SNHPC Legislative Outreach focused discussion on state’s economy

The Southern New Hampshire Planning Commission held its legislative outreach in December, at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College.

The event provided legislators with an opportunity to meet with state officials, SNHPC members and staff, as well as hear a presentation on the New Hampshire economy.

Daniel Barrick, deputy director, of the NH Center for Public Policy Studies, spoke on the key indicators of the state’s economic climate.

He noted New Hampshire’s strong economy of recent decades was built upon a highly educated workforce, high rates of educated workers moving to the state, high median per-capita income, increased productivity and a resilient economy. Barrick said that throughout the last decade, the in-migration that was an important part of the state’s workforce, and economic resilience has slowed.

In recent years, in-migration has become out-migration. He also stated productivity is falling and the state’s population is aging. Barrick then discussed the New Hampshire Economic Dashboard, which uses primary, national data to compare and rank New Hampshire against neighboring states and states with which New Hampshire competes for business growth and attraction.

Executive Councilor Chris Pappas stressed that regional planning agencies are vital to economic development in their areas, addressing issues important to businesses and municipalities: labor force, growth management and regional marketing. He stated that the regional planning commissions also provide technical assistance to their communities in developing plans and regulations that promote economic development without sacrificing environmental quality.

NH Department of Transportation Commissioner Chris Clement spoke about New Hampshire’s extensive system of roads, highways and bridges, which provide the state’s residents, visitors and businesses with a high level of mobility. He noted this transportation system forms the backbone supporting the Granite State’s economy.

Clement stated that if the state wants to achieve further economic growth, it will need to maintain and modernize its roads, highways and bridges by improving the physical condition of its transportation network and enhancing the system’s ability to provide efficient and reliable mobility for motorists and businesses. He reported that New Hampshire faces a significant funding shortfall in the cost to maintain its roads, highways and bridges in their current condition, and a significant backlog in the cost of repairing all deficient roads and bridges.

The Department of Environmental Services Commissioner Thomas Burack spoke about how DES provides business owners and operators with access to staff who can assist them in understanding and complying with environmental regulations and permits.

After the remarks, there was discussion about how SNHPC can work together with legislators and area agencies to address current needs and issues regarding economic development and job creation in our region, while maintaining high quality of life.

SNHPC works closely with elected officials, planning boards, economic development commissions, as well business and industries through chambers of commerce. It encourage its 14 municipalities to look beyond borders, foster relationships and cooperation among communities, collectively promote the region as a great place to live, work and play, and advocate sustainable job creation and economic development.