On Sept. 18, the legislature will vote on override attempts for the record 54 bills vetoed in this session by Governor Sununu.
Contrary to the governor’s inaccurate accusation that the bills were “extreme,” we strongly feel the legislature’s actions were necessary and responsible. From independent redistricting to a bill ensuring health care providers would be fairly reimbursed for treating Medicaid patients, these bills were the product of countless hours of work by both legislators as well as citizens who gave up time from their days to tell their personal stories and provide valuable input into the process.
But as important as these bills were, the governor’s most ill-considered action was his veto of the state budget. After three decades of unsuccessful attempts to address long-standing problems such as inadequate public-school funding, the House and the Senate crafted a balanced budget that finally provided much-needed money for property-poor communities desperate to keep their schools open without crippling local taxpayers. In a state with a Constitution that requires all children have the opportunity for an adequate education—regardless of their zip code—making progress on this issue was one of our most important legislative priorities.
Another was property tax relief. For too long, local property taxpayers have been forced to pick up the tab as the state continues to downshift items like public school funding, pension funding, and state aid for infrastructure to local communities. The budget vetoed by the governor would have actually returned money to communities on the Seacoast like Portsmouth in the form of a revived revenue sharing program. The budget also would have let Portsmouth decide how to best spend the money.