FRANKLIN — Thursday, said Mayor Tony Giunta, was a “wonderful and very special day” in the Three Rivers City which hosted Gov. Chris Sununu for the signing of a compromise state budget that over the next two years will give Franklin some $3 million more to use for property-tax relief and to fund education.
Joined in the Franklin High School library by Giunta and lawmakers including State Senate President Donna Soucy, D-Manchester and House Speaker Steve Shurtleff, D-Penacook, Sununu signed the $13 billion budget into law a day after he, the House and Senate came to terms on it.
The state, said Sununu, “had a really big surplus that we got to use,” with over $100 million going to cities and towns for education.
Giunta praised Sununu for keeping the budget ball rolling after Sununu initially vetoed the first state budget that came to him.
The governor, said Giunta, reached out to municipal leaders; explained why he exercised his veto power; and then invited the leaders to come to Concord to craft a better spending-and -revenue plan.
The municipal leaders agreed on several top issues, said Giunta, and Sununu declared to them that “I hear you.”
In a letter that Giunta sent to Sununu after that meeting, the mayor recounted that the governor had “graciously bowed to support the budget priorities of those in the room.”
The budget negotiations came “right down to the wire,” said Sununu, adding that “at the end of the day,” the resulting budget is “really, really good.”
Soucy called the signing of the budget “a big win” for the citizens of New Hampshire, saying it represented “a true compromise” that has “far-reaching implications.”
Shurtleff said he was glad that the budget was signed in Franklin and highlighted that unlike in the nation’s capital, “government works in New Hampshire and it works well.”
He noted that the budget had bi-partisan support and showed that “we’re all working for the common good.”
State Sen. D’Allesandro, D-Manchester, who chairs the Senate Finance Committee, said as a former teacher, and as a parent and grandparent, he realizes the importance of education. He celebrated the fact that in the compromise budget “everybody got to share” in the benefit of more education funding.
In an aside, D’Allesandro told about a dozen FHS students who came to watch the budget-signing ceremony that high school is “the best years of your life. Never forget that.”
In addition to supporting education, the budget also includes more money for healthcare, “and a lot of good things for the State of New Hampshire,” said State Rep. Mary Jane Wallner, D-Concord, the chair of the House Finance Committee.