Gov. Chris Sununu likes to label Democrats in the Legislature “extreme.” His vetoes in recent weeks suggest he’s the one out of touch with New Hampshire residents. Here are 10 of Sununu’s 50-plus vetoes:
House Bills 1 and 2, the state budget, that offers nearly $200 million in additional education funding and property tax relief; HB 706, establishing a nonpartisan districting commission to eliminate partisan gerrymandering; SB 10, raising the minimum wage to $10 in 2020 and $12 in 2022 (current minimum wage is $7.25); HB 109, establishing comprehensive background checks for firearms purchases; SB 2, expanding job training programs; HB 564, banning firearms from schools except for police and other authorized people; SB 1, establishing paid family/medical leave in New Hampshire; HB 365, expanding solar energy net metering in New Hampshire; HB 364, allowing medical cannabis patients to grow cannabis at home; SB 5, raising Medicaid rates for mental health, substance abuse treatment services.
The governor’s policies are out of step with New Hampshire now and New Hampshire’s future. If there was any doubt before, there is no doubt now. We deserve better. We’ve got too many pressing issues to leave our state in the hands of a backwards thinker.
New Hampshire needs an educational system marked by excellence, not mere adequacy, in order to develop a 21st-century workforce. We should be calling on the ingenuity of our citizens to lead on sustainable energy. At a time when progress at the state level is necessary given the dysfunction in Washington, the governor has hitched his star to Donald Trump-style politics. He’s exercised his veto power in unprecedented fashion, 40 times and counting, while gleefully gloating about his obstruction of the will of the people at his fundraising events.
He’s already vetoed bills including the state budget, eliminating the death penalty, paid family medical leave, raising the minimum wage and bills to move New Hampshire forward on sustainable energy. The governor’s joking about standing in the way of progress as a badge of honor reveals the truth underneath his affable manner. He’s got to go.
His action was a direct assault on education funding, property tax relief, funding to solve the emergency room boarding crisis, and providing needed mental health services. His veto blocked funds to combat the opioid epidemic, support critical child protection services, and maintain threatened women’s health care services in the state.
And, for what? So he can point to tax breaks, mainly benefiting out-of-state corporations, that were passed in the last legislative session. It is time for Sununu to look out for children, families, and our communities, not just corporations.
Gov. Chris Sununu's veto of the New Hampshire budget has hurt many Granite Staters, but one population I'm particularly concerned for are those who access essential reproductive health care through the federal Title X program.
The Trump administration has implemented a gag rule that has dismantled the Title X program across the country, including here in New Hampshire. This program allows for thousands of low-income New Hampshire patients to access birth control, STD testing, cancer screenings, and other essential health care.
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. "
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.
Lori Breen worries about her son, who has Down syndrome. He's been accepted into an internship program, but the lack of state funding puts them in a bind.
"If the funding isn't there, I don't have enough money to pay for the whole tuition of this program. So then he won't be able to attend," said Breen.
The budget that the Legislature submitted to Sununu would have, among other things, improved staffing for child protective services, increased job training, addressed the crisis in emergency mental health services and helped relieve the crushing impact of education funding on local communities. Rather than working with the Legislature to create a budget that meets the needs of Granite Staters, the governor has sided with big business and demanded continued corporate tax cuts. The primary beneficiaries of Sununu’s tax breaks are out-of-state corporations.
New Hampshire Democrats say Republican Gov. Chris Sununu is blocking progress on multiple fronts when it comes to addressing the state's mental health care crisis.
The budget Sununu vetoed last month would have boosted Medicaid reimbursement rates for mental health care, addressed the growing problem of psychiatric patients waiting in emergency rooms and improved services for children with behavioral health challenges.
Gov. Sununu did not weigh the consequences of his veto for the people of New Hampshire. His veto hurts all the people – those struggling with health challenges, families in crisis, school districts with inadequate resources, state revenue sharing funds going to cities and towns (for the first time in a decade), people trying to keep up with property tax payments.
The governor’s veto hurts businesses. Businesses will not get the reforms they wanted and received in the vetoed budget. These reforms conformed state tax laws with the federal tax code and prevented double taxation on services performed in New Hampshire for out-of-state clients.
The governor is not working for the people but for himself, hoping to build a record to propel himself into federal office. No thanks, governor. Do your job for all New Hampshire people.