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Business council releases report on Granite State economy


New Hampshire Union Leader

December 05. 2014 7:54PM

ERIC ZULASKI of American Friends Service Committee was one of three members protesting outside the Manchester Country Club in Bedford Friday morning while Carly Fiorini, former CEO of Hewlett-Packard and potential GOP presidential candidate, spoke at a breakfast meeting of members of the Independent Business Council of New Hampshire. (Pat Grossmith)

BEDFORD — The Independent Business Council of New Hampshire released a 37-page economic policy report Friday with recommendations on how the state can regain its “New Hampshire Advantage” and recharge its economy. U.S. Congressman-elect Frank Guinta, R-N.H., created the council in 2013.

The report, released at a breakfast meeting at the Manchester Country Club, says the state’s competitiveness position has been eroding since 2010. Out of 13 rankings, New Hampshire ranked:

• 50th for not being a Right-to-Work State.

• 50th for average student debt.

• 49th for property tax burden — $54.32 per $1,000 of personal income;

• 48th for infrastructure;

• 46th for capital investment projects;

• 46th for industrial electric prices;

• 43rd for cost of living;

• 42nd for average workers’ compensation costs — $2.40 per $100 of payroll;

• 37th for debt service as a share of tax revenue — 9.5 percent;

• 36th for top marginal corporate income tax rate of 8.5 percent;

• 35th for portion of inaccessible or rough roads;

• 32nd for cost of doing business;

• 30th for CNBC Business Competitiveness Overall Ranking.

New Hampshire is under-investing in its infrastructure and workforce pipeline, while increasing costs on young families and youth, the report said.It recommends the state make a commitment to being competitive, investing in people, focusing on education, workforce development systems, housing and tax policies. And, that it also commit to continuously improve infrastructure and reduce health care, energy, transportation and other business costs.It also called for the state to reduce the 8.5 percent corporate tax to below the national average of 6 percent, review old and obsolete regulations; support innovation, embrace tort reform, “right to work” legislation, strong intellectual property rights and be open to new forms of work arrangements and compensation.The report said low taxes and a business-friendly regulatory environment are still necessary, but that is not enough.

The state needs to invest in the “Es” and the “Is,” according to Stephen Jordan of IO Sustainability, who presented the report. Those include education, entrepreneurship and energy security, plus investment, infrastructure and innovation.

Guinta welcomed the nearly six dozen business people to the session and introduced Jordan and possible GOP presidential contender Carly Fiorina, former CEO of Hewlett-Packard Corp.

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