Sununu’s Budget: No New Taxes, State Worker Raise, School Funding
🔴 State workers will receive a 10% raise, their largest increase in pay in 50 years
🔴 Sununu proposed simplifying the state education funding formula that will send an additional $200 million over next two years to districts
🔴 A commission will be appointed to design a state of Christa McAuliffe
Gov. Chris Sununu delivered a budget address proposing an across the board raise for New Hampshire state workers, elimination of the Communications Services Tax and no new taxes or fees for the upcoming fiscal year.
Speaking to a joint session of the House and Senate, the governor outlined a plan that increases spending by $3.7 billion with a $330 million operating surplus for the next two years.
State workers will receive a 10% raise, their largest increase in pay in 50 years, with another 2% raise in 2024.
"The success of New Hampshire is not because of the politicians in Concord, it’s because of the commitment to customer service from our employees that allows New Hampshire to be recognized as having America’s best return on taxpayer investment, and the most efficient government in the nation," Sununu said. "And to our 10,000 employees, we all say thank you."
The speech echoed some of the themes that he has hit during interviews about his possible presidential run about economic success, done like they are in New Hampshire.
"Washington is broken. They can barely manage to keep the government running — but that’s not how we do it in New Hampshire," Sununu said. "Our citizens demand excellence, accountability, and transparency — and THAT’s what we are going to deliver for them with this budget."
Sununu proposed simplifying the state education funding formula that will send an additional $200 million over next two years to districts and $1 billon during the next 10 years. The money will go to schools and help cities and towns lower their property taxes, according to the governor.
$75 million in surplus funds from the education trust fund will go towards school building improvements, and bring robotics to every middle and high school .
The Communications Services Tax would be eliminated under Sununu's budget, a 7% tax he called outdated and regressive.
"It is just high time the government stops taxing your phone calls," Sununu said.
In a non-budget item, Sununu said he is establishing a commission to design a state of Christa McAuliffe, the Concord teacher who was on board the space shuttle Challenger when it exploded on its 1986 takeoff.
"It will be placed right here on State House grounds to commemorate her selfless contribution to the State of New Hampshire and the world. It's long overdue and will undoubtedly inspire our next generation of students every time they visit to achieve the unimaginable," Sununu said.
The governor also proposes legislation that will allow those working in professions that require licenses universal recognition for those licensed in another state.
"If you have a substantially similar license and are in good standing in another state, there’s no reason you shouldn’t have a license on Day One in New Hampshire," Sununu said.
Sununu proposed eliminating 34 different outdated licenses from state government, eliminating 14 "underutilized regulatory boards, and almost 700 unnecessary statutory provisions."
The House will present the Senate its budget, and along with the governor, will have to reconcile into one budget proposal to take effect July 1.
Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNH