Three Years Later: The Progress And Challenges Of The Green Launching Pad

Amanda Loder / StateImpact New Hampshire

Despite the challenges the GLP faces, Project Director Venky Venkatachalam is optimistic about the program's future.

A taxpayer-funded eco-business program is paying off for New Hampshire.  The Green Launching Pad at the University of New Hampshire has given grants to more than a dozen start-ups in the state.  But it hasn’t awarded any new funds since last year.

But the scene at the statehouse last winter was one of optimism for a cadre of entrepreneurs and their supporters.   The Green Launching Pad was awarding its companies federal money.  Over the course of two years, the program  got $1.5 million in stimulus funding to give out to the most promising green start-ups in the state.  Then-Governor John Lynch was optimistic about the program’s future even as the federal funds were drying up. Continue Reading

Hassan Pitches Casino During Budget Address

Alan Cleaver / Flickr Creative Commons

Hassan's budget gambles on New Hampshire allowing one, high-end casino to set up shop in the state

Governor Maggie Hassan used her budget address to propose a new, high-end casino.

Governor Hassan’s budget banks on this casino generating $80 million in licensing fees.  And she said the state is already dealing with the social costs of gambling allowed in other states, without benefiting from the revenue.

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Governor’s Budget Expands Public Safety Funding

Scott Davidson / Flickr Creative Commons

Like many services with state funding, law enforcement took some hits in the last budget

Calling public safety “our most important responsibility,” Governor Maggie Hassan outlined her funding proposals in today’s budget address. Comparing public safety to the state’s health care system, Hassan said it had taken “too many hits” in the last budget.  She called on legislators to “reverse course” immediately, in the interest of keeping New Hampshire residents safe.

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Hassan Makes Case For Raising Cigarette Tax

Larding / Flickr Creative Commons

Hassan wants to raise the cigarette tax above its original level

Governor Maggie Hassan is looking to raise New Hampshire’s cigarette tax.  In her state budget address, she pitched a  30-cent increase as good public health policy.

“New Hampshire has the highest youth smoking rate in the Northeast, with 19.8 percent of high school students who smoke cigarettes,” Hassan said.  “Cigarette taxes nationwide have proven to be one of the most effective ways to prevent youth smoking.” Continue Reading

Carroll’s Departure Stuns LGC Critics And Supporters

Amanda Loder / StateImpact New Hampshire

A number of people involved in the LGC case expressed shock at Carroll's dismissal.

Over the past several months, StateImpact has been keeping up with the various twists and turns in the Local Government Center case.  The latest development–the ouster of Executive Director Maura Carroll by the LGC board–has shocked the organization’s supporters and critics alike.

This week, I called some of the players in this ongoing saga to get their reaction to Carroll’s sudden departure, and discussed them with NHPR’s All Things Considered host Brady Carlson.

You can catch our conversation, or read the transcript, after the jump.

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National Rush For Firearms Benefits NH Economy

Amanda Loder / StateImpact NH

Workers cast firearms parts at Sturm, Ruger's Newport foundry

As federal lawmakers grapple with tighter gun control laws, business is good for the firearms industry.  Across the country, gun dealers can’t keep them on the shelves, and manufacturers can’t keep up with demand.

But how do these trends affect New Hampshire’s economy?

If you pick up a Sturm, Ruger gun—rifle, pistol, revolver, assault rifle -odds are it was made in Newport, New Hampshire.  Or at least, parts of it were cast in the company’s on-site foundry, and shipped to Ruger’s other factory, in Arizona.

“It takes about two or three hours to make a gun from components into the box,” says Tom Sullivan, Vice President of Newport Operations for Sturm, Ruger. “Every product we make at this point is very popular, and we have large backlogs on every product we make.” Continue Reading

After Board Vote, LGC Chief Steps Down

Amanda Loder/StateImpact New Hampshire

The Local Government Center will see new leadership almost immediately.

After about four years as head of the Local Government Center, Executive Director Maura Carroll is stepping down.

During most of her tenure as Executive Director, Maura Carroll headed an embattled LGC.  The state’s Bureau of Securities Regulation contends that for years, the LGC overcharged communities for health insurance premiums and improperly used funds.  The case went to a hearing officer last summer, who ordered the LGC to return more than $53 million to communities.  Continue Reading

How New Hampshire Is Helping Nanobreweries Revolutionize Craft Beer

While beer sales have been down, nationally, since the great recession, the craft beer industry has been going strong – growing 15 percent in 2011, according to the American Brewers’ Association.

The newest kid on the block in craft beer is the “nanobrewery” – a very small scale commercial brewery that produces fewer than 2,000 barrels a year. To put that in context, the Brewers’ Association defines a microbrewery as producing fewer than 15,000 barrels a year, and a large brewery as exceeding 6 million*.  Hess Brewing in California keeps a list of nanobreweries and estimates there are about 93 in operation nationally – although that list is probably not comprehensive.

New Hampshire is the only state in the nation to recognize and codify nanobreweries as separate from large-scale beverage manufacturers. In doing so, the state lowered certain Prohibition-era liquor limitations that make it hard for the little guys to get a license, open a tap room and get brewing – including a requirement that a brewery sell hot food if they wish to serve beer.

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Developer Sees Affordable Housing Opportunity In Old Mill

Amanda Loder / StateImpact New Hampshire

The Pine Valley Mill in Milford is one of several affordable housing projects to benefit from federal community block grants

Recently, a handful of towns, including Milford, split $3.1 million in community development block grants to help create more affordable housing.  According to statewide estimates, only one-in-six two bedroom apartments is affordable to a median income renter.  But the Granite State has something of a homegrown advantage in tackling this problem. Continue Reading

N.H.’s Productivity Weakening As Neighboring Economies Grow

Center For Public Policy Studies

New Hampshire may have weathered the recession relatively well, but as other states’ economies are growing, New Hampshire’s is slowing down.  That’s the word from the Center for Public Policy Studies, which released a report this week outlining some discouraging trends in New Hampshire’s economy. One of the study’s authors, Dennis Delay, spoke with NHPR’s Brady Carlson about the study.

“Over the long term, places with strong, distinctive identities are more likely to prosper than places without them…. Livability is not a middle-class luxury. It is an economic imperative” – Robert Solow

Delay says the CPPS turned to the celebrated economist Robert Solow, whose model of economic growth relies on three elements: (1) the availability of labor; (2) an increase in skills and productivity of that labor force; and (3) investment by companies in things like machinery and software.

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