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Another View -- Andrew Hemingway: NH needs creative solutions for long-term growth

June 05. 2014 11:02PM

A SUPER-SIZED Las Vegas style casino. An increase in the gas tax. A growth of Obamacare through Medicaid Expansion. The attempt by this administration to find quick fix solutions to our state budgetary problems go on and on, but the reality is that not one of these will actually fix either our budget or New Hampshire’s real economic issues in the long term.

It is time we start looking at our budget process in a different way. Putting a little bandage on a giant wound doesn’t heal it; it just hides the wound for a moment. That has been our state’s approach to our budget woes the past 10 years. If we want to stop hiding the wound and actually heal it, we need long term economic stimulus plans that improve business growth and create a more stable revenue stream.

I recently spoke at the Seacoast Republican’s GOP After Hours event in Hampton, where I announced just one of the many policies I have proposed to achieve the long-term growth we need. There I announced my proposal for a quarterly rooms and meals tax holiday. The plan calls for one weekend per quarter free of the rooms and meals tax across New Hampshire. Each weekend would be determined to be the lowest-revenue weekend, according to an average of the previous three years, as determined by the state.

The goal? Let’s get new business here. Customers are incentivized to come once, and when they like it, they return, repeatedly injecting money into our economy and perhaps visiting our state parks and campgrounds, or our liquor stores. If we want more people injecting money into our small businesses here, let’s give them a reason to.

There is a reason Macy’s gives you a coupon. Macy’s doesn’t want to just give something away out of the goodness of its heart, it wants to get you in the store that initial time and get you to come back. Let’s get creative and do the same thing. Let’s look at these successful business models and apply them to a successful economic model to our state. Let’s look at the long-term economic benefits of drawing a new tourism flow and while we’re at it, of helping New Hampshire families get a little break four times a year in this tough economy.

Will this be the complete answer to the major budgetary issues New Hampshire is facing now and down the road? Not by itself, no. But it is a new way to approach things. The new way is long-term economic planning. When one is planning his or her retirement, does that person say, “I’d like to retire next year, where can I get money?” No, that person plans long and hard for what will come years down the road. That’s responsible financial planning, and it is something New Hampshire has not looked at doing for a decade.

We need several long-term, innovative solutions and ideas to secure New Hampshire’s fiscal future. A tax holiday to stimulate business, plans to incentivize companies to expand to New Hampshire, and plans to keep our young people, in whom we have invested millions to educate, here in New Hampshire’s job force.

The time for the status quo approach is over. The time for innovation is here.

Andrew Hemingway of Bristol is running for the Republican nomination for governor.

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