My first priority as a state senator will be to promote job growth and economic development. This will require bipartisan civility in Concord that avoids distracting and divisive social issues.
Many families are struggling to make mortgage payments, buy health insurance, and afford a college education. Far too many people still are unemployed. Economic uncertainly means businesses aren’t hiring and holding off on investing in new equipment. Over the past two years, cuts to state and local budgets meant layoffs for hardworking men and women who protect our communities, teach our children, and provide services to the elderly and others in need. Government must live within the means of taxpayers, but it also must invest in education and create a business climate that will encourage growth. Thoughtful planning and careful investments in our future will result in budgets without gimmicks, unrealistic revenue projections, or damaging cuts to social services.
The New Hampshire advantage attracts new business and investment to our state, so I do not support an income or a sales tax. We can save money by increasing efficiency in the delivery of needed services, such as regionalization of municipal and county services and managed healthcare.
However, the state must do its fair share. My campaign will fight against downshifting costs to the local taxpayers. Cuts to local aid, to school adequacy funding, to Medicaid support levels for the Riverside Rest Home, to children in need of services funds, and to pension funds push local property taxes higher.
As senator, I will fight for programs that expand the economy and produce reasonable tax revenue growth. Investments in infrastructure—our highways and bridges, water and sewer projects, school construction, internet access, the power grid, and other capital projects—create jobs and promote economic development. State and local governments should encourage housing and commercial construction through smart zoning and streamlined permitting.
Education and job training are the bedrock of economic opportunity for a strong middle class. We must restore funding to the community colleges for education and training for jobs in technology, manufacturing, and healthcare. An innovation economy in science and technology is the way to quality job growth in New Hampshire, so we must invest in scientific research by restoring funding to the University of New Hampshire. These investments may require adjustments to our current mix of taxes and fees. It was foolish to cut University System of New Hampshire funding by 50% while cutting the tobacco tax, and to reduce registration fees that could pay for repair of red-listed bridges. The state budget should reflect the values we share and the vision we have of the good life in New Hampshire.
I will work on legislation to encourage job growth: worker training, cutting red tape and simplifying regulation, promoting business investment, and keeping taxes low. I support an increase in the research and development tax credit and higher thresholds and indexing for inflation in the business enterprise tax. The business profits tax will continue to be an important component of revenues, but it must not be a disincentive to investment and hiring. Promoting tourism will fuel growth in the rooms and meals tax revenues.
I will work with state governments, business and industry, and unions to control cost increases in health care and workmen’s compensation. Legislation can help chambers of commerce develop health insurance plans for member businesses. Businesses can’t attract workers to New Hampshire unless there is affordable housing, so I support workforce housing incentives.
It is time for businesses, local, county, and state governments, and educational institutions to come together to improve the economy. As your state senator, I will work across party lines and reach out to all my constituents for the best ideas to get the job done through practical, results-oriented legislation.