Democratic candidate Maggie Hassan is pushing education funding as key to bolstering the state's economy.
Next week, New Hampshire voters will decide who gets to run for governor this November. And despite the fact that most states would envy our 5.4 percent unemployment rate, jobs and the economy are the issues driving the primary elections. StateImpact lays out the similarities–and differences–between the plans of the leading Democratic candidates.
Q: What is each candidate proposing?
A: Broadly speaking, they’re very similar. Of course, on some level that’s not surprising, considering Maggie Hassan and Jackie Cilley are both Democrats. But unlike the Republican proposals, where you can pretty much go down the line and point out differences on how much they would cut various taxes or their stances on tax credits, it’s a tougher job to boil down their Democratic counterparts’ views at this point. Continue Reading →
Republican Ovide Lamontagne favors making cutting business taxes while also offering new tax credits.
Next week, New Hampshire voters will decide who gets to run for governor this November. And despite the fact that most states would envy our 5.4 percent unemployment rate, jobs and the economy are the issues driving the primary elections. StateImpact lays out the similarities–and differences–between the plans of the leading GOP candidates.
Q: How are Kevin Smith and Ovide Lamontagne’s proposals alike?
A: They’re both going the traditional conservative Republican route of cutting business taxes in some way, in the hope that it draws more enterprise into the state. Which they say would import more jobs. And they would off-set that drop in tax revenue from businesses at first by making budget cuts. The idea is that it doesn’t put more money into the state coffers immediately. But over time, as the number of tax-paying businesses increases, revenues will increase even though taxes were actually cut. You just have more people paying into the system. Continue Reading →
When celebrated Concord resident and high school teacher Christa McAuliffe died in the Challenger explosion in 1986, an out-of-state donor offered $500,000 to build a monument in downtown Concord. As then-mayor Jim MacKay remembers, the city declined. Instead, the state built a planetarium. Today – 26 years after the state opened the McAuliffe Planetarium — the facility is on its way to becoming a private, nonprofit institution. Continue Reading →
“My parents wanted me to go to college, but I was more interested in earning some money to get a car. And then one thing led to another, and then I met my wife, got married, and there was really no turning back after that,” says mill worker Rollie Leclerc. “I really like working here. It’s a place where you can earn a decent wage and kind of live the lifestyle a middle American is supposed to. You have a house and a car and a decent living.”
“You sit at home and you watch the news and you see all these people that are 50 and older and have lost their jobs, and it doesn’t really hit home because it’s not affecting you,” Leclerc says. “But boy oh, boy, I tell you what, now I totally understand the hardship of finding employment, especially being over 50 years old. Employers do look at you differently.”
After he was laid-off for the second time, Leclerc says, “I wasn’t able to find any work at all. We got by with unemployment benefits, and we watched our pennies. But it was luck that the mill reopened, because the benefits were running out. When you’re living on that kind of money compared to what I was making at the mill, your wage cut is at about 70 percent.”
“I’m one of the fortunate ones. I didn’t have a house payment. It’s the benefits. Health care is nuts. I was paying $980 a month while I was out, with a $6,000 deductible, for myself and my wife. So getting back here and having access to health care is huge,” Leclerc says.
Leclerc’s hopeful about the future of the mill, but, “This time around, it’s been a slower start-up. When we shut down in 2000, and we started up [again], all our past customers came right back,” he says. “This time around, they’re a little reluctant. So we’re gaining their trust again. But it’s a slower process than we thought.”
Although finding work in the North Country at places like Gorham Paper and Tissue is hard, Leclerc says in some ways, having an education makes it tougher. “If you happen to have a college degree, you’re limited to where you can go as far as employment, unless you’re into the medical field, a few other areas. That’s why, when our kids go to college, it’s like a farewell. They never come back. Not because they don’t like the area. No opportunity.”
As part of our weekly “Getting By, Getting Ahead” series, StateImpact is traveling across New Hampshire, gathering personal stories from the people behind the economy. In our seventh and final installment, we talk with a longtime North Country mill worker who has been laid off, and re-hired, twice.
The factory floor of Gorham Paper and Tissue is a miserable place on hot summer day. The massive cylinders noisily turning watery pulp into paper are incredibly hot, almost oven-like, except that the water passing through them creates a thick veil of humidity.
Deeper into the mill sits the small, cool, control shack that is Rollie Leclerc’s domain. He is a machine tender, and part of his job involves maintaining the balance between tons of hardwood, softwood, and pulp coursing through the machines. This blend is key to making high-quality paper. Underneath the safety glasses and steel-toed boots, Leclerc (pronounced “Leclaire”) is a good-natured guy with a big laugh and an easy smile. Leclerc has been on this mill floor since 1977. And he’s proud of his deep family roots in this line of work. Continue Reading →
With only one of its famed paper mills remaining, the North Country faces some big challenges in terms of economic development
Tomorrow on Morning Edition, NHPR will air the seventh and final installment of our summer series, “Getting By, Getting Ahead,” which focuses on the personal stories behind the economy. This week, we’ll tell the story of a third-generation North Country mill worker who has been laid-off and re-hired twice.
If you want to learn more about the decline of mills in the North Country, check out our Economic Snapshot. Or, for the condensed version, you can hear StateImpact reporter Amanda Loder’s discussion with NHPR’s All Things Considered host Brady Carlson below.
We also invite you to visit our special web feature, which includes an interactive map, economic perspectives from each of the people spotlighted in the series, and more information on each of New Hampshire’s regions. And when you visit, you’ll have an opportunity to share your story of life during the economic downturn and recovery.
“I started building in the speculative market in 1987. My grandparents owned some property up here and decided that they wanted to sell it,” says home builder Joe Skiffington. “And I was doing renovations and construction in the Boston area. I came up to the lake and I said, you know, I wonder what selling vacation homes would be like? So I built a couple of them on spec. These were $79,900, so a far cry from what we’re doing today. But the process was fun.”
“It’s definitely gotten expensive. When we started lakefront construction–the first lakefront home I built was in 1991 or ’92–the lot was about $100,000, and construction cost was about $175,000, and we sold it for, I think, $309,000,” Skiffington says. “That was 20 years ago. Today, an entry-level product is going to be somewhere in the range of $1.8 million to $2 million to buy a new home, or have a home built on Lake Winnipesaukee.”
“I think it was a bubble in 2006 and 2007. I mean, it was just so busy, we were building seven of these $3 million to $4 million houses a year, and they were selling faster than we could build them,” Skiffington says. “People ask me, ‘When do you think it will be like it was in 2006 and 2007 again?’ And I say, ‘I really hope it doesn’t.'”
“A lot of people got into the business because they felt they just couldn’t lose,” Skiffington says. “When non-builders start building spec houses, it becomes a problem. There were too many realtors, too many builders, and then what happens is the bubble bursts and nobody makes money and everybody gets hurt. I’d like to see us maintain some sort of normalcy in a trend where price escalation is at a minimum.”
As part of our weekly “Getting By, Getting Ahead” series, StateImpact is traveling across New Hampshire, gathering personal stories from the people behind the economy. In our sixth installment, we talk with a Lakes Region home builder.
Summer is boom time on the banks of Lake Winnipesaukee. These are the months when the region’s tourist towns double or even triple in size as wealthy vacation home owners settle in for the season. But at the moment, one of these homes — a 7,000 square foot mini-mansion on Governor’s Island — remains empty.
Joe Skiffington’s company built this home back in 2008. Skiffington, 48, is a big man with a dark goatee and an easy smile. He’s part of a small community of Lakes Region developers who build high-end vacation houses — places with 22-foot high vaulted ceilings, exposed pine beams, basement saunas and amazing guest bedrooms. Upstairs, Skiffington shows off one of these guest rooms. Continue Reading →
The slowing high-end second home market didn't only affect home builders and realtors
Tomorrow on Morning Edition on NHPR, you can catch the sixth installment of our seven-part series “Getting By, Getting Ahead.” This summer, StateImpact is looking at the personal stories behind New Hampshire’s economic recovery, and how they vary by industry and region. This evening on All Things Considered, host Brady Carlson spoke with reporter Amanda Loder about how the Lakes Region‘s high-end vacation home bubble affected not only developers and wealthy tourists, but also year-round residents.
This map traces the last year of venture capital deals across the country. In New Hampshire, a collaborative venture fund -- managed by Borealis Ventures with money from the state -- will soon be moving local capital into the hands of local innovators. Continue reading →
“We were notified during the day. It was on a Friday,” says English teacher Jillian Corey about her layoff notice last May. “Many of us still had to teach class. And the kids were very aware that there was something going on. I was honest with them. I didn’t get into the politics of the situation or the money. I wanted them to understand that it was not a personal situation, because they become very protective of the teachers. It was not for them to be concerned about.”
“At Memorial, we had the [most] reduction in force notices given. We lost 29 of our staff. In the English department, it was six alone,” says Corey.
Teaching at Memorial High School is Corey’s first job as an educator. “I certainly thought I was perfectly safe from any sort of harm of this nature. You know, five years is a long time to be in a position,” Corey says. “So I was sad that the investment that I made in this community was being taken away from me.”
Corey says she still hopes to be one of the 62 teachers the school district calls back for this year. But, “I’ve certainly been looking for jobs in other districts. But when you have 29 English teachers let go alone in Manchester, there are certainly not 29 English teaching jobs in the state of New Hampshire right now.”
“I don’t pretend to have any sort of plan whatsoever about what’s going to fix this. I know we need more money. I know the kids need more money,” Corey says. “There’s hardly a person in this building that could tell you they have not lost their job, in this district, before. So this is an ongoing issue.”
As part of our weekly “Getting By, Getting Ahead” series, StateImpact is traveling across New Hampshire, gathering personal stories from the people behind the economy. In our fifth installment, we talk with a recently laid-off teacher in the Merrimack Valley.
Jillian Corey seems to belong at Memorial High School in Manchester. A teacher here for five years, she easily navigates the school’s network of dimly lit hallways, decorated with computer printouts and hand-written signs.
But Corey, a 32-year old English teacher, doesn’t work here anymore. She was one of dozens of teachers and staff laid off from the school district last spring. As she gives me a tour of the school, making her way past open lockers waiting for their final summer wash-down, the maintenance staffers and occasional educator aren’t bothered. Even if Corey doesn’t officially work here anymore, no one finds it strange that she would pop in.
When we arrive at her old classroom, however, a locked door shatters the illusion. “Um…unfortunately, I don’t think we’ll be able to get into this particular classroom of mine,” Corey says, as we try to track down another classroom where we can sit down and talk.
The Manchester school district layoffs last spring were a result of both local and national forces
Tomorrow on Morning Edition on NHPR, you can catch the latest installment of our series, “Getting By, Getting Ahead.” This summer, StateImpact is looking at the personal stories behind New Hampshire’s recovering economy. Tomorrow’s piece will focus on one of the dozens of teachers laid-off from the Manchester school district. Reporter Amanda Loder recently discussed the district’s funding issues with All Things Considered host Brady Carlson. If you would like to know more about the local and national forces that helped shape the layoff decision, you can also check out our Merrimack Valley Economic Snapshot.
And we invite you to visit our new web feature, which includes an interactive map, more economic perspectives from the people we’re spotlighting this summer, and links to more “Getting By, Getting Ahead” coverage. It also includes ways to share your story of life during the economic recovery.
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