Entries by Editorial Staff

The Pension System is Broken and Can’t Be Fixed By Tinkering

Pension and retirement obligations are the biggest long term problem facing the state. New Hampshire’s four long-term pension and retiree health benefit obligations have current unfunded liabilities of more than $7 billion. Changing the state’s pension and health obligations is no longer optional.

Through the Retirement System, the state administers a pension plan for state and local employees and a retirement health benefit. Those two components have unfunded liabilities of $4.7 billion. In addition, outside of the system there is a much larger health benefit with an unfunded liability of $2.4 billion and a much smaller judicial retirement plan with rapidly eroding funding — $15 million in the hole after just five years.


Higher Vanity Plate Fees bring small drop in Sales

Fewer New Hampshire drivers are paying a premium to customize their license plates, following a 60% increase in the fee. The New Hampshire Legislature increased the annual surcharge for customized plates from $25 to $40 as part of the 2009-2010 budget. The higher rate went into effect on August 1, 2009. One year after the fee increase, there were nearly 10,000 fewer vehicles with premium New Hampshire license plates. This drop-off represents a small fraction of car owners, as the percentage of vehicles with vanity plates has fallen from 14.8% to 14.3% of all cars on the road.


Fiscal Management Starts at Home

The incoming Senate and House have their work cut out for them when it comes to the state budget. The economic downturn, coupled with decisions on the parts of both the Legislature and the Governor, have left a $700 to $800 million dollar hole in the budget. The Legislature, while looking for cuts in other departments, which resulted in hiring freezes and layoffs, increased its own budget faster than the budget overall. Given current revenue forecasts, overall spending will have to decrease. The Legislative Branch, having seen the largest increases, has much more room to cut than other departments. Though the Legislative Branch accounts for less than 1% of the budget, it is crucial for legislators to lead by example

Apples to Apples Budget Comparison

This is the latest version of our spreadsheet comparing state spending in 2008-09 to 2010-11. Because $248 million of general fund spending was moved offline, apples to apples comparisons are not obvious from official documents. Using official state data, we compare the same spending from 2008-09 with the same spending in 2010-11 despite label changes […]


The Fiscal Collapse of a Once Proud State

Not too long ago we believed in balanced budgets. But that’s all changed. Other states made the tough decisions. We did not. Today the State of New Hampshire is just another failed enterprise hoping the federal government will cut them a check before the debt capsizes that ship.


Wishful Thinking Outnumbers Cuts and Tax Increases in New Hampshire Budget Package

Borrowing, transfers, and wishful thinking draw the actual spending cuts and tax increases included in a $295 million budget deal unveiled Tuesday, June 8 at the State House.

House and Senate budget writers have crafted a package that includes nearly $72 million in spending cuts, which doesn’t include an $18.5 million increase in HHS spending. It also contains $4.99 million in tax increases, $51.21 in lapses and transfer among state agencies, $65 million in borrowing, and $112.87 million in speculative revenues that may never be realized.