Leading NH to a successful future
New Hampshire continues to hold true to its motto, first coined by Revolutionary War General John Stark, “Live Free or Die.” During the legislative session that recently came to a close, we looked to our “live free or die” New Hampshire sensibilities of freedom teamed with practicality in all that we did, supporting a healthy balance of fiscal conservatism, need to grow our economy, yet we also provided our communities with the resources they need for a strong future.
Providing steadfast leadership in conjunction with our ability to work together with members of the House, Senate and with our governor, we have produced a number of major accomplishments on behalf of our state.
As part of an ongoing effort to grow our economy and create jobs, we noted the success previous tax cuts have had, as our unemployment is among the lowest in the country, and New Hampshire has the fourth fastest growing economy in the country and business tax revenues were well over projections.
With the support of the House and governor, we worked together to take further steps to provide additional tax relief for businesses again this year. We also increased the deduction for capital investments to $500,000 to encourage businesses to grow and create jobs. These policies are part of a comprehensive push to drive our economy while sending a clear message that New Hampshire is “open for business.”
We also took an important step toward reducing our state’s high energy costs by eliminating the electric consumption tax. This is a move in the right direction to reduce energy costs, which are 40 percent higher in New Hampshire than the rest of the nation and the top reason major employers have moved out of state. It is clear that we need to do more to cut energy costs.
It is essential that we also focus on building a well-educated and skilled workforce. I honestly believe that should begin with our students, which are why we provided funding in this budget for FIRST robotics programs in schools, in addition to establishing full-day kindergarten programs in every community in our state.
We also included a new scholarship program introduced by Governor Sununu, which would assist New Hampshire students who attend colleges and universities, public or private, in-state. The goal is to keep these individuals in-state after college, working in the jobs available here.
Improving our state’s infrastructure, including roads and bridges, as well as protecting our water resources, are also key components to our future. We sent $36 million back to taxpayers in our communities to make critical roads and bridge infrastructure repairs that support small businesses and our citizens.
In addition, we’ve revamped the drinking water and groundwater commission so they are entrusted with providing communities access to funding for essential drinking water remediation. Modeled after LCHIP, we made changes to allow for public-private partnerships and ensure that communities are also invested in the solution. Maintaining modern and safe road infrastructure and water resources are essential to attracting businesses and families to our state, ensuring that New Hampshire remains one of the best places to live and work in the country.
We’ve also taken steps to launch the Lakeshore Redevelopment Planning Commission in Laconia to bring in new ideas for the Laconia State School property. We’ve used the same framework as the Pease Development Authority to provide a platform for realizing development opportunities to benefit the Laconia region and the state. I believe the sky is the limit for the type of economic growth Laconia could see in the future. This is just one example of how we are able to make progress growing our local economy through smart, tested programs that will benefit our communities.
Chuck Morse of Salem is president of the NH Senate.