We are all aware of the economic challenges facing our Communities, our State and our Nation. Today, our State Legislators are focusing on increasing most taxes and fees in an effort to sustain, or in fact increase our current level of government spending. Increasing our State Budget by over $1 Billion dollars, which is being debated now, will not cure the root of our economic problems in New Hampshire. Our primary problem today is unemployment or under-employment and a lack of financial confidence. People are being laid off and more business owners and families are being squeezed financially through higher taxes, fees and regulations. These increases in government spending are not coming from an expansion of any economic base, but coming from taking additional money from a smaller pool of participants.
Our economy in New Hampshire will only rebound when everyone has a sustainable job. Our legislators need to understand that raising taxes and fees will not return us to economic prosperity. We need to get people back to work, and those currently employed need to have the confidence to participate in the economy.
We need to encourage employers, who may be questioning expanding staff or investment in new equipment, to make that commitment, in New Hampshire.
I am asking our elected State Officials to enact legislation that will encourage businesses to hire additional employees or commit to expansion. This can be done, through an array of incentive programs including focusing on a meaningful credit to the BET (Business Enterprise Tax – also known as the Business Employee Income Tax) or the BPT (Business Profits Tax), or a temporary reduction in the State portion of property taxes.
In the past few months, I have spoken with many employers around our State that currently have job openings and/or want to expand. Unfortunately, they lack the confidence to commit and some also have options out of our State. As our Country goes through this temporary economic retraction, New Hampshire needs to be the State that can attract and retain businesses. We need to create local jobs, provide confidence, and expand our New Hampshire economic base. These actions will solve problems, not cover them up.
Although several regional attempts at encouraging economic expansion have seen various levels of success, most have not been significant enough to have a material effect. Additionally the current Federal Stimulus Plan will help some industries, but unfortunately it will not provide support and incentives to most of our State’s small businesses, which is the backbone of our economy. Now is the time for a real, material, State wide initiative.
We must take actions to not only retain and expand our current employment base; we also have to be more aggressive in bringing new businesses to our State. The long term benefits of new employers paying strong wages is worth the short term temporary suspension of some State fees. When is the last time you heard of a new large company coming to New Hampshire, offering significant employment opportunities that someone can raise a family on?
Some of the typical nay-sayers will shout that this is not the time to reduce any taxes and fees. I ask, what is better, employed residents who have the ability to contribute to our economy with the confidence of their jobs, or people out of work receiving Government subsidies. The overall positive economic offset of an employed person far outweighs the benefit of receiving just another short term crutch.
With reasonably secure jobs, people will have the confidence to invest in their future and the future of our State.