New Hampshire Governor Say's COVID-19's Effect On Budget Is 'Devastating' | New Hampshire Public Radio

New Hampshire Governor Say's COVID-19's Effect On Budget Is 'Devastating'

Aug 3, 2020
Originally published on August 3, 2020 7:00 am

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This story is part of an NPR nationwide analysis of states' revenue and budgets during the pandemic.

While New Hampshire has so far weathered the public health effects of the coronavirus better than many states, GOP Gov. Chris Sununu says the pandemic is "devastating" the state's two-year budget.

New Hampshire funds the state government without general sales or income taxes. That means business taxes and cash from tourists — be it via taxes on restaurant meals and hotel rooms, or state liquor store profits — are key elements of the New Hampshire's revenue mix.

While liquor sales have remained strong throughout the pandemic, economic restrictions have crimped other collections.

Officials expect state revenue losses tied to the pandemic to top $500 million by next July.

Should that forecast hold, the losses would amount to 20% of the nonfederal money New Hampshire is banking on to fund its budget.

Sununu, who will be on the ballot for a third term in November, has told the Democratic-controlled Legislature that he'll reject any proposal that would raise taxes during the pandemic.

He's also told state agencies he expects New Hampshire to "manage" its way through any budget crisis.

Sununu imposed a state hiring freeze in March and has warned of possible state layoffs if more budget aid doesn't come from Washington, D.C., later this summer.

Josh Rogers is the senior political reporter at New Hampshire Public Radio.

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