Sununu reverses course on SBDC funding
In letter to legislators, governor now calls for reinstating state support for business assistance organization
Gov. Chris Sununu has done an about-face on funding the New Hampshire Small Business Development Center, saying he now supports assisting the organization because of an increase in state revenues fueled by robust business tax revenues.
In a letter to the House and Senate Finance Committees, the governor, pointing to an increase in revenues in February that topped expectations by 18.5%, said he has identified $70 million in additional funding, In his letter, he encouraged the House to reintroduce key items during its phase of the budget process.
Among his recommendations, the governor urged them to provide a state match for the SBDC, enabling it to access $750,000 of federal funds annually from the U.S. Small Busines Administration.
The governor didn’t specify an amount, but last year the state provided $440,000 a year, or $880,000 for the biennium, which along with an in-kind contribution from the University of New Hampshire – where the SBDC is housed – enabled it to draw down the federal funds.
The governor’s original budget proposal zeroed out the agency’s funding.
Without that state funding, SBDC Director Liz Gray told NH Business Reviews on Feb. 15, the centers “could not exist.” The news prompted an outpouring of support from businesses the agency has helped over the years, especially the 7,000 last year as they tried to navigate the pandemic.
In addition to SBDC, the governor also now supports more funding for the Department of Corrections’ transitional housing services, more positions at the Department of Information Technology, support for family resource centers and funding existing civilian positions at the Department of Safety.