Fiscal gives swift approval to $25 million in cuts

By Grant Bosse on April 12, 2010
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(CONCORD) The Legislative Fiscal Committee this morning gave its swift and unanimous approval to $25 million in budget cuts proposed by Governor John Lynch. The Fiscal Year 2010 cuts are part of Lynch’s $220 million plan to fill the state’s looming budget deficit.

Legislative Fiscal Committee

Lynch personally presented his Executive Order 2010-02 for approval by the Fiscal Committee, which is composed of ten top House and Senate budget writers. The Executive Order cuts $25.2 million in state programs in the current Fiscal Year, which runs through June 30th. However, Lynch says that $10.7 million will be offset by increased federal aid.

Along with his Executive Order, Lynch submitted a department by department summary of his proposed cuts, along with a detailed chart of the cuts to Health and Human Services. HHS, the largest department in state government, would absorb $3.1 million in actual reductions as well as the $10 million shift to federal money.

Lynch Executive Order 2010-02

The Department of Administrative Services would see the largest overall decrease, a $3.8 million cut stemming from expected surpluses in retiree health care and utilities. Lynch would also extend a hiring freeze first put in place in February 2008 to agencies originally exempted from it, such as Revenue Administration. In February, a Josiah Bartlett Center report on Lynch’s spending freeze recommended just such an expansion.

Other cuts include leaving positions vacant within the Department of Corrections, delaying local aid payments through Environmental Services, and a half-million dollars in savings from the Racing and Charitable Commission now that the state won’t have to bear the costs of regulating live racing at two of the state’s three dog tracks.

The Fiscal Committee may make changes to the current year’s budget and accept federal funds not included in the budget, but lacks authority to raise taxes or change state policy. The House and Senate Finance Committees will hold a joint hearing on the majority of Lynch’s budget plan on Thursday. Lynch has submitted his budget fix as an amendment to SB 450, a bill making budget changes to the Department of Health and Human Services.

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