The idea behind the panel, according to Hassan, is to develop and update revenue estimates through both the creation of the state budget and once the budget is enacted.
“A balanced budget is the cornerstone of a strong economy, and a fiscally responsible balanced budget requires revenue estimates that are as reliable and accurate as possible,” Hassan said in a statement.
“By bringing together experts from the business community, academia, and the public sector, we can work to improve our revenue estimates and ensure more accurate information throughout the budget process. I thank the members of our Consensus Revenue Estimating Panel for agreeing to serve their fellow citizens by supporting our efforts to balance the budget while protecting our priorities.”
See the executive order creating the panel here.
Creation of the biennium budget for fiscal years 2014 and 2015 is well underway and there was some question whether Hassan would create the revenue estimating panel that was a part of her campaign pitch as a candidate for governor.
The revenue side of the ledger is an important part of any budget, particularly for the state budget over the next two years because of two factors: 1) an economy that continues to bump along in a slow recovery and 2) campaign promises by Hassan that she would restore funding that was cut to the state university system and to hospitals for their care of the poor.
The panel will be chaired by Gerard Murphy, Hassan’s budget director.
Other members are:
- Linda Hodgdon, commissioner of the Department of Administrative Services (or designee);
- Kevin Clougherty, commissioner of the Department of Revenue Administration (or designee);
- Richard Samuels, a director of the New Hampshire Business and Industry Association (and an attorney at McLane, Graf, Raulerson and Middleton);
- Dennis Delay, an economist with the New Hampshire Center for Public Policy Studies;
- Jeff McLynch of the New Hampshire Fiscal Policy Institute;
- Ross Gittell, (see photo above) an economist and chancellor of the Community College System of New Hampshire.
This is a balanced group of financial planners and thinkers with Gittell representing the hopes of the university for increased funding, but with the voices of Delay and Lynch who will take a hard, pragmatic look at current and future state revenues.
It was the New Hampshire Center for Public Policy Studies, after all, that last week in a presentation cautioned legislative budget writers to be careful about how much revenue might come from a resort-style casino, if indeed expanded gambling is approved by this state Legislature. The policy center the state will be luckey to get $50 million at a time when some think it might be double that.
According to Hassan, the panel’s responsibilities include:
- Reviewing revenue estimates to confirm accuracy and reliability;
- Monitoring variables materially impacting estimates such as employment, population trends, interest rates, income, business growth trends and other indices as are appropriate;
- Providing periodic revenue estimates to the Executive branch and to share such estimates with the Legislative branch.
Once the budget is adopted, said Hassan’s office, the panel will meet regularly to review revenue estimates and to help ensure that the state remains on track for a balanced budget.
Legislative leaders will also be invited to meetings of the panel to ensure an open and informative exchange of information between the Executive and Legislative branches regarding revenue projections.
The first meeting is tomorrow (Jan. 24) at 3:30 p.m. in the Executive Council Chamber at the State House.