CONCORD — Gov. Chris Sununu told Fox News on Wednesday that he couldn’t wait to veto the paid family medical leave bill that Democrats planned to put on his desk, and late Thursday afternoon he made good on the promise.
The Republican issued a 5 p.m. statement indicating that he’d signed his veto message, without fanfare.
Has alternate approach
“Senate Bill 1 is an income tax that neither I nor the people of New Hampshire will ever support,” Sununu said. “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.”
SB 1 cleared the Senate along party lines, 14-10, in February and was the first Senate bill to be acted on by the House, in a 219-142 vote in March, also along party lines.
The bill sets up an insurance program that would provide 60 percent of wages for up to 12 weeks of qualified leave annually, funded by 0.5 percent universal withholding from paychecks. Individuals could not opt out of the program, but their employers could if they offered a similar benefit independently.
Republicans describe the bill as an income tax because of the mandatory deduction from paychecks.
Sununu has proposed a very different paid family medical leave plan of his own in cooperation with Vermont. Under Sununu’s plan, the two states would offer paid family leave as a benefit to their combined 18,000 employees, and allow non-government workers to join the program at their own expense.
Unfortunately, New Hampshire’s going Democrat, so victories like this aren’t likely to last