To The Daily Sun,

Governor Sununu recently vetoed the legislature’s compromise budget and put in jeopardy much-needed funding, including almost $200 million earmarked for communities suffering under the weight of high, inequitable real estate taxes. Sununu claimed he was forced to veto almost 50 of the Democrats’ bills (a record for the state) because they are “extreme.”

I’ll bet the Town of Berlin, whose schools are literally dying (it was just forced to close its only elementary school) doesn’t find the bills “extreme.” Nor do the 120 towns trying to fund their schools and towns under a grossly unfair tax system, or the many seniors who may lose their homes if property taxes continue to climb.

This state spoke loudly and clearly in the 2018 election when it put the House and Senate under Democratic control. But Sununu and his Republican leaders are acting like it is still business as usual.

Sununu continues to ignore the school funding crisis. When asked about the education funding in the budget, he responded with heartless and clueless questions — “What are we getting for the dollars? Are we getting better teachers? Are we giving them raises? — and suggested that the funding would just be throwing more money at “the system.” How can he not know that his veto means that two-thirds of our communities will continue to lose school funding each year and that real estate taxes will increase to make up for that loss?

Sununu’s sticking point is a third year of tax cuts for businesses (a loss of over $90 million in revenue), which he declares are crucial for the state. He claims to be on the side of our “hard-working small business owners.” But, according to the NH Fiscal Policy Institute, 74% of NH businesses do not even pay the Business Profits Tax (which taxes gross income of $50,000 or more). A small number of large corporations with “national and international operations” pay most of it. And, since New Hampshire represents only a small portion of their operations, any benefits from the tax cut would not necessarily be reinvested in the state.

Contrary to Sununu’s assertions, the NH Business Review reports that the biggest burden for NH businesses is property taxes (surprise, surprise)! Property taxes represent over 64% of state and local tax receipts (the highest of any state in the country)! Ironically, the budget that Sununu vetoed contains (among other helpful provisions for businesses) a much-needed reform of our business tax system that will save many local businesses thousands of dollars by eliminating double taxation by states.

Sununu recently stated that he wants to be “very clear:” “I will not support a budget that increases taxes.” Yet, his veto (not the budget) does just that; it will increase taxes for both our residents and local businesses. He proclaims that, “The people of the state deserve better.” Yes, they do, Governor. Your veto has shown us that your interests lie primarily in protecting large, wealthy international corporations and residents of wealthy, property-rich towns whose schools and residents benefit from low real estate taxes.

Governor, your boy-like charm fooled a lot of people last election. But they won’t be fooled again. You will be replaced in 2020 because you do not deserve another term.

Jane Westlake


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