MANCHESTER — Former BAE Systems CEO Walt Havenstein said he wants to create 25,000 new jobs by the summer of 2017 and issue “a rallying cry” for state government to focus on employment growth.
“My emphasis is going to be on what I consider to be good-paying, sustainable jobs,” the Republican businessman said in an interview with the New Hampshire Union Leader on Monday. “It will be focused around high-tech and advanced manufacturing.”
Havenstein’s proposal, which will be unveiled in Manchester’s Millyard today, would cut the business profits tax in his first two-year budget from 8.5 percent to 7.9 percent, putting it below Massachusetts. His second budget would lower it to 7.4 percent, below Connecticut’s rate.
Havenstein said he looked at historical job growth figures to help set his goal for his first 2 1/2 years in office, if elected.
“I think it’s what some may call ambitious, but I think it’s a very achievable goal,” he said. The state created 4,500 jobs over the past 12 months, according to his 11-page plan. (A spokesman said the state added 54,000 new jobs while Republican Steve Merrill was governor between 1993 and 1997.)
In an open letter to New Hampshire residents that will run as a full-page ad in Wednesday’s Union Leader, Havenstein said ramping up job gains will require a change in culture.
“By setting a goal of 25,000 new jobs by 8.15.17, I intend to provide a rallying cry for everyone in state government to focus on growing the economy, using job creation as a yardstick.”
The $49.2 million cut in BPT revenues in the first two years could be made up with natural revenue growth and flat state spending, according to his plan.
Havenstein also would:
• Eliminate burdensome regulations that hinder growth;
• Link higher education investment for STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) subjects to help employers get better prepared workers.
• Pass right-to-work legislation “so that no one has to pay a fee or join an organization they disagree with in order to hold a job;”
• Create a marketing plan for the state, starting in the region, then moving to other states;
• Look to reevaluate current health insurance mandates on the books and create more competition among private insurance companies to drive down prices;
• Pledge to veto a sales or income tax and “rein in spending and oppose policies that might take us wittingly down that road.”
Last month, Andrew Hemingway, who Havenstein faces in the Sept. 9 primary, released a plan to overhaul overall state business taxes, and on Monday, he questioned Havenstein’s proposal.
“I have released a real tax proposal that changes the entire current system of taxation in the state and I’ve done that because if we are to actually grow, expand and maybe get 25,000 jobs in here, that’s what we need to do,” Hemingway said in an e-mail. “A moderate reduction in one business tax, which only benefits large companies, will not create any economic growth.
“The rest of this so-called plan are platitudes. We all want to market the state better, reduce regulations etc., etc., but Walt, how, what? New Hampshire people deserve attention to detail, deserve at least a little bit of effort when it comes to how they’re going to put food on their tables beyond stale campaign promises and rhetoric,” Hemingway said.
Hemingway’s plan would eliminate the 8.5 percent business profits tax, the 5.5 percent Medicaid enhancement tax and the 0.75 percent business enterprise tax as well as reduce the 5 percent interest and dividends tax to 2 percent. A new 2 percent business flat tax would extend to non-profit organizations, such as hospitals, as well as government agencies. The plan would help small businesses because it exempts the first $200,000 of business revenue and allow for instant depreciation of large capital investments.
Aaron Jacobs, spokesman for Gov. Maggie Hassan’s campaign, tied the Havenstein campaign to former House Speaker Bill O’Brien and the Koch brothers, who are conservative political donors.
“Walt wants to take Granite Staters backward to the devastating cuts of the O’Brien Legislature, which slashed higher education funding in half, defunded Planned Parenthood, and cut critical services for children and families. And Walt continues to follow in Bill O’Brien’s footsteps by pushing so-called ‘right to work’ legislation that would drive down middle-class wages,” Jacobs said.
“While Walt Havenstein repackages the same anti-middle class Bill O’Brien/Koch Brothers policies that voters rejected last election, Governor Hassan is working to bring people together to get things done for New Hampshire’s people, businesses and economy,” Jacobs said.
Havenstein said he set a target date to challenge workers at Sanders, before it later became BAE Systems, to complete a key company project to deliver the electronic system for the F-22 fighter jet.
“The deadline, 8.15.00, was more than just a date, it was a call to action that rallied us all and focused our efforts until we made good on our promise,” he said in his open letter. “We can bring the same culture to how our state attracts and grows jobs.”