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5:20 pm
Thu May 22, 2014

Hassan Orders Freeze On Spending As Tax Revenues Dip

A legislative committee has approved New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan's proposal to freeze hiring, equipment purchases and out-of-state travel.

Governor Hassan testifying Thursday in Concord.
Credit Todd Bookman / NHPR

Hassan asked the Fiscal Committee Thursday to approve the freeze, as past governors have done when confronted with potential budget deficits. 

"Given the fact that revenues currently remain ahead of plan for the year, this is an unprecedented action that will help protect our budget," Hassan told lawmakers.

The first-term Democrat says that a $25 million budget surplus in March had nearly evaporated by the end of April to just under $4 million. April revenue collections were $22 million below projections due mostly to lower-than-expected revenues from taxes on business, interest and dividends.

Hassan suggested that the Legislature and Judicial Branch consider similar freezes. 

Agencies can seek a waiver to approve spending frozen by Hassan's executive order.

Former Governor John Lynch initiated a spending freeze in 2008 when revenue fell some $75 million below estimates.