After months of tense negotiations, New Hampshire’s government passed its biennial budget on Thursday afternoon. Both sides doubted whether a deal could be reached until the final moments before the crucial vote in the House. The budget already passed the Senate earlier in the session.
As opposed to normal political battles, this one occurred between Dictator Sununu (and the pro-Sununu Senate) and the House Freedom Caucus, which has caused quite an insurrection on their own. Augmented by the ReOpen/ReBuild New Hampshire movement and a few others, pressure on Dictator Sununu to support state of emergency (SOE) reform has been mounting since early 2020.
Groups including ReOpen, The Liberty Block, Health Freedom NH, and other individual activists have made it clear for months that they will not support a budget bill unless it includes meaningful SOE reform. Currently, the Governor can declare a ‘state of emergency’ at any moment and with zero oversight or accountability, and thereby appoint himself Dictator indefinitely. As Dictator, Sununu passed law after law unilaterally with nobody there to stop him. Among the many executive orders passed in the past year were closures of churches and businesses, mask mandates, empowering cops to enter property without warrants, and dozens more. The legislature could only end a state of emergency by a majority vote in each chamber.
The anti-dictator coalition wanted to provide some oversight for any governor-turned-dictator. Their ideal reform would include a provision allowing either legislative chamber to end the SOE with a simple majority vote. They also supported placing the burden of extending an SOE on the Dictator, as opposed to having the burden of ending an SOE on the legislature. Essentially, the pro-freedom activists believe that an SOE should end after a certain amount of time unless affirmatively extended by the legislature. Sununu and his allies who control the Senate and much of the House made it clear that they would not support any limitations on the power of the Governor.
Another sticking point for at least a few libertarian Republican Representatives was the FMLI provision in the budget. As you may know, the socialists in New Hampshire and all throughout the united states have been pushing for a ‘family & medical leave insurance’ program which would give taxpayer money to those who do not work and instead stay at home due to an illness or injury that they or a relative suffer from. As we mentioned in around a dozen articles over the past few years, New Hampshire’s FMLI program also included the funding mechanism in the same bill – and it was to be funded by a state income tax. While not necessarily as outrageous as the FMLI proposal from the past two sessions, the proposal would only apply to state employees and would not be funded by a new tax on income. However, some legislators feared that this program – like all government programs – would only ever grow. At least a few key Republicans made it clear that they would not support a budget unless FMLI was 100% removed from it.
Many anti-racist activists also wanted a provision in the budget to prohibit the teaching of ‘critical race theory’ (CRT). Over the past few months, many parents have discovered that government schools have been teaching children that whites are inherently evil and inferior to other races. In April, we reported on a massive anti-CRT protest in Concord which was inspired by a pro-CRT statement by Dictator Sununu.
At the eleventh hour, the two sides reached a deal, and the budget trailer bill passed by a 198-181 vote. On Friday, Sununu signed HB2, making the law official. The total government budget for the next two years will be 13.5 billion dollars, which is barely higher than the last budget.
The libertarian-conservative coalition conceded and supported the budget despite it having minimal SOE restrictions on the Dictator and a state-employee FMLI program.
The authoritarian Republicans, including Sununu, conceded and supported the pro-freedom policies in the budget, which include:
- Education Freedom Accounts – which will allow some families to have some of their tax dollars follow their child so that it could be used on their education even if they choose not to utilize government schools. Thanks to EFA’s finally passing into law, those who prefer to educate their children at home or in private schools can have a portion of the education-dedicated tax dollars returned to them so that the child can use that money for education. This was a long-fought battle and represents a historic victory for school choice.
- For the first time in New Hampshire history, a bill has passed into law which will legally protect the life of preborn babies. After years of pro-life bills failing to pass, babies will now be granted the same protection as all other humans as soon as they reach 24 weeks of gestation. By 24 weeks, babies are fully formed and look like normal babies, except that they are smaller. A baby born at 24 weeks has a greater than 50% chance of survival.
- The state’s 5% tax on interest & dividends is being phased out over the next four years. This will allow people who rely on investment income to retire or to boost their quality of life (or spend more time with family) to keep more of their own money.
- The budget decreases taxes on businesses, which will help the ‘Live Free or Die’ state remain the #1 best economy in the united states.
- Sununu promised to support true SOE reform in the next session, which begins this fall. Many of our readers may be skeptical of a politician’s promise, though. The bill does grant the legislature the power to nullify any executive order that they believe is inappropriate, it gives them control over federal funds exceeding $100,000, and it essentially says that any unconstitutional order is void.
- Moderately meaningful restrictions on anti-white indoctrination in government schools.
In all, it appears that most parties involved in the battle are largely satisfied with the budget. Children will have improved educational opportunities, viable preborn babies will be protected like all other humans, taxpayers will keep more of their money, white students may be bombarded with racist indoctrination a little less, and Dictator Sununu has a big victory heading into his likely US Senate primary in the spring. Still, many hardcore liberty activists believe that the budget could have been better. As more libertarians move to New Hampshire and more progressives leave, the state’s budgets and policies will only continue to move toward freedom.
In response to the pro-freedom budget passing into law, anti-freedom Democrats have been outraged. Progressive leaders in New Hampshire have condemned the Republican budget as anti-choice, anti-education, and fiscally irresponsible. Democratic Senator, Rebecca Perkins Kwoka, who is currently pregnant, harshly condemned the pro-life provision which prohibits non-emergent abortions after 24 weeks, at which point babies are viable and have a higher than 50% chance of survival:
“Do you honestly believe that I would not do what is best in each moment for the life I am growing, that I’m responsible for?”, said the Senator, ironically making the point that pre-born babies are a ‘life’, and not just a ‘parasite’.
Democratic Senator, Lou D’Allesandro, criticized the tax cuts as a “reverse Robin Hood” that would help the wealthy.