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.
But much more troubling than his motivation is that his vetoes make clear that he really doesn’t have a plan for dealing with the gross inequities in how we fund public education across the state or for how we start to address global warming.
Regardless of how we tax businesses, people won’t stay in New Hampshire to work in those businesses if the public schools in “property poor” communities like Franklin and Manchester and even Merrimack Valley and Concord are unable to educate students for the 21st century.
His vetoes seem to suggest that he thinks the way to drive New Hampshire forward is to look in the rearview mirror rather than the road ahead.