NASHUA BULLETIN                            January 26, 2015


Welcome to the Chamber's weekly legislative newsletter, The Advocate!  With the start of the new year comes the start of NH's state legislative session.  For those of you who have been active with our Chamber for a while, you already know to expect this legislative newsletter in your inbox each week. It provides a recap of what happened in Concord each week, and previews what is coming up in the following week that pertains to various business interests. We hope you find this weekly publication informative, and a great way to stay attuned to what is happening in Concord that impacts southern NH's business community!


Offense, Not Defense: Proposals to Reduce Business Taxes (SB 1 and SB 2)

As the numerical designations of these two bills would show, these initiatives are top priority in the eyes of the Senate leadership this year.  SB 1 reduces (or might we say "deflates"?) the Business Profits Tax to 8% by 2018; SB2 reduces the Business Profits Tax to .675 by 2018.


You may recall from reading The Telegraph's story last week that covered our Chamber's Legislative Symposium showed that the state's business climate is not exactly what you would call rosy (read a recap of our Legislative Symposium here). As Charlie Arlinghaus of The Josiah Bartlett Center told the Symposium attendees, we need to face up to the fact that "it is no longer 1984 and we are not Texas" (job growth has been over 11% in Texas in the past few years; in New Hampshire, it has been less than 1%). Charlie, for one, has been recommending that a reduction in business taxes is one of the most significant ways to get the economy moving. Prime Sponsor Senator Jeb Bradley pointed out that we are ranked #48 among the states as far as our corporate tax is concerned.


On the other side of the coin, however, is the obvious concern that a reduction in the BET or BPT will mean a reduction in revenue to the State at a time when there are many demands on that revenue. Jeff McLynch of the New Hampshire Fiscal Policy Institute said that in his view it will be impossible to meet the challenges in education and other areas if there is a reduction in BPT and BET revenues. The Governor also has made it clear that she has some strong concerns because of the revenue issue.


The sponsors of these bills, though, seem quite confident that the bills will be revenue neutral because the reductions would reduce revenues at a rate that is at or below a 3% growth in business taxes each year, an amount that seems realistic to assume can be achieved. So if SB1 and SB 2 work as intended, they will be an important statement that the state is attempting to really be open for businesses and jobs. The Chamber supports these bills as an important component of an overall strategy that New Hampshire can no longer rest on its laurels. As we have been saying, it is time for us to get the defense off the field, and start playing offense.


Rail Transit Authority (SB 63)

While on the subject of legislation designed to jump-start the New Hampshire economic revival, the first rail-related bills this year came up before the Senate Transportation Committee last week. The Committee held a hearing on SB 63, legislation sponsored by Nashua's own Senator Bette Lasky. This bill changes the Board of Directors from a body with 28 members to an entity that is comprised of a more workable number of seven members. A statewide perspective on rail would still be preserved by creating a new Advisory Board to the Board of Directors, the former now to include many of the members who originally served on the 28-member version of the Board.


Chamber President Chris Williams traveled to Concord to register the Chamber's support for the bill.  As he told the Committee: "Restructuring of the Rail Authority's membership would allow for much more efficient communications and operations within the authority itself, and will also provide New Hampshire a more effective means for working with federal officials and officials from Massachusetts."  From the Chamber's perspective, the bill streamlines the governing structure of the authority and ensures that all stakeholders still have a voice in its operations.


Thanks to Senator Lasky for putting this bill forward, and to Nashua Representatives Pam Brown, Alan Cohen and Mike O'Brien for serving as co-sponsors.


On a related note, the Chamber is also tracking SB 88, another bill sponsored by Senator Lasky, to establish a committee to examine public/private partnerships on intermodal transportation. This one has already come out of the Transportation Committee with a unanimous vote recommending passage, so it will be one of the first bills out of the station when the Senate meets next week.  


Sponsored by
Devine Millimet

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Greater Nashua Chamber of Commerce | (603) 881-8333 |
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