CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — Gov. John Lynch said Wednesday that New Hampshire is in pretty good financial shape after achieving a $13.8 million budget surplus in the fiscal year that ended June 30.
The surplus was cited in the unaudited Comprehensive Annual Financial Report released by Lynch's office. The final figure is expected in late December, he said.
Lynch said the surplus will be looked upon favorably by bond rating agencies, and he praised state agency heads for controlling costs at a time when they faced significant challenges in the budget adopted by lawmakers. Lynch let that budget become law without his signature, largely because he objected to large cuts to hospitals and the state university system.
"I still think those were inappropriate," he said, but the alternative — a veto — was worse. "I think it would've resulted in maybe no budget at all, throwing state government in chaos, as well as further cuts, possibly to the university system."
Republican lawmakers quickly took credit for the surplus. Sen. Jeb Bradley, R-Wolfeboro, said the surplus was a vindication of the difficult choices the Republican-led Legislature made during budget negotiations to reverse course after Democrats increased spending in previous years.
House Speaker William O'Brien said the fact that revenue projections came in so close to projections was a "stunning, remarkable achievement" that "shows what happens when your focus is on delivering accurate figures and not trying to inflate revenues to spend more money."