Our biennial NH state budget is required by law (but not by the NH Constitution) to be balanced. The legislature receives input from state agencies, businesses, citizens, legislators, and lobbyists during the first year of the biennium. It develops a proposed budget, which then goes through the legislative process, requiring the House, Senate and Governor to agree on a fiscal plan that reflects the legislative priorities of the state, and funds those priorities for the next 2 years.
There are 2 committees in the House and 2 committees in the Senate which deal with raising and spending our state tax revenues. The Ways and Means Committees deal with the many taxes and fees which raise revenue for state government, and the Finance Committees deal with how those revenues are spent. Both committees develop legislation which must be approved by majority vote of both the House and Senate, and then approved by signature or default by the Governor.
Our state budget is divided into six areas. The 2015-16 budget allocated revenues as follows:
|9%||General Government||$509.8 million|
|10.6%||Administration of Justice/Public Protection||$596.8 million|
|5.1%||Resource Protection/Development||$289.8 million|
|39.8%||Health & Social Services||$2.251 billion|
|Total Authorized Expenditures||$5.561 billion|
The budget process, while often convoluted and at times contentious, ultimately reflects the merged priorities of the House, the Senate and the Governor. And unlike the federal government, NH state law requires our state government to live within its means.