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Jarvis Says N.H. Businesses Need State Tax Incentives

Peter Biello/ NHPR

All this week New Hampshire Public Radio is speaking with candidates for governor. Today we’re hearing from Libertarian Jilletta Jarvis. On Morning Edition, she spoke with NHPR’s Rick Ganley about health care policy. She joined All Things Considered host Peter Biello to discuss economic policy.

So let's start with business taxes. Some say that because the state lowered business taxes that's contributed positively to New Hampshire's economy. What do you think? Should business taxes be further lowered? Should they stay where they are? Should they go up a little bit? What do you think? 

I like the fact that we've lowered them and that they're going to continue to lower throughout the next several years due to the bill that was passed in 2017. I would also like to see a new program that I've proposed for the small businesses in New Hampshire, for new entrepreneurs who are starting a business. We have what I'm calling a five year tax ramp-up period where in your first year as a new business, a new entrepreneur, you are paying no taxes on your business profits. And then the second year you'd pay one quarter because we pay quarterly for business profit, and continue in that vein until you're at your fifth year where you'd pay your full tax liability. The state would not be losing money on this because these businesses did not exist previous. It would give these small businesses a chance to actually become successful and to grow into their business, to give them a chance to start looking for customers to build that base. 

The governor has said recently that the state, "has more money than it knows what to do with." He cited a $150 million surplus. Is there anything that you would spend that money on as governor to give the economy a boost?

I would like to spend some of it on bringing down our unfunded liability for our state employee retirement plan. We currently have a $5.1 billion deficit in that area. So whenever our government tells us that we have a surplus, that bothers me because, not truly. We have a deficit in the billions in our retirement plans that we have made a contract, we've made a promise that we are going to pay these people this amount of money and then we can't hold to the promise because the contracts that we made were bad.

Do you believe that will have a broader economic effect on New Hampshire’s economy?

I think it will because when you have people and they're all getting to the point of retirement and we're paying out to them, eventually it won't be sustainable. We will not be able to cover those costs. We're going to have to pull from every other area in order to do it which means that those surpluses will be completely gone.

Let's talk about wage growth a little bit because some have said that, yes, there are more jobs to be had out there, but they're not necessarily high paying jobs. What would you do as governor to increase the availability of higher paying jobs in the state?

Credit Dan Tuohy / NHPR
New Hampshire State House.

One of the ways that we can do that is another tax incentive for high tech jobs because those are the ones that pay more, and a tax break for film industry jobs. When Georgia did that they brought in billions of dollars a year for people who wanted to come in and use their old villages to make movies. We have amazing scenery here. So, if a film crew wants to come in and make a movie using the film background of New Hampshire, that's something we should support. Another industry that we could use in New Hampshire is by legalizing hemp which is an environmental godsend that we are currently keeping away.

Where do you stand on the minimum wage? Should New Hampshire have a minimum wage above the federal minimum?

No, I don't agree with minimum wages. We have seen companies increase their minimum wage voluntarily because of the demand for an increase in minimum wage. I think that's really the way to go because then they increase their minimum wage when they're able to sustain those employees instead of forcing employers who can't sustain that. I would rather see that people who are earning the minimum amount that an employer will be able to give keep their jobs than have a few people laid off so that other people can have a higher minimum wage. 

The lack of availability of affordable housing is still making it hard for young people to buy homes and get established here. What role can the state play in making housing more affordable?

The state can play the role of fixing education funding because it's the taxes in an area that scare people into not allowing more lower income housing in their towns. If we were able to lower our property taxes by fixing our education funding then more people might be willing to allow the zoning changes to allow multi-family homes in their communities. That would help our new home owners are our new renters and our elderly who are on fixed incomes now.  

Peter Biello is the host of All Things Considered and Writers on a New England Stage at New Hampshire Public Radio. He has served as a producer/announcer/host of Weekend Edition Saturday at Vermont Public Radio and as a reporter/host of Morning Edition at WHQR in Wilmington, North Carolina.

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