The N.H. House voted down the casino bill last week giving as a reason that it would ruin the "New Hampshire Advantage". This is always brought up during public policy debates. Coined by a former governor of N.H., Steve Merrill (1993-1997), it means different things to different people. Most commonly, it refers to the state's business climate; lack of a sales or income tax; quality of life and a large citizen legislature, which I take it to mean that we here in New Hampshire like to take our time in deciding things!
I have a different take on the N.H. Advantage. We rank second only behind Maryland in the average median household income and second only to New Jersey in property taxes as a percentage of home value. This tells me one thing. We're stuck in a Victorian mind set where we want the tourists to pay all our bills.
In recent studies, the N.H. Advantage begins to dim a bit. Massachusetts added 41,000 jobs last year and Vermont added 3,000. By comparison, N.H. lost 2,000. An even more startling economic indicator is that the population growth is also slowing down. Thanks to the University of New Hampshire's high in-state tuition rate, we are easily one of the top three most expensive states to raise children.
Being a chess player, my next question to those purists who don't want a casino or income tax — what's your next gigantic move?