Access to educational opportunities in New Hampshire is primarily determined by zip code and accident of birth. Though New Hampshire has some of the highest-performing public schools in the nation, performance across school districts is uneven. Public school students in wealthier towns like Windham and Bedford perform highly on standardized tests while their low-income peers in Claremont and Stratford lag behind.
The Unemployment rate in New Hampshire dropped to 5.5% in April, down from 5.7% in March. This drop represents nearly 1700 fewer unemployed in the state. According to the Household Survey, the number of people employed in New Hampshire also grew by over 1000, with the Labor Force contracting by roughly 500.
The state is on track to generate a modest surplus when the two-year budget passed in 2011 ends this June 30. However, regular revenues are not surging and legislators writing the current budget should estimate cautiously and follow Gov. Hassan’s advice to place this surplus into the long-neglected rainy day fund.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the national unemployment rate dropped to 7.5% in April, a decrease of .1 percentage points over the previous month. The number of unemployed fell by 83,000 while the Labor Force grew by 210,000.
A recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine suggests that the expansion of Medicaid, which is currently being debated in many states, including here in New Hampshire, does little to improve the health of the newly covered.
The word “budget” comes from an old Middle English word used to describe a wallet or purse that held one’s available money. The state’s budget negotiation ultimately will harken back to the original meaning of the word. Lawmakers of both houses of the Legislature will be unable to begin a negotiation over policy choices until they can agree on how much is contained in the state’s purse.
Other states have always been annoyed by states like New Hampshire without a sales tax. Tax competition is distressing to the uncompetitive. But few tax grabs are as ill considered, unfair, and anti-competitive as the federal government’s attempt to impose a massive new internet sales tax. New Hampshire in particular needs to be careful. The new tax will lead to the elimination of the sales tax competitive advantage that is the foundation of our retail economy.