“The Governor apparently wants to perpetuate a system where politicians pick their voters and citizens do not get to choose their representatives,” Holder said. “He has disrespected Granite Staters who deserve a government that truly works for them and not just for those who have special connections.”
After the veto, Smith said, “I am devastated that today the Governor chose to veto bipartisan legislation to create an independent redistricting commission in New Hampshire. There is no better example of improving our democracy than was demonstrated in this bill.”
She noted the bill’s unanimous bipartisan support on the two election committees and in the Senate where she worked with two Republican senators to craft a compromise.
“Today the Governor chose to ignore the bipartisan action of the legislature and deny voters the right to choose who they would like to vote for,” Smith said, “and he should be ashamed of himself for doing so.”
WMUR - Sununu vetoes 3 gun bills, citing NH's 'culture of responsible gun ownership, individual freedom'
"Unfortunately, Gov. Sununu is once again standing with the NRA to the detriment of public safety," Hennessey said. "Just days before a visit from President Trump, whose racist rhetoric is spurring violent action, Gov. Sununu refused to take action to prevent gun violence but chose instead to scapegoat people who experience mental illness and downplay the common denominator in these mass shootings, easy access to firearms, to appease corporate lobbyists and campaign donors. New Hampshire deserves better.”
Union Leader - Governor rejects nonpartisan redistricting panel; critics say he's 'absolutely wrong'
“This is just wrong, absolutely wrong, and I can’t imagine why the governor would turn his back on the voters this way,” Smith said during a telephone interview. “This is a loss, a real loss for the people of this state.”
The plan would allow lawmakers to vote on redistricting maps but would keep them out of the process of drawing them.
“Only the House minority leader and Governor Sununu worked to keep their party’s best interest above the best interest of Granite Staters. Today the governor chose to ignore the bipartisan action of the Legislature and deny voters the right to choose whom they would like to vote for, and he should be ashamed of himself for doing so,” Smith said.
Senate Election Laws Committee Chairman Melanie Levesque, D-Brookline, said it was one of the most significant bills in the state’s history.
“It is deeply discouraging that with one fell swoop Governor Sununu blocked vital work to take partisanship out of the political process of choosing legislative districts,” Levesque said. “In my district and at the State House, I hear calls for fairer elections every day. Not one person testified against HB 706 at the Senate hearing. It is clear New Hampshire voters are fed up with the status quo in which politicians pick their voters.”
Corinne Cascadden, superintendent of SAU 3, Berlin School Board Chairwoman Nicole Plourde and Berlin Mayor Paul Grenier testified before the House Education Committee, the House Finance Committee, the Senate Education Committee and the Senate Finance Committee on the state budget over the course of several weeks. They informed members of these committees about the serious financial struggles the schools and taxpayers of Berlin are having, and that the state needs to provide more support.
Now all they worked so hard to achieve has been thrown into jeopardy because the governor saw fit to veto the budget. Whom had the governor seen and heard? Clearly not the good emissaries from Berlin and countless other communities across the state.
Just before the meeting, nearly 30 local officials, many of the Democrats, including Jim Donchess, the mayor of Nashua, signed a letter to Sununu urging him to reconsider his veto.
"When you vetoed everything from funding for substance use disorder treatment to investments in local education to municipal aid you left the people of New Hampshire wondering what will happen to services and programs they depend on, and left communities across the state unable to plan for their future," the letter stated. "
Meanwhile, according to Barbara Reid, government financial advisor at the New Hampshire Municipal Association, most municipalities have already adopted budgets for this year, assuming certain levels of state aid.
“There is $40 million in the budget for municipal aid, unrestricted -- to be used for any purpose municipalities want – they can use it for property-tax relief, they can use it for roads, bridges, whatever," Reid said on The Exchange. "But without having the budget passed, that’s in limbo right now ”
“When it comes to the Governor's veto and his objection to suspending tax cuts, David Juvet, Senior Vice President of Public Policy for the N.H. Business and Industry Association said: "We didn't request that the Governor veto the budget over this. This is a decision he came to on his own."
Berlin Mayor Paul Grenier felt quite differently as he was counting on that state budget deal to deliver an extra $4.2 million in state aid for his city.
Under current law, Grenier’s looking at losing $230,000 in state aid, which he said will force layoffs.
“I don’t think the governor could look me in the eye and tell me how good this veto is for Berlin,” Grenier said.
Nashua Mayor James Donchess said the budget that was vetoed would have meant $5 million more for his city. Donchess was the top signatory on a critical letter to Sununu from a few dozen officials, including the mayors of Dover, Somersworth, Rochester and Berlin.
“When you vetoed everything from funding for substance use disorder treatment to investments in local education to municipal aid, you left the people of New Hampshire wondering what will happen to services and programs they depend on, and left communities across the state unable to plan for their future,” Donchess wrote.
But for some municipalities, the lack of a budget will mean layoffs in a month or so, said Mayor Paul Grenier of Berlin.
With the budget passed in the House and Senate, Berlin was looking at getting an extra $4.2 million over and above what the governor had planned. Now, Grenier said, they will be losing $230,000 in current state aid for this year and will be forced to layoff people.
“We’re likely talking 10 to 15 positions,” by the end of August, he said. “I am angry and disappointed.” Going into the meeting, Grenier, a Democrat who formerly supported Sununu, said he expected to hear a “snow job.”
In a July 18 response letter, 28 local officials slammed the governor’s veto and argued that the final Democratic budget served local towns better. That budget contained around $200 million in municipal aid and increased school funding, largely by setting the business profits tax rate at 7.9%.
“When you vetoed everything from funding for substance use disorder treatment to investments in local education to municipal aid, you left the people of New Hampshire wondering what will happen to services and programs they depend on, and left communities across the state unable to plan for their future,” the officials wrote.
On Friday, a handful of those signatories spoke out, accusing Sununu of prioritizing low tax rates for businesses over low tax rates for residents.
The mayors of Dover, Rochester and Somersworth joined 25 other municipal leaders in a letter to Gov. Sununu regarding his budget veto.
As leaders of cities and towns across the state, we wanted to write to you to express our concerns about your budget veto, and to urge you to accept the State House’s compromise budget to continue to move our state and our communities forward.