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Sununu: State ‘didn’t build that’

By Grace Pecci - Staff Writer | Jun 27, 2019

HUDSON – Citing what would be a hike in New Hampshire’s business profits tax rate, Gov. Chris Sununu on Wednesday said he is likely to veto the Democrats’ $13 billion budget plan for the fiscal 2020-21 biennium.

“I have a $260 million surplus. How could I possibly tell people in the state, ‘I need to raise your taxes?'” Sununu said.

Wednesday, Sununu visited Hudson’s Northpoint Construction Management. He toured the company’s office Wednesday afternoon, met with employees and sat down to talk business with the company’s President Gary Thomas.

Sununu said he is trying to emphasize that there is a message being sent to businesses by raising the business tax rate, which he said could go from 7.7% to 7.9% via the Democrats’ budget.

“Whether you raise it 0.2% or a dollar, either way, it is raising taxes and it destroys our ability to have a New Hampshire-driven message,” the governor added.

Sununu claims the budget he wants can be accomplished with some relatively minor changes.

“Just keep the business taxes where they are and the structural deficit,” Sununu said.

Sununu said this is about math, not politics.

“Does the budget balance? Technically it does, but in two years from now, if the economy is absolutely out of control booming, which it very might well not be, we’re going to have a hole,” Sununu said.

This could lead to job layoffs and program cuts, he said.

“It’s not political; that’s just smart budgeting. It’s just math,” Sununu said.

Sununu also accused many of the visiting 2020 Democratic presidential candidates of pushing once moderate New Hampshire Democrats to become left-wing extremists.

“I think they’re just spending more time trying to impress presidential candidates than get a good budget done,” Sununu said.

He hopes to continue to educate the public on this topic by speaking with local business owners, Rotary Club members, Chamber of Commerce representatives and others who can help spread the word and help in understanding the elements of the budget.

During his visit, Sununu was able to learn about NorthPoint’s success and struggles through the years. According to Thomas, his business relies heavily on the economy.

From about 2002-09, about 70% of his company’s work took in Massachusetts. Since then, it has been the opposite. Over 70% of their clients are in New Hampshire.

“As the economy is healthy for everybody, it helps construction stay solid as well,” he said.

However, during the crash of 2008-09, Thomas said it hit his company hard. Now, they are on the upward swing, and he said he would prefer the business to continue rising slowly and steadily.

Sununu said of Northpoint: “It’s a great success story. Not every business you walk into here in New Hampshire is going to be a success like you see here at Northpoint, but most of them are frankly, and that’s a great thing.”

“Don’t take this kind of success for granted,” Sununu added. “…This was not built by the government – this was built by individuals, this was built by innovators, this was built with the great skilled labor coming from across the state.”

He believes that a government should keep the system stable and provide services where they are needed, which will allow for economic growth, prosperity and opportunities.

“When times are good, let’s get out of your way and let you do you, and hope you make the investment in employees and growth,” Sununu said. “Our job is to set up opportunities and get out of the way.”

Grace Pecci may be reached at 594-1243, or at gpecci@nashuatelegraph.com.

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