Gubernatorial Candidates Agree: Biggest Challenge Is Jobs

All four gubernatorial candidates competing in tomorrow’s primary agree on one thing. The biggest challenge facing New Hampshire in the next decade is the economy. In particular? Jobs. That’s according to an NHPR questionnaire put to all six candidates last week. The four major candidates say they will focus on education and job training in the state. Read all six answers below. Then, check out our Primary Primer at

What do you see as the biggest challenge facing New Hampshire in the next decade? What will you do as governor to address it?

The biggest challenge facing New Hampshire is ensuring that we have a strong economy that allows our middle-class families to compete and succeed. My Innovate NH plan is focused on ensuring New Hampshire is prepared to compete in the 21st century economy, which will require that we have the best workforce in the nation. As Senate Majority Leader, I worked closely with Gov. John Lynch to create a job training program; pass the research-and-development tax credit; and to launch New Hampshire Working, which is helping businesses avoid layoffs and making it easier for companies to hire new workers. My Innovate NH begins restoring funding for education, so that we can freeze tuition and increase slots for New Hampshire students; helps business access the technical expertise of our higher education system; and provides targeted tax credits and technological assistance to help businesses innovate and grow.

Our current challenge remains moving our economy forward, creating good jobs. Over the next decade, our challenge will continue to be not just creating good jobs but keeping our young people here in the state, well-prepared to take those jobs. Already, we are one of the fastest aging states in the country, and more young people are leaving than are coming in or coming back home.

The biggest challenge facing NH is determining what jobs, programs, departments, institutions and infrastructure are required and what level of funding/budget is required to maintain adequate operations. Additionally, weeding out inefficiencies such as redundancy, waste and corruption is vital for facilitating continued growth. In down economies more stable revenue sources must be pursued and since businesses and other revenue enterprises (i.e. casinos) are impacted by the economy, these are neither sustainable nor viable sources of revenue. Current revenue sources (property tax, BET, BPT, I & D Tax and LLC Tax) are regressive, gambling revenue is unreliable and laden with social/public safety costs and these impact those that can afford it the least. I will pursue more progressive revenue sources that are broad-based and have everyone paying their “fair share!”

The biggest challenge is creating a business environment to help bring jobs to NH. As Governor from day one I will seek out partnerships with businesses and our educational institutions to create a way for a student to gain meaningful skills in a career of their choice and offer the businesses tax credits and other cost saving plans to help them grow and reinvest.

To grow the economy for all of our communities, create good jobs and prepare our citizens to take those jobs, we must invest in what businesses need: a strong system of public primary, secondary and post-secondary education, and transportation and communications infrastructure. Education is key. Albany International of Rochester, NH, said recently that its top priority is to be located near a highly skilled and educated workforce and pointed to its partnership with UNH. Albany (with its 400 jobs) and businesses like it need our universities to provide an educated workforce and research and innovation. College education must be affordable in our state if our young people are to train here and stay here for those jobs. Past generations invested in the infrastructure our economy stands upon today. As governor, I will provide the leadership our state needs to affirm and fund our priorities, working with legislators across party lines to ensure that the foundations of our economy are sturdy and sustainable for the future.

The biggest challenge facing New Hampshire is a stagnant economy with limited job growth. We still have 30,000 fewer jobs in New Hampshire than we did in 2008 and economic activity and growth is anemic in the Granite State.

I will be a pro-growth governor focused every day on attracting and maintaining high quality, stable employers. I will develop a statewide economic development plan to guide state government with an eye towards job creation and I will appoint a business advocate to assist employers with navigating the bureaucracy of state government that so often stifles our state’s business owners. I will work to reform state government and I will push back against federal intrusion on issues of state responsibility such as healthcare reform, allowing us to create New Hampshire based solutions.

Job creation! To ensure that we see real and sustained job growth – with good-paying jobs – we must create an economic environment that will help existing companies and attract new companies to grow and expand their business and hire new workers. That is why I have put forth a detailed and bold economic plan, called “New Hampshire’s Future Is Now”.

In addition to my strong opposition to a state sales or income tax, or any other broad-based tax, I have proposed cutting business taxes, reducing regulations on small business, and lowering health care costs and electric rates that impact New Hampshire’s businesses and consumers. In doing so, New Hampshire will strengthen its economic climate and companies will be able to invest, innovate and hire new workers as their business grows.

I will cut both the Business Profits Tax from 8.5% to 5% and the Business Enterprise Tax from 0.75% to 0.25% by the year 2020. My plan increases the revenue threshold for businesses that have to pay the Business Enterprise Tax to $250,000 from the current $150,000 by 2014, and eliminates the BET altogether on small businesses with less than $500,000 in gross revenue and that do not make a profit. Unlike my opponent, my plan does not pick winners and losers in the marketplace, complicating the tax code to help one industry over another. Rather, I propose making a significant reduction in the state’s corporate taxes for all businesses, which will provide needed relief, economic certainty, and incentivize companies and employers. New Hampshire has the fifth highest corporate taxes in the nation. By lowering the tax burden on businesses – large and small – New Hampshire can help existing companies grow and hire new workers, and attract new companies to the state.

Controlling health care costs and making health insurance more affordable are critical for both providing for New Hampshire’s citizens and attracting new employers to the state. I oppose the budget-crippling ObamaCare mandate on New Hampshire and believe that New Hampshire should opt-out of the mandatory expansion of Medicaid that undermines the state-federal partnership that has existed for decades and could bankrupt the state and ruin our economy. I have proposed implementing policies that encourage competition among insurance companies, allow flexible alternative plans to cost-driving coverage mandates, and overhaul burdensome state requirements on health care providers. Health care is one of the biggest costs to doing business in our state. We have some of the highest premiums, even while we are one of the healthiest states. We must address the cost of health care if we are to help businesses grow and create jobs.

Recognizing that New Hampshire’s retail electricity customers pay some of the highest rates in the country (5th out of 50 states), I will promote legislation that gives our utilities the flexibility to obtain and provide the cheapest electricity possible, explore self-sustaining alternative forms of energy, and eliminate onerous, environmentally-neutral, rate-hiking energy regulations such as cap-and-trade. Our cost of electricity has acted as a barrier for new companies wanting to locate in New Hampshire, and this is a trend we can no longer afford.

As Governor, I will also work tirelessly to reduce the regulations on small businesses across the state. If we expect private sector companies to grow and expand their business here in New Hampshire, we cannot continue to put up barriers to that growth. Through a patchwork of unnecessary regulations, we have created disincentives for companies to locate in New Hampshire or expand their operations. My administration will review all of the regulations impacting business in New Hampshire and will work to reduce the burden on our employers, so we are better able to unlock the power of free enterprise – and the job creation that comes with it.

The biggest challenge is creating a business environment to help bring jobs to NH. As Governor from day one I will seek out partnerships with businesses and our educational institutions to create a way for a student to gain meaningful skills in a career of their choice and offer the businesses tax credits and other cost saving plans to help them grow and reinvest.



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