, and so this April pot-hole like dip is only temporary, since the State has a $13 million surplus, [see" Senate Bill 415-FN] of which $8 million came in from court fines and $5 million from filing fees that are supposed to be NOT fee BUT "free" with the letter "r". Maybe it's time to tax the adjusted court winnings in civil cases for the wrongdoers to pay this extra penalty.

1. Apologies to you for my comment about your posts being incomprehensible. I've begun reading them again after a hiatus and find that I can follow most of them. 2. As to state reps, I personally know two (now retired) who served only out of a sense of public service and definitely NOT for any kickbacks. I can't speak for the other 400 or so, but I suspect most of them have similar motivation, no matter which side of the political divide they are on.

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