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With Coronavirus Likely To Hurt The Economy, Sununu Asks State Agencies To Plan For Cutbacks

NHPR Staff

Governor Chris Sununu says he’s directed state agencies to draw up plans on how to reduce spending as COVID-19 affects the economy.

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“While it is our intention to continue funding core critical programs and services, we must be prepared to make adjustments as the full extent of the economic disruption of COVID-19 are understood,” Sununu wrote in a letter to the legislature’s Joint Fiscal Committee.

All agency heads, Sununu wrote, are planning to potentially reduce expenditures. He said he’s asking some to take immediate action to cut expenses, and in some cases will be “providing guidance” to identify savings.

This could include delaying implementation of programs, limiting outside contracted services, and finding savings from programs the governor says “cannot be implemented as enacted.”

“It would be financial malpractice to wait until revenues decline so substantially that even greater cuts would be necessary,” Sununu wrote.

Sununu reiterated that the state Department of Health and Human Services will still find $25 million in savings called for in the state budget.

“We have tasked the Department to manage, and they have committed to lapsing an additional $25 million above their lapse target,” Sununu wrote. But Sununu also pushed back against efforts by lawmakers to get more detail on how HHS plans to find those savings.

“The state is taking all steps necessary to address this pandemic, but we obviously don’t know what actions, and what funding, will be needed as we move forward. As this virus has shown, no one can predict what priorities may change the next 18 months. As with all our departments, time and flexibility will be needed.”

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