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Sununu’s Responsibility Problem

by Representative Peter Bixby

Governor Sununu has a responsibility problem. He takes responsibility for others’ achievements, but accepts no responsibility for his own errors.

In June of 2019, Gov. Sununu vetoed the Democratic budget because it gave too much money to towns for education. In September, after a summer of negotiations, he capitulated in exchange for triggered business tax adjustments. Two weeks later he was on the road with photo-op checks showing off the education money he was giving to towns- the same money he vetoed three months earlier.

In that same term, Democrats passed about a dozen bills to strengthen and diversify New Hampshire’s energy economy through in-state production of renewable energy and energy efficiency. Governor Sununu vetoed them all because he wanted to put all of New Hampshire’s eggs in the natural gas basket.

Now, when international events have caused a spike in natural gas prices, we have scrambled eggs in the form of the second highest electricity rates in the country. Our neighboring states, who did diversify, have much lower electricity rates. But Gov. Sununu takes no responsibility for his failure. Someone with this sort of responsibility problem violates our trust and does not deserve another term.

These two examples are not isolated, but listing all the instances of Sununu taking credit for other people’s work and glossing over his own errors would take up too much space. There is

one other example worth noting, though. The Governor frequently crows about his budget

surplus in one breath, and then disparages our Democratic delegation in Washington. This

Democratic delegation has secured over three billion dollars in additional Federal funding for New Hampshire, some of which the state manages and some of which has gone directly to New Hampshire citizens in the form of expand child tax credits and income tax credits early in the pandemic. The Governor correctly says that the federal money is not counted into the surplus. But without that substantial infusion of Federal money, our state’s economy would not have recovered quickly from the pandemic recession. That Federal money has fueled substantial economic growth, which had led to higher business profits, which has in turn bolstered the state’s revenues. Sununu blames Democrats for providing too much money to the economy, but claims credit for the benefits that same money has provided to New Hampshire. A classic case of biting the hand that feeds you.

In his eight years in the legislature, Tom Sherman has a strong record of responsible legislation, including the design of New Hampshire’s Expanded Medicaid program and a recent bill bringing more

About the author

Representative Peter Bixby, first elected in 2012, has represented Dover in the New Hampshire House of Representatives. He is the ranking member of the House Environment and Agriculture Committee. He focuses on a wide range of issues, in particular reducing energy costs, creating more affordable housing, funding state infrastructure, protecting a woman’s right to make her own health care choices, agriculture, and the environment. When not working on legislation, he is an active community volunteer in a variety of ways to address food insecurity. Peter and his family have lived in Dover since 1997.

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