Selling what he known as “pathways of alternative,” New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu proposed a two-year $14.9 billion price range Tuesday that features hefty pay raises for state workers, more cash for faculties and a streamlined skilled licensing system designed to draw new staff.
The whole, which incorporates federal funds, could be a 12% improve over the present biennial price range. It assumes present revenues will maintain regular, consists of no new taxes or charges and would enhance the state’s “wet day” fund by $180 million.
“Authorities shouldn’t be right here to ensure an answer to your issues, however it’s right here to present a pathway to alternative,” he informed lawmakers. “Pathways for financial development, pathways for instructional alternative, pathways for decrease taxes and pathways for extra private freedoms.”
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Sununu, who was elected to a fourth two-year time period in November, is also contemplating a run for president in 2024 and has been bolstering his title recognition with journey and media appearances. He claims different governors often ask him for the key to New Hampshire’s success, which he mentioned comes all the way down to managing cash neatly with a price range that prioritizes folks over packages.
“We can’t let this price range function a car for partisan maneuvering,” Sununu mentioned. “It should be in regards to the particular person, our workers, our kids and our taxpayers.”
Over the last price range cycle, abortion opponents added to the price range a provision banning the process after 24 weeks of being pregnant. Sununu signed it, saying the choice would have been a veto that might have shut down state authorities in the course of the coronavirus pandemic.
His new proposal consists of a number of objects geared toward boosting the state’s workforce, together with the most important pay improve for state workers in almost 50 years. There are roughly 10,000 state staff, all of whom would get 10% will increase within the first 12 months of the biennium and a further 2% the second 12 months. That proposal, which was negotiated with labor unions, is supposed to handle a state workforce emptiness charge of 20%, however Sununu’s budget additionally consists of extra focused investments in particular industries.
He proposed growing the reimbursement charge for Medicaid well being care suppliers by 3%, offering scholar debt reduction for individuals who pursue careers in psychological well being remedy and streamlining the state’s skilled licensing system. Sununu needs to permit somebody licensed to do a selected job in one other state to carry out the identical work in New Hampshire with out getting re-licensed. He additionally needs to get rid of 34 outdated licenses and 14 underutilized regulatory boards.
“Let’s keep in mind who we’re, let’s keep in mind it’s about particular person freedom,” he mentioned. “Much less purple tape and extra frequent sense, that’s how we develop our financial system.”
With an eye fixed to the workforce of the long run, Sununu proposed spending $5 million to certify lots of of recent pc science lecturers and convey robotics instruction to each center and highschool classroom. The largest education-related proposal quantities to spending $200 million over the subsequent two years by altering the components used to ship cash to public faculties.
Each the bottom per pupil quantity and the quantity despatched to colleges with a excessive proportion of scholars receiving low-cost or free lunches could be elevated. A 3rd funding stream, referred to as stabilization grants, could be phased out over 5 years and would get replaced by new grants focusing on the neediest communities.
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Training freedom accounts, which permit low-income households to make use of state support to pay non-public college tuition, additionally would get a lift. Sununu needs to double funding for this system and broaden earnings eligibility for sure youngsters, together with these in foster care, those that have been bullied and people with disabilities.
Home Democratic Chief Matt Wilhelm, D-Manchester, pointed to that funding as proof that Sununu’s price range is “full of partisan coverage priorities.” However he additionally noticed alternatives for collaboration in areas akin to workforce improvement and inexpensive housing.
“Right this moment was an vital first step within the course of,” he mentioned in an announcement. “Home Democrats sit up for working with the Governor and our colleagues to craft a price range that offers all Granite Staters a chance to succeed.”
Senate President Jeb Bradley, R-Wolfeboro, mentioned the governor has labored arduous to make New Hampshire extra aggressive, decrease taxes and encourage financial development.
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“This price range isn’t any completely different,” he mentioned. “I believe it’s nice that we’re going to attempt to handle schooling funding, that shall be property tax reduction throughout the board. And I believe his effort to streamline the workplace of the skilled licensure goes to make an enormous distinction by way of attempting to draw professionals, particularly well being care professionals, to come back to New Hampshire.”