Governor Chris Sununu has laid out what he calls his roadmap for common ground on the state budget. And the Republican indicated that he could veto a Democrat-crafted plan if it includes tax increases.
The deadline for a new two-year state budget is just more than two weeks away. But the main points of contention have been clear for some time.
Democrats in the House and Senate want a paid family leave program funded by a mandatory payroll deduction, which the Governor calls an income tax. Democrats also want to freeze business taxes at current rates, reversing yet-to-take effect tax cuts favored by Republicans.
As he stood before navy blue posters detailing what he wants in the state budget, Sununu said he seeks compromise, to a point.
"With an income tax it will be vetoed," Sununu said. "That's an income tax in New Hampshire. I mean let's remember what New Hampshire is all about. Let’s remember what 'live free or die' is all about. Let's remember, ‘Why do we have opportunity today that other states don't?’"
The Senate's top budget writer, Lou D'Allesandro, says he's looking to work with Sununu, but he doesn't believe the state can meet its responsibilities without reversing the tax cuts.
"You cannot construct a budget without the freezing," D'Allesandro said. "$90 million you lose in anticipated revenue. You can’t let that happen.”
The state has until the end of the month to finalize the budget. House and Senate need to concur first, before the package moves to the governor.