Why The Eurozone Crisis Matters To New Hampshire’s Economy

Aris Messinis / AFP/Getty Images

The sovereign debt crisis has hurt the European economy and sparked unrest across the continent

To people not directly involved in fixing, analyzing, or monitoring the Eurozone crisis, it can take on the character of black magic.  And it’s easy to think that the dark arts of the European Central Bank’s low-interest lending initiatives, national bond auctions, and bailout talk have little bearing on our daily lives.

In fact, they very much matter.

Economists say Europe’s ongoing sovereign debt difficulties could very well plunge the continent into a double-dip recession, if it hasn’t already.  And, as America’s recent history demonstrates, when the economy’s on the downswing, not many people are anxious to buy anything.  Those jitters ultimately hit the export economy…and when orders slow down, so does demand for workers to make the stuff we ship overseas.  Although tiny New Hampshire isn’t exactly a Rustbelt-style manufacturing powerhouse, the state makes a lot of advanced, high-demand products, which means it’s heavily exposed to what’s going on in Europe. Continue Reading

Senate Votes To Overhaul Business Laws

Amancay Maahs / Flickr

Yes, the bill's massive...but sponsors believe it will ultimately make life a lot easier for would-be business people

A pair of bills overhauling statutes governing LLC’s and corporations have been working their way through the New Hampshire Senate.  The AP reports the amended SB 205 passed on a vote of 22-2:

“It includes provisions for electronic communication, conflicts of interest and provides an easier path for corporations to move to New Hampshire. Supporters say this will bring New Hampshire up to speed with its neighbors.” Continue Reading

Some Key Arguments For–And Against–Making PSNH Sell Its Generating Facilities

elycefeliz / Flickr

Should NH's main power company be forced to give up its generating capacity?

One of the big issues in the New Hampshire business community this legislative session is the push to continue deregulating utilities.  The state’s current power regulation model is something of a hybrid between old-fashioned regulation and deregulation.  The idea is, there are regulated utility companies (like PSNH, which the Public Utilities Commission reports serves 70 percent of the state’s “retail customers”)…but customers aren’t forced to use it.  With some deregulation going into effect about 10 years ago, customers were allowed to shop around for cheaper rates from other, unregulated electric providers.

Now, HB 1238 would move toward completing the process of deregulation by making PSNH sell off all its generating assets–“fossil, hydro, and biomass”–by the end of next year.  While the committee hearing for the bill took place on Thursday, February 2, the House Science, Technology, and Energy Committee is holding an executive session tomorrow at 10:00 am.  Given the complicated nature of this issue, we decided to highlight some of the arguments for–and against–continued deregulation. Continue Reading

Will Northern Pass Create Jobs? It Depends On Which Study You Believe

Stefan Kraft / Flickr

How many jobs could 180 miles of power lines create in NH?

One of the main questions that lingers over Northern Pass is: Will it create jobs, especially in the struggling North Country?

And, befitting the layers of controversy surrounding the project, the simplest answer won out.

It depends on who you ask.

Today, the New England Power Generators Association released a report it commissioned from PolEcon Research.  The Association is one of the major opponents of the Northern Pass project.  Unsurprisingly, the report found the jobs created by the project will be much less than the utility group claims.  According to a Power Point presentation accompanying the release, PolEcon found: Continue Reading

Why Candidates Are Spending Less On The NH Primary This Cycle–And What It Could Mean For The Future

Alex Wong / Getty Images

The 2012 Republican presidential candidates just aren't investing as much in the New Hampshire race as usual. StateImpact scours political coverage to find out why.

There’s been a collective notion swirling among New Hampshire politicos and pundits that this year’s Republican primary just doesn’t stack up to past events.  Candidates aren’t as anxious to go to town hall meetings and shake hands at nondescript diners.  By and large, they’re not throwing astronomical sums of cash into unending TV ads.  Yes, they’re here, touting the importance of the early New England vote.  But they’re not entirely here, mentally and spiritually grounded in the Granite State, outwardly embracing its quirks, touting its special place in electoral politics (except for Jon Huntsman, that is) .

In short, there’s a well-documented sense in the media that somehow, somewhere along the line, New Hampshire’s First In The Nation primary has fallen off its granite pedestal.

The problem with nebulous sentiment, however, is that it’s tough to quantify.

So instead, we’re going to take a look at some of the latest coverage concerning political spending and the decline of retail politics to get a more solid sense of what this perceived shift could mean for New Hampshire. Continue Reading

Economics And Politics Clash Over NH Tax Revenue Forecast

Is a structural deficit a real concern for NH...or just a boogeyman cooked up by economists? We've got more after the jump.

Yesterday, StateImpact liveblogged the Joint Economic Session.  Members of the House and Senate Finance and Ways and Means Committees gathered for hours to hear economists offer projections on where the global, national, and state economies are headed in 2012.

Admittedly, it was pretty dry stuff.  And we were ready to do what we’ve done with our other economic forecast liveblogs–just wait until an interesting trend or factoid pops up, and highlight it for you.

Then, economist Dennis Delay with the New Hampshire Center for Public Policy Studies brought up the idea that the state has a structural deficit.

Shortly thereafter, the political fireworks started. Continue Reading

Losing The Lotto: Waiting For Massachusetts

Camelia TWU / Flickr

There's just a mother hen on the eggs over here!

Mondays are interesting days here at StateImpact.  It’s when we plan out what we’re going to cover over the course of the week, and how.  It’s when we look at where we’ve been in the past week, and where we’re going.  And sometimes, it’s the day that critical information is brought to our–or rather, in this case, my–attention.

“You’re like a mother hen on the eggs over here!”

That’s what Rachel Gotbaum, my StateImpact partner-in-crime, told me today.  She’s convinced that I need to share with you a bit more often how exactly I get from Point A (observation) to Point B (question) to Point C (data) and finally…to Point D (story).

Unlike my partner, I’m not from the Northeast originally, let alone one of its major cities.  But I’ve been in the area long enough to know that when a dyed-in-the-wool East Coast urbanite like Rachel adds “over here!” to the end of a sentence…it’s Serious Business.  And I need to pay attention.

So in that spirit, I’m going to start sharing with you the process of putting a story together, as it comes together.

Let’s start with the lotto series.  Continue Reading

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