New Hampshire is complacent. As a state we seem to have accepted stagnation as a way of life and are just trying to figure out how to adapt to it. The vision of New Hampshire as an island of prosperity is receding as policymakers increasingly decide they must adopt rather than fight economic mediocrity.
Proposals at the state and national level to increase the minimum wage will hurt the job market, decrease the number of jobs available, and hurt the people advocates are trying to help. Specifically, the higher wage will make it more expensive to hire entry level workers and reduce opportunities for lower skill workers trying to build job experience.
When did New Hampshire stop being New Hampshire? Whether one describes New Hampshire’s economy as mediocre, stagnant, or lackluster there is no denying that the latest economic news shows that we are no longer leading any economic charges but instead content to hope some crumbs drop from the tables of others. Once the envy of our neighbors, we may now be stuck as an economic backwater, another nondescript pea in the New England pod.
The return of warm weather to our state seems the right time for me to wax poetic about Canada again. To the chagrin of many, I hold up “the true North proud and free” as an example to be emulated south of the border. Bear with me and see if you don’t agree that the United States should be more like Canada.
DRED Commissioner Jeff Rose made a strong plea last week for his economic development bailiwick. His rationale, however sensible, minimizes a very real problem and is an accidental example of the problem state government faces. The state faces a real problem, one they know about even when denying it, and can’t fix it without a team pulling on each and every oar, not with selective paddling.
As reported in the Nashua Telegraph, a Legislative audit of the Division of Economic Development, within the Department of Resources and Economic Development found that in 2011 and 2012, $875,750 was improperly given out as tax credits, while an additional $121,000 worth of tax credits were not given to business that were eligible to receive them.
“Each state has its own reduction goal, reached through a complex calculation based on current energy production sources and possible policy choices. For New Hampshire to comply with these rules, the state would need to reduce emissions from fossil fuel fired plants by more than 46% by 2030.”
The brokered deal on the Medicaid Enhancement Tax and lawsuit is a partial solution to an imperfect situation that will require difficult choices but it may still be the right choice to make. The complexity of the tax and the schemes surrounding it make evaluating and understanding the tax, the choices, and the possibilities difficult but let’s give it a try.