CONCORD — Today Governor Sununu vetoed Senate Bill 10, legislation that would have established a minimum wage in New Hampshire. Representative Brian Sullivan, Chair of the House Labor, Industrial and Rehabilitative Services (D-Grantham), released the following statement:
“It is deeply disappointing that Governor Sununu has chosen to veto Senate Bill 10, which would have reestablished a minimum wage law in New Hampshire beginning at $10 in 2020 and increasing to $12 in 2022. This bill is favored by a strong majority of New Hampshire voters who understand that the cost of living varies greatly from state to state, and that New Hampshire’s minimum wage should be set by New Hampshire policymakers, not by politicians in Washington, D.C.”
“To justify other vetoes this year, Governor Sununu has claimed some legislation negatively impacts Granite Staters with lower incomes. For the Governor to now block minimum wage legislation, which would have provided the greatest benefit to lower income residents, shows just how disingenuous his previous statements were.”
“Last month I joined several other legislators who participated in the minimum wage challenge. My wife and I lived for one week on a minimum wage budget, feeding ourselves on $55 and a box of vegetables. While we succeeded in this temporary exercise, we were very aware that one mishap like a medical issue or auto breakdown would have buried us. The reality is that it is impossible for a couple to live on two 40/hour jobs at $7.25 per hour.”
“Governor Sununu was also invited to accept the minimum wage challenge but did not. Perhaps if he had, he would have understood the real struggles of low wage earners and thought twice about this veto.”
In his veto message, Gov. Sununu noted that in states that have raised the minimum wage, workers have seen their hours cut or their jobs eliminated. He said that the New Hampshire economy is booming, that very few workers in the state (0.0015%) make the federal minimum wage. New Hampshire also currently has the lowest poverty rate (9.2%) of all 50 states.
“Advocates of SB10 seem to think that the government can raise the price of labor without reducing the amount [sic] of workers that will be hired,” wrote Sununu in his veto message. “I will not be the Governor that signs a bill that will lead to lost jobs, cut hours, and less money in the pockets of hard working Granite Staters.”