Sununu signs 2-year state budget into law

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — Republican Gov. Chris Sununu on Friday signed the two-year state budget passed by the Legislature into law that includes $13.5 billion in spending, but tax cuts and abortion restrictions.

Sununu had indicated he would sign the budget before the Legislature approved it on Thursday. But disagreement among his own party in the House initially threatened to derail the process, with some objecting to the inclusion of his paid family and medical leave proposal, and to insufficient limits on the governor’s power during a state of emergency.

“Republicans delivered on tax cuts, reduced spending, education freedom, much needed mental health services and more without raising taxes or increasing spending,” House Speaker Sherman Packard said in a statement.

Democrats had argued the budget ignores the state’s neediest residents while including tax cuts that will help wealthy citizens and corporations. They also criticized a provision that would prohibit abortions beyond 24 weeks gestation, with exceptions only to save the life of the mother. Health care providers who provide abortions after that time would face felony charges. Republicans said it would put New Hampshire on a par with many other states.

“Governor Sununu now has the unique dishonor of passing an abortion ban and forcing New Hampshire women to undergo mandatory ultrasounds,” New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair Ray Buckley said in a statement. “This anti-choice budget is already so unpopular with Granite Staters that the governor signed it on a Friday afternoon.”