FILE - NH Chris Sununu 2-11-2021

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu delivers his budget address Feb. 11, 2021.

(The Center Square) – New Hampshire state revenues in February exceeded forecasts, and Gov. Chris Sununu has sent lawmakers a wish list of items he wants funded with the extra money.

Tax receipts for February totaled $120.3 million, which is about $18.8 million above the projections for the state's two year budget, and $24.8 million more than a year ago, according to the state Department of Administrative Services' monthly revenue report.

The state collected $29.4 million in business taxes in February, $10.6 million more than the budget plan, and $17.7 million more than a year ago, the report noted.

Sununu boasted of the state's robust revenue collections in a letter to legislative leaders, suggesting the Granite State's economic recovery is right on track.

"Based on these revised revenues, coupled with updated agency lapse estimates, we continue to reduce our projected draw on the Rainy Day Fund to close out the current biennium," Sununu wrote in the March 3 letter. "When the pandemic first arrived this time last year, none of us could've predicted an economic picture as bright as our economic reality today."

The governor said he has identified another $70 million in potential savings over the next two years. He asked legislative leaders to reintroduce key spending items to the two-year budget, including additional civilian hires at the state Department of Safety and financial support for state-operated family resource centers.

"As I said when I first presented the budget a few weeks ago, this budget has been built on conservative revenue estimates and likely understates the strength of the economic recovery into the next biennium," Sununu wrote to lawmakers. "The February data bears this point out."

New Hampshire's real estate market continued to sizzle in February as the real estate transfer tax produced $11.2 million, or $2.9 million more than budget projections. Year to date collections were nearly $18.3 million above initial estimates.

Tobacco taxes were up $1.5 million over initial projections in February, with about $14.9 million collected by the state.

Beer and liquor revenue, as well as communications taxes were all slightly above projections for the month.

Despite that, New Hampshire's revenue gains continue to be offset by declines in gasoline taxes, and meals and rental tax collections, with fewer people driving and some businesses closed due to the pandemic.

Collectively, meals and rental taxes were $3 million below projections in February, and year-to-date about $42.5 million below the previous year, according to the Department of Administrative Services' revenue report. Meals were down by 9.7% and hotels were down by 24% compared to February 2020.

Through February, the state's highway fund generated $161 million, which is down $8 million year-to-date. State officials attributed the decline to lower gas tax collections.