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How Government Finances Work

Knowing how New Hampshire state government works can go a long way in understanding the allocation and spending process. This section will take a little of the mystery out of the process.

The New Hampshire State Budget Process

The budget process is the arena in which public priorities are articulated and debated and ultimately where important choices are made by your elected officials. The budget process is a balancing act in which the "separate but equal" branches of government struggle with one another based upon the checks and balances established by the State Constitution.

The budget is often mistaken for an expenditure plan. It is, however, a plan to meet the public's needs and priorities. There are two separate types of budgets: the Operating Budget and the Capital Budget. The Operating Budget consists of current expenditures required to satisfy a particular mission and/or mandated purpose during the current fiscal year. The Capital Budget provides for the state's major long-term capital investments; such as, office buildings and prisons.

The state of New Hampshire's budget is organized and controlled by RSA:9. The state approves a budget every two years, the "Biennial Budget." It consists of two annual or fiscal year budgets. The state fiscal year runs from July 1 to the following June 30 and is numbered for the calendar year in which it ends.

New Hampshire's Three Operating Budget Development Phases

  • Agency Phase
    The Operating Budget process begins in June of the even numbered year with the preliminary planning process by the state agencies. From the beginning of August through September 30, the Agency Phase of the budget process is implemented. On October 1, the Agency Phase ends with the agency requests being submitted to the Department of Administrative Services' Budget Office.

    To view the latest completed Agency Phase requests for state agencies, use the following link for fiscal years 2018-2019: DAS Budget Office
  • Governor's Phase
    The second phase of the budget process is the Governor's Phase. This phase begins on October 1 of the even numbered year and ends on February 15 of the following year. During this phase, the Governor reviews the agencies requests and compiles his/her recommendations which will be known as the Governor's Recommended Budget. He/she will present this budget to the legislature on or before February 15 of the odd numbered year.

    To view the latest completed Governor's Recommended Budget for the fiscal years 2018-2019 biennium, use the following link: DAS Governor Budget
  • Legislative Phase
    The Legislative Phase of the budget process begins on February 15 and ends on June 30 of the odd numbered year. During this phase, both bodies of the legislature will review the agencies requests and the Governor's recommended budgets. They will compile a budget and present it to the Governor for his signature.

    To view the latest enacted budget for the State of New Hampshire for the fiscal years 2018-2019 biennium, use the following link: Legislative Budget Assistant

Categories of Government

The State of New Hampshire is organized by function of government. The function of government is a grouping of agencies which make expenditures for similar programs and purposes. There are six functions of government: General Government, Administration of Justice and Public Protection, Resource Protection and Development, Transportation, Health and Social Services, and Education. Here's a breakdown:

  • General Government
    Administrative Services Department, Boxing and Wrestling Commission, Develpmental Disabilities Council, Executive Council, Executive Department, Information Technology Department, Legislative Branch, Professional Licensure and Certification Office, Retirement System, Revenue Administration Department, State Department, Tax and Land Appeals Board, Treasury Department
  • Administration of Justice and Public Protection
    Adjutant General’s Department, Agriculture, Markets and Food Department, Banking Department, Corrections Department, Employment Security Department, Human Rights Commission, Insurance Department, Judicial Branch, Judicial Council, Justice Department, Labor Department, Liquor Commission, Public Employee Labor Relations Board, Public Utilities Commission, Safety Department
  • Education
    Community College System of NH, Education Department, Lottery Commission, Police Standards and Training Council, University System of NH
  • Health and Social Services
    Health and Human Services Department, Veterans Home, Veterans Services Office
  • Resource Protection and Development
    Business and Economic Affairs Department, Community Development Finance Authority, Environmental Services Department, Fish and Game Department, Natural and Cultural Resources Department, Pease Development Authority
  • Transportation
    Transportation Department

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