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Thursday, October 29, 2009

How does New Hampshire spend our money?

New Hampshire's monthly revenue reports are among the most anticipated public documents for State House insiders and those of us who cover them. The Department of Revenue Administration posts how much money the state took in from its various taxes, and how this total compared to its revenue plan. But the Granite State lacks a similar mechanism to track state spending. Lawmakers, including the Governor, are frustrated at not knowing how state agencies are spending money, and whether or not they are on target to meet their budget.

The Eagle-Tribune's Terry Date reports on efforts from long-time revenue hawk Norm Major to track state spending every month.
Major's bill would require state administrators to report monthly on what money was spent. The state now does that for revenues, but not expenditures.

"How can you consider a budget if you do not know what has been expended?" Major said. "We've been working with budgets, and we have not had that information available."

Legislative budget assistant Jeff Pattison said Major's point is well taken.

"That has been a long-existing weakness in the financial system in New Hampshire," Pattison said, "and a lot of people have wanted to be able to monitor expenditures on a tighter basis."

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