EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

October 28, 2012

Editorial: Lamontagne will improve New Hampshire’s economy

The Eagle-Tribune

---- — This election, more so than others in recent memory, is about jobs and the economy. That’s true on the state as well as the national level.

The country is mired in the economic doldrums with a recovery that is anemic at best, virtually indistinguishable from a recession. Business is paralyzed by uncertainty, unwilling to make the investment needed to add jobs and expand operations, unable to obtain credit from hyper-wary banks, fearful of what new punitive regulations or imposed costs may be coming from the federal government.

New Hampshire is little different from the rest of the country. The state has been fortunate to see its unemployment rate remain below the national average. But while the country’s rate is trending lower, New Hampshire’s jobless rate is ticking higher, up to 5.7 percent in September 2012 from 5.4 percent in September 2011.

New Hampshire needs a governor who knows the importance of attracting new business investment in the Granite State. It needs a governor who can enact policies that will give businesses the confidence and the means to grow, expand and add jobs.

Ovide Lamontagne is the governor New Hampshire needs.

The Manchester Republican is solidly rooted in conservative economic principles. He understands that oppressive taxation stifles growth and kills jobs.

Lamontagne wants reform of New Hampshire’s two main business taxes: the business profits tax, an 8.5 percent levy on business income; and the business enterprise tax, a 0.75 percent tax on compensation, dividends and interest.

Lamontagne wants to extend tax credits to businesses based on the number of new, full-time employees they add. He wants to lower the state’s business profits tax from 8.5 percent to 8 percent. And he wants to streamline tax rules so that businesses spend less on paperwork and compliance.

Lamontagne says he will make up for any loss in revenue through further spending cuts.

Last year, The Republican-led Legislature slashed state spending 12 percent to produce a $10.2 billion biennial budget. The cuts hit hospitals and the state university system particularly hard. Perhaps the distribution of the budget-cut pain could have been better managed. But the principle was correct. The solution to New Hampshire’s budget woes is lower spending, not higher taxes.

Lamontagne’s opponent, Exeter Democrat Maggie Hassan, sees it differently. She wants to undo the hard work done by the Legislature and increase state spending, particularly for education. Her track record as former Senate majority leader shows her bona fides on increasing spending.

Hassan’s campaign, like other Democratic efforts around the country, has tried to insert a bogus “war on women” theme into the contest. Despite Hassan’s claims to the contrary, Lamontagne does support equal pay for women doing the same work as men. And, unless Lamontagne, who is pro-life, has found a way to have a New Hampshire governor install justices on the U.S. Supreme Court, a woman’s right to an abortion is protected at the federal level.

The real issue hurting women’s lives in 2012 is that they, like men, cannot find jobs. An expanding economy and job growth is the best way to improve prospects for all — men and women alike.

Ovide Lamontagne offers New Hampshire the best opportunity to realize those goals.