MANCHESTER – Today, Kevin Smith, Republican candidate for Governor, released the fourth installment of his New Hampshire’s Future Is Now plan to strengthen the state’s economy and to spur job creation.
“No matter who you speak to, the most important issue to people is jobs,” said Smith. “Unfortunately, New Hampshire is losing any competitive advantage it once had to other states in the region and nationally. As Governor, it will be my top priority to make sure that government is helping and not hurting our state’s businesses and job creators.”
Smith offered a comparative view of his opponents in the governor’s race. “Look at the TV commercials the four candidates have run. My commercials talk about cutting business taxes, reducing the costs of health care for small business, and lowering electric rates – all major barriers to attracting new companies, growing our economy, and creating new jobs. On the other hand, my opponents practically ignore these economic issues altogether. Listen, it’s nice to say your family owns a cottage in the North Country, and that you love New Hampshire, but in the end that means very little to the small business owner fighting to keep his or her company afloat and workers employed.”
The latest component of Smith’s comprehensive economic plan describes several new areas of policy not previously laid out in the first three parts of his plan. Smith’s objectives include supporting and signing a Right To Work law, ensuring a skilled workforce by building strategic partnerships between the business community and educational institutions, improving the physical infrastructure of the state, expediting business permitting, and recruiting new companies and venture capital to the state, among others.
“Government doesn’t create jobs," continued Smith, "but it can produce the economic environment in which good-paying, sustainable jobs are created by the private sector. That has got to be our focus moving forward, and I’m the one candidate – Republican or Democrat – that has laid out a specific plan to get there. Others have paid lip service to job creation, but have failed to develop the steps necessary to achieve it. Voters need more than rhetoric, they need solutions and they need a Governor who will lead our state toward greater economic prosperity. That is what I’m offering, and that is what I’ll do.”
Smith’s campaign has earned recognition for its disciplined focus on the economy and job creation, and for producing substantive proposals for growing industry, preserving and strengthening New Hampshire’s economic competitiveness, and curbing the state’s out-migration of graduates and young workers to other parts of the country.
To fully view Part IV of Kevin Smith’s “New Hampshire’s Future Is Now” plan, or to view the first three components of the plan, please click HERE.
New Hampshire’s Future Is Now
The first lesson in creating greater economic prosperity is recognizing that government is never the solution, but it can be a tool to create an environment that is conducive to economic growth. Over the past several decades, we have been told how government can “stimulate” the economy, create jobs, or drive growth. This is a theory used by liberals to justify increased government spending, while trying to use aspects of legitimate government activity (like infrastructure spending) to legitimize any or every other form of government action.
Recently, CNBC issued its annual “Top States for Business” and New Hampshire ranked 19th overall. The key areas in which New Hampshire was weakest included the Cost of Doing Business (#35), Workforce (#44), Infrastructure (#46), and the Cost of Living (#40). We scored strongest in Quality of Life (#1). Over the last nine months, I have been crisscrossing the state to discuss the need to lower taxes, health care costs and energy costs. I have been a strong advocate for Right-to-Work legislation. I want to improve how we spend our precious infrastructure dollars.
It is time for government to focus on creating the right economic environment – focusing on what matters to business – and not on trying to take over the economy.
My New Hampshire’s Future Is Now plan will re-build the New Hampshire economy by empowering individuals and business, creating an environment to invest, rewarding risk-takers and innovators, strategically target our infrastructure spending and make our state the envy of the country:
Turn our corporate tax structure from one of the highest marginal rates, to one that is far more attractive for business
My tax plan will lower the BPT from the current 8.5% to 5.0%, and the BET from 0.75% to 0.25%, phased in over a seven-year period. Using conservative principles of lowering marginal rates across the board instead of trying to pick “winners and losers” with targeted tax benefits is how you create an environment that is good for ALL businesses.
Encourage new business development by putting the burden of proof of “reasonable compensation” on the Department of Revenue Administration instead of an arbitrarily selected amount that politicians want to place on small businesses
Starting a small business is a real risk, and those entrepreneurs shouldn’t have the state decide how much they should be rewarded for that risk. New Hampshire needs to encourage the next HyperTherm, Hitchiner or Garnet Hill, and let them grow, not tax them because the state thinks their owners are making too much money. I will push to eliminate any defined threshold for “reasonable compensation” by the Department of Revenue Administration.
Support Right-to-Work legislation so that New Hampshire can empower individual workers and compete to attract business
Our workforce needs to be empowered so that they can work where they want and how they want. Our current labor laws require employees in union shops to join the union or pay a share of union dues, even if they do not want to join the union. That’s not right and we should update our workforce legislation to better compete for business in the 21st century.
Work closely with New Hampshire’s educational and business communities to ensure that the state is producing a young workforce that is skilled and ready to participate in a 21st Century economy here at home
Our secondary and post-secondary school system provides our students with great skills, but too often the skills may not match the needs of our local businesses or the students leave the state to find better opportunities. We should make sure that our schools are graduating students that can provide a strong workforce to companies here in New Hampshire and keep our graduates in the Granite State.
I would work to create strategic partnerships between large and small businesses with our state's universities, community and technical colleges, and high schools to provide New Hampshire’s employers with a reliable source of young and skilled workers necessary to compete and grow. I would work to involve the business community with our secondary school system by encouraging them to offer apprenticeships and internships to high school aged students, whereby the students can earn academic credit through such opportunities. Finally, let’s put our vast amount of human capital to use by allowing professionals with degrees and expertise in certain fields to teach in the classroom in academic areas that are not currently offered in local school districts.
As Governor, I will ensure that these joint efforts will be established with the goal of putting students on careers paths in the emerging job sectors of the 21st Century economy. This win-win partnership will ensure that more young people will have higher-paying, sustainable jobs waiting for them in New Hampshire when they complete their schooling, as well as incentivize businesses to grow as the skilled labor pool in their respective areas of expertise increases.
Lower the cost of doing business in the state by getting rid of onerous, expensive mandates that drive up the cost of health insurance and energy
The cost of doing business in New Hampshire is too high and the state over the past 15 years has made the cost of health insurance higher by constantly changing the rules and imposing unnecessary mandates that push the basic cost of health care out of reach for individuals and small businesses. I will eliminate some of these burdens and let the market forces and individual choice lower health insurance premiums. In addition, I will work to get rid of energy regulations that pick winners and losers, driving up the costs of energy for businesses and families.
Support the Rausch/Chandler 10-year highway plan that focuses on completion of the I-93 and the repair of the I-95, Memorial and Sarah Long bridges into Maine
New Hampshire has not always used its infrastructure dollars wisely. Abusing of our highway funds, like spending on transportation vans for the Department of Information Technology, makes taking care of our bridges and roads difficult. The recent 10-year highway plan that refocuses on the completion of I-93 and the bridges to Maine will help upgrade the critical lifelines that connect New Hampshire to the rest of the country. We need to focus our funds on this type of highway and bridge infrastructure so that we are no longer the 11th worst state when it comes to “red listed” projects.
Encouraging Women and Minority Owned Business
Over the last decade, New Hampshire has been one of the top states in revenue-growth by women-owned businesses, accounting for nearly $7 billion. And women-owned businesses grew by nearly 37% over the last ten years. As Governor, I would continue to encourage the formation of local support networks as well as development organizations such as the Small Business Development Center. New Hampshire can also lead the way in extending a welcoming hand to minority-owned businesses by continuing to foster positive relationships between business owners and local organizations such as Chambers of Commerce, as well as the promotion of local and state cultural events.
Creating Business Expedite Teams
Starting a new business or expanding an existing one should not be an arduous process in the Granite State. That is why I will create within the Department of Resources and Economic Development, an expedite team to work with entrepreneurs, business owners, land developers, and the like, to ensure that any bureaucratic or regulatory process these job creators must go through to obtain permits or approval certificates is done in the most efficient and easiest manner possible.
Building-out infrastructure around “Economic Hubs”
“If you build it, they will come.” The reality is, if we as a state are serious about improving the economic climate and spurring job creation in the regions of New Hampshire that are so desperately in need of good, high-paying, long-term industry, then we must invest in the infrastructure improvements necessary to allow for commerce to occur in these places. That is why, as Governor, I will work with both state and local officials to create “Economic Hubs” throughout the state around which we will design and create future infrastructure projects – including an East-West highway, as well as maintain and upgrade our highways, roads and bridges in areas where vibrant economic activity is already occurring.
Proactive outreach by Governor’s office and Economic Team to out-of-state industry, venture capitalists, and angel investors
New Hampshire is second in the country, per-capita, in the number of citizens that commute out-of-state every day to go to work, only behind the state of Maryland. We need to do a much better job of pursuing industry outside of the state to relocate their operations either in part or whole to New Hampshire so we can become not only the best state to in which to live, but the best state to work in and do business in as well. That is why, as Governor, I would aggressively pursue companies outside of our state by reaching out to the company presidents and CEO’s personally to let them know why New Hampshire is a superior state in which to do business. In addition, to help and encourage struggling start-ups in New Hampshire, I will work closely with New Hampshire-based VC’s and angels, as well as our colleges and universities, to pursue investors and investment firms in the Boston-metro area to begin broadening their prospects into New Hampshire, while also educating them on the abundance of IP stemming from our world-class college graduates.
As a state, we have to think outside of the box when it comes to luring new industry and business into our state – to include expanding beyond the boundaries of our own nation. As Governor, I will assemble a team of professionals and experts, with international experience, in a variety of industries to conduct trade discussions with the goal of luring foreign companies to New Hampshire, as well as promoting new business opportunities for businesses already existing in the Granite State.
Selling New Hampshire’s Exceptionalism
New Hampshire must do a better job of selling itself to both tourists AND business owners alike outside of our great state. That is why I will work closely with and allocate the appropriate resources to both our Tourism and Economic Development departments to develop a strategic marketing plan that promotes both New Hampshire’s vast amount of natural resources, as well as our state’s pro-active business-centered climate, via traditional media and cutting-edge social media.