Economic Planning in NH
Although state law requires the New Hampshire Office of Energy and Planning to update a statewide development plan every four years, budget cuts and other challenges prevented the office from completing an update for well over a decade.
In 2013 the New Hampshire Business and Industry Association (BIA) decided to step in and draft its own economic development plan for the state. Click here to read that report.
In 2014 Gov. Hassan signed a bill requiring the Division of Economic Development to develop a rolling two-year economic development strategy, which resulted in the publication of a 2016-2017 Strategic Plan. However, before the division managed to secure funding to hire a consultant to draft a statewide economic strategy, the Legislature passed its 2018-2019 budget, which requires the development of a rolling 10-year economic development strategy and operating plan, starting on December 31, 2018.
The Business and Industry Association plan
The New Hampshire BIA describes itself as "New Hampshire's statewide chamber of commerce and leading business advocate." The association lobbies the state government on behalf of roughly 400 business members.
In 2013 the BIA recognized that there was a vacuum in economic planning for New Hampshire. Concerned that New Hampshire might lose its economic advantage without thoughtful, intentional policy-making, the BIA hired consultants to help draft a strategic plan. The result was a fifty page plan with over 100 specific policy recommendations, including:
- Increase the Research and Development tax credit
- Increase funds for needs-based scholarships
- Continue to direct funds from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) to utilities, not the state Public Utilities Commission
- Make New Hampshire a right-to-work state
- Revise building codes to simplify the conversion to multi-unit workforce housing
The BIA hopes that the state legislature will adopt at least some of the recommendations in the plan, which can be read here.
The Division of Economic Development plan
In December 2015 the New Hampshire Division of Economic Development released a Strategic Plan for 2016-2017. The plan is focused on activity by the division and includes just four goals:
- Focus programs on “New Hampshire’s key industries,” such as complex electronics and metal manufacturing
- “Provide tools that are valuable to local and regional partners,” such as a site selection website
- “Build partnerships that have a meaningful impact on workforce development,” particularly working with employers with a high proportion of workers nearing retirement age
- “Address the need for an economic development strategy for New Hampshire”
The fourth goal requires the division to create a network of planning partners and funding sources to draft a statewide economic development strategy on a regular basis.