Nov 18, 2016 8:09 PM
NH1 News Political Director
CONCORD – Governor-elect Chris Sununu says programs implemented by fellow Republican governors could be adapted to New Hampshire.
Speaking one-on-one with NH1 News on Friday, the Granite State’s first Republican elected governor in 14 years explained how he traded notes earlier with week with fellow GOP state chief executives at the Republican Governors Association annual conference.
“There are a lot of states that have similar issues that we're dealing with. I talked to Gov. Kasich for example about the substance abuse crisis. Some of the innovative programming that he's done in Ohio with some success there, fighting so many of the same challenges we are,” Sununu shared.
“I talked with Gov. Nikki Haley down there in the Carolinas about business innovation, how to drive more business in. They’ve been very successful down there,” he added.
Sununu explained that “the Republican Governors Association has been a great resource. Given that we have 34 Republican governors in that group, it’s the vast majority of governors in this country. I’ve always said and I believe it’s why we have the fiscal sanity in this country. We’re holding our own at the state level very, very, well with a lot of those Republican governors who are fiscally conservative, business centric.”
Making New Hampshire more business friendly is a leading priority for Sununu. During his campaign for governor he advocated for further reductions in the state’s business tax rates.
The 2015 compromise on tax cuts between the GOP controlled state Senate and House and Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan lowered the business profits tax rate this year from 8.5% to 8.2% and the business enterprise tax rate dropped to .72%. The rates will drop again, but there is a “trigger” that ensures that state revenues are high enough before the next round of tax cuts go into effect.
Sununu wants even further reductions. Asked by NH1 News if he would include a “trigger” in his proposals, Sununu said “I’d love to keep lowering business taxes. I’ve always said that’s a priority. We want to make sure that’s still on the table. Always having safeguards and checks and balances within those systems is a good thing.”
State House speaker battle
Sununu also weighed in on the race for state House speaker. The current speaker, Shawn Jasper, is being challenged by three fellow Republicans: State Reps. Laurie Sanborn of Bedford and Carol McGuire of Epsom, and former state lawmaker and Rep.-elect Frank Sapareto of Derry.
Asked if he’s taking sides, Sununu quickly answered “absolutely not.”
“Most of my conversations have been with the NHGOP, which will preside over that caucus. It’s all about ensuring impartiality, ensuring that no one side or another has an unfair advantage” he explained. “I have confidence that the NHGOP will do that, where they’ll provide an impartial caucus.”
Sununu’s the father of three young children. Asked if it’s really sunk in yet with his kids that their daddy’s going to be the governor, Sununu shared that “I think they do. look. I think they get that the campaign is over. i think they're all excited that I was able to come out with a win, given all the hardship that it puts on a family. It’s tough. It’s an emotional strain from the wife to the kids. Everything. It does affect your day to day life. I’m looking for a little more sense of normalcy. Obviously the schedule will still be very busy, but having a team in place that manages that, and making sure that priority is still on family time, it has to be. They’re the ones who keep me grounded.”
The governor-elected elaborated that “at the end of the day it all comes back to how’s it helping families, how’s it helping individuals, how’s it helping the people in our state. That’s what this is about. It’s a lot more than just numbers on a piece of paper in Concord. It’s all about the services that we’re providing to the people.”
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