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July 12, 2013

N.H. leads jobless on 'Pathway to Work'

Hassan signs Pathway to Work

(Continued)

“We’re all trying to get the word out there,” Post said of SCORE, the federal Small Business Administration and other organizations.

Starting a business is challenging, he acknowledged.

“In my experience doing SCORE for over 10 years, with several hundred clients, they all need some counseling, whether they are unemployed or they think they know it all,” Post said.

Entrepreneurs may miss things or not have their priorities right, he said.

He acknowledged unemployed workers will face obstacles.

“Banks are very, very tight with money and these people are very high risk,” Post said.

Pathway to Work easily passed the Senate, 19-5, and House, 183-149.

Most House lawmakers and a majority of senators from Rockingham County opposed the legislation.

Rep. Patrick Bick, R-Salem, said he was troubled by the prospect of someone starting a business while collecting unemployment.

“If a person starts their own business, they shouldn’t be able to collect public money,” Bick said.

Rep. Frank Sapareto, R-Derry, described the bill as “feel-good type of legislation” that did have an expense for the state.

“If I don’t see the balance on the checkbook,” he said, “I’m reluctant to support it.”

Sapareto said lawmakers generally were opposing new spending as the session wound down, while the Republican caucus preferred to deal with the unemployment problem by creating jobs through tax credits to business.

Republican senators wanted assurances people wouldn’t use the program to take advantage of the unemployment system.

Larsen told them people only would get into Pathway to Work by first getting laid off from their jobs.

“I don’t think that’s much of an incentive for most people,” she testified.

Hassan, who as a senator partnered with Larsen in development of the New Hampshire Working Program to help people in the job market, praised this expansion of the state’s effort to aid the unemployed.

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