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GOP, Democrats at odds over how to use surplus funds

CONCORD, N.H. — With an unexpected surplus in hand, New Hampshire’s Democratic political leaders want to use some of the money to restore budget cuts, but Republican leaders say saving the money might be a better idea.

‘‘Just because we have the money doesn’t mean we have to spend it,’’ House Republican leader Gene Chandler said Monday.

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Chandler, of Bartlett, said he is open to talking about using some of the money to restore spending cuts, but would like to proceed cautiously. Whatever changes lawmakers make this year could affect spending levels in the next budget, he said.

New Hampshire ended the fiscal year June 30 with about $19 million more than anticipated, and tax receipts this year are almost $27 million ahead of projections, Governor Maggie Hassan announced last week. She and House Speaker Terie Norelli, both Democrats, would like to use some of the money to restore budget cuts, particularly those affecting social service programs, and put some into the state’s depleted $9 million savings account.

‘‘A portion should go into the rainy day fund; we’ve had a lot of rainy days,’’ Norelli said Monday.

Norelli said she also wants to talk with Republicans about easing some of the cuts in the $10.7 billion budget passed in June that was a compromise of both parties’ wishes.

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