Don't Spend it all in One Place
Governor Sununu laid out his first budget last week, a $12.1 billion plan that he says will increase spending by $800 million without raising taxes. Like every budget, there’s something for everyone to love and everyone to hate.
If passed as is, there’ll be more money for kindergarten, school building aid, and infrastructure. The scheduled reduction of business taxes will continue. State agency requests will be slashed by $500 million and funding for the university system will be flat (for the record, BIA supports an increase in funding for both the University and Community College systems to help insure tuition remain flat).
In his address, Sununu proposed restructuring DRED’s Economic Development Division into the new entity - the Division of Business and Economic Affairs - with the goal of coordinating the state’s various business assistance, recruitment, and financing initiatives. He promised this division would also hire a Small Business Advocate to solicit input on new rules and regulations. (The Governor also proposes that the Department of Revenue Administration form a similar taxpayer services program.)
Of course this is only the first step of the process. The House and Senate will both produce their versions of the budget. Revenue projections will change, as will spending priorities. For our part, in addition to our support for University and Community College systems funding, we are encouraging the legislature to continue the work they began two years ago to reduce business tax rates; improve New Hampshire’s research and development tax credit by removing the cap that causes significant delays for companies to receive the credit; and, increase Medicaid payments to hospitals and other caregivers for expenses they incur providing care to Medicaid patients. Underfunding these programs by the state causes hospitals to shift costs to the business community in the form of higher health insurance premiums.