Business tax revenues continue to fall short in November, meals and rooms tax revenue up



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CONCORD, New Hampshire — November revenues came in above target to help keep the state ahead of its budget for the year, but business and interest and dividend tax revenues once again fell short, a trend that some state officials say could put New Hampshire under pressure when the fiscal year ends in June.

Total revenues were $3.6 million, or 4.4 percent, above the target for November, according to monthly figures from the Department of Administrative Services. Robust meals and rooms and real estate taxes, among other things, helped offset business revenues that came in significantly below target. Administrative services Commissioner Linda Hodgdon said the room and meal taxes are good news for the state's economy.

But the trend of business taxes coming in below target is, in part, what drove Gov. Maggie Hassan to cut state agencies budgets last month.

November is typically a month for smaller revenues. December will offer a strong revenue picture and April and May are key business tax months that will indicate whether the state will meet its overall budget targets.

The business profits and enterprise taxes came in 33 and 50 percent below target, respectively, in November. The interest and dividends tax fell even farther short of its target, at 400 percent below projection.

These numbers are only likely to intensify political wrangling over whether sagging revenues or excessive spending are too blame for a predicted budget deficit.

Hassan says Republican-led changes to the state's business taxes are likely to cause a shortfall. She recently ordered state agencies to cut a combined $18 million from their existing budgets and said more cuts will be needed from the agencies as well as the legislative and judicial branches.

Republicans, meanwhile, point to overall revenues being ahead of target and say any budget issues are due to overspending.

The Department of Health and Human Services is running over budget, which also played into Hassan's call for spending cuts.

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