CONCORD – Republican Gov. Chris Sununu’s veto Thursday of SB-1, which he says would have established an income tax on New Hampshire families, drew quick criticism from Democrats who sent reporters a video of him calling paid family and medical leave “vacation.”
“Senate Bill 1 is an income tax that neither I nor the people of New Hampshire will ever support,” Sununu said in a news release. “I have proposed a paid family medical leave plan that will work – one that is voluntary, affordable and income tax free. That is the New Hampshire way.”
The Democratic Governors Association sent out a press release stating:
“Spineless Sununu Vetoes Paid Family Leave Bill, Betraying Granite State Families,” including the following video.
“Today, Gov. Chris Sununu broke a signature campaign promise and betrayed Granite State families by vetoing SB1, which would guarantee New Hampshire families access to paid family and medical leave. Instead of admitting he opposes this overwhelmingly popular policy, Spineless Sununu misled Granite Staters during election season by pretending he supported paid family leave, the Association wrote.
Sununu’s release included quotes from his backers.
Senate Republican Leader Chuck Morse, R-Salem, said: “I applaud Governor Sununu for standing up for New Hampshire taxpayers and vetoing legislation that would have created an income tax.
“An income tax in New Hampshire will be the end of the New Hampshire advantage and the beginning of reckless taxation policies. It is unacceptable for the government to get in between a business and their employee by mandating which benefits they offer, and I am proud to support Governor Sununu for vetoing this bill,” Morse said.
House Republican Leader Dick Hinch, R-Merrimack: “It will cost more than $15m to develop and require over 40 new government employees to administer. 99% of House Republicans voted against this legislation in March, and I will be working hard to guarantee 100% of House Republicans vote to sustain the governor’s veto of this flawed plan. We will have the Governor’s back.”
Sen. Jeb Bradley, (R-Wolfeboro), backs Sununu’s paid family and medical leave plan that is voluntary. “The fact that an unelected state employee is given the unprecedented power to increase taxes on income makes the bill even worse. I hope that my democratic colleagues will now finally come to the table to negotiate a truly bipartisan voluntary paid family and medical leave plan without an income tax.”
Senate President Donna Soucy (D-Manchester) released the following statement: “I am deeply disappointed with the governor’s decision to veto paid family and medical leave, a program the vast majority of Granite Staters support because it’s good for families and it’s good for businesses.”
BIA President Jim Roche said: “We thank Governor Sununu for his veto of Senate Bill 1. Among its many issues, the legislation would have levied a new payroll tax on employers in the state. Companies (or potentially individual employees) would have been forced to pay for this benefit, even if they never asked for it or used it. It would be especially burdensome for small businesses. New Hampshire employers know what benefit packages are best for their employees. It’s not the role of government to mandate employers adopt an expensive one-size-fits-all program.”
NHDP Chair Ray Buckley released the following statement in response:
“Sununu is ignoring thousands of New Hampshire families who have stood up and spoken out because they need a paid family and medical leave program that allows them to take time off to care for their loves ones without risking their jobs. This is politics at its worst, with Sununu lying to justify a policy he doesn’t like after promising to create paid family and medical leave on the campaign trail. New Hampshire needs real paid leave – not Sununu’s phony plan – and Granite Staters will respond to this shameful veto by voting him out in 2020,” Buckley said.
In January, Gov. Sununu and Vermont Gov. Phil Scott detailed their Twin State Voluntary Leave Plan, a bi-state voluntary paid family and medical leave program.
The Governors’ plan creates an insurance product that is not currently offered in either state. It will be available to all businesses, as well as individuals, and will be anchored by the state employee workforce of both states – a combined 18,500 employees, according to a news release.
Under the Governors’ proposal, the new insurance coverage would provide enrolled public and private sector employees 60 percent wage replacement for six weeks at competitive rates for qualifying events.