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Viewpoint

The key is extending Revitalization Zones

There are a number of data points by which economists can track and predict business and economic growth. As the State Senate Ways and Means chairman, one area I like to focus on is the revenues the state collects from various taxes and fees. By looking closely at these collections, policymakers can judge whether tourists are visiting the state, if businesses are growing and creating new jobs, and generally how our economy is faring.

Through the first six months of the fiscal year, I am happy to report that state revenues are on track. This is good news for our budget, which is balanced based on these revenues, and also suggests estimates of slight economic growth are about accurate. As during the budget process, I continue to believe our state’s economy will improve at a rate slightly better than 2 percent in the coming year. This mirrors a number of national economic predictions and is good news for job seekers, but it also means we must continue to be cautious when it comes to our economy.

New Hampshire currently offers three tax credit programs designed to encourage business activity in various employment sectors or geographic regions of the state. Last year, the Senate passed a bill of mine to double and make permanent one of these, the Research and Development, or R&D, tax credit, which fosters high-tech investments in New Hampshire. As we look ahead to next year, legislation to extend the Economic Revitalization Zone, or ERZ, Tax Credit will be among the first bills we consider. This legislation will encourage continued business investment and job growth in designated ERZs throughout the state, a number of which can be found in the Monadnock region.

Through both the R&D and ERZ credits, the Legislature is extending an existing program that has worked for state employers, thereby providing the stability businesses crave. Throughout the 2014 session it will be important that we continue to ensure New Hampshire remains a stable place to do business, in terms of both taxation and regulation, in order to encourage growth in the New Year.

Senator Bob Odell (R-Newport) represents Antrim, Bennington and Francestown, among other towns.

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