Real effort to keep young people will cost NH

A RESPONSE BY JAMES VAYO

In their latest issue (and with their sweet new redesign) The NH Business Review has an article discussing NH’s efforts to keep Young Professionals in state after college. You can Read the Article Here. Below you’ll find a response by iUGO Steering Committee member James Vayo. Do you agree with James? Disagree? We’d love to hear your thoughts on the social medias!

The concern is that our state is aging, but who is really concerned about that? Our senior population? On mass, they are probably more concerned with their own morbidity… Young people? On mass, they are likely more concerned about their career potential than the specific location where that career will happen.

Our state is largely invested in the tourism-to-retirement model of growth. Attracting people to make New Hampshire their home for their sunset years. For municipalities this makes sense. After all, senior residents immigrating generally have money to do things like buy single family homes which support the tax base without adding school age children to the school system (considered a major tax burden). These tactics to cater to the priorities of Baby Boomers is supported by the investments our state is willing to make. For example, the state’s Department of Resources and Economic Development aka DRED (an unfortunate acronym) uses almost all of its annual budget to promote and improve tourism efforts in New Hampshire’s North and Lakes Regions…. The message is simple, New Hampshire is a great place to visit, we will get back to you on locating your business in state later. The State House recently voted to take all of the taxes collected from electricity rate payers for greenhouse gas reduction programs and apply them to a shortfall in the state’s transportation budget. How did we end up with a $50+ million dollar deficit in the transportation budget? Because voting for a raise in the gas taxes is too untenable for elected officials especially if they wish to be re-elected.

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On the surface, these seem like bad policy decisions, they certainly do not reflect truthful taxation. But dig a little deeper and there is a realization that every decision made on the state and municipal level is reinforced by the priorities of the majority of VOTERS. Unfortunately, efficient government and linear taxation (I.E. gas taxes paying for roadway projects) are not the priority for elected officials or the people who put them in office. Votes are the primary driver for how those elected to office make decisions. With that knowledge, it is simple to anticipate how the college system could be funded or how commuter rail could be introduced to the Manchester-Nashua corridor. It takes a majority of VOTERS who are inclined to put someone in office who reflects their priorities. With all the wacky bills and efforts coming out of Concord these days, I get the sense that the old guard of politicians is unaware of the shifts in markets and national demographics. They may also be unaware of the impending change of leadership from Baby Boomers to Millennials. It’s hard to tell what will happen now and 2016 but there is no doubt that the voters will decide, will you be represented?

Didn’t read the article? Want to now? I thought so. Click here.