When I ran for the New Hampshire Senate, I wanted to bring common-sense business principles to Concord. To me, that means working with both parties to solve problems, being careful with taxpayers' money, and focusing on things people really care about, such as economic growth and job creation, instead of getting caught in tired partisan battles.
After six months on the job, I am happy to report that we have made progress. Real change has come to Concord. I have been happy to see compromise, with legislators from different parties working together, and to be a part of passing meaningful legislation that moves New Hampshire forward.
For example, in this session, I worked with Republicans to modernize New Hampshire's corporate law, making it easier to create businesses and spur job growth. I also partnered with my Republican colleagues to double and make permanent the Research and Development Tax Credit program. With strong bipartisan support, I co-sponsored a bill to protect restaurants and other service-industry enterprises from higher taxes on tipped wages — taxes that they can't afford and which could hurt employment, especially in our tourism-supported industries. I also worked with a Republican colleague to streamline complex regulations by combining several different permits into one, thus saving time and expense for businesses, while keeping all of the same environmental protections in place.
These steps forward which create jobs and make businesses more competitive were possible only because both parties worked together.
To help the Lakes Region, I successfully worked to ensure that boating fees, intended solely for promoting water safety, will not be raided by the Legislature. The tourism that is so important to the economy of our region needs support like this. Again, I was happy to work with both sides to help everyone see the importance of promoting a thriving economy on our lakes.
Perhaps the biggest accomplishment was the two-year budget that Governor Hassan just signed into law. By articulating clear goals, listening to both sides, and compromising, we generated a budget plan that does almost everything the governor set out to do and gives everyone something to be proud of.
This budget is balanced. It creates no new taxes or fees. It keeps tax cuts for businesses. And it spends wisely on high priorities: ending the developmental disability waitlist; increasing support for education; stabilizing funding for community mental heath organizations; restoring the program for children in need of services; and supporting innovation in the private sector.
Does it do everything that everyone wanted? No. But by giving a little bit, both sides achieved the majority of their goals, and most important, the people and businesses of the state will be better off. And that is what compromise is all about.
Clearly, more work lies ahead. We need to find a way to invest more in roads and bridges to keep our state competitive in the global marketplace and lower costs for drivers. We need to leverage Medicaid expansion so 58,000 hardworking, tax-paying Granite Staters are covered, creating 5,100 jobs, and expanding our economy by $2 billion. In all of this we must continue to look for ways to streamline government functions and continue to create an economic environment where New Hampshire businesses can thrive.
I am encouraged by the cooperation and progress that I have seen so far, and I have been glad to help get Concord back to working together on solving problems and moving our state forward again.
(Senator Andrew Hosmer of Laconia is the state senator from District 7, serving the towns of Andover, Belmont, Boscawen, Canterbury, Gilford, Northfield, Salisbury, Webster and the cities of Franklin and Laconia.)