Business Extra: Sanborn on economy

For the Ledger-Transcript
Tuesday, January 17, 2017 9:54AM

Globally, I see real positive things happening in our state and yet, I also know there are things the Legislature can accomplish, to improve the economic outlook for everyone, as we know the most important thing we can do is to ensure everyone has a great job.

However, with that being said, I do have concerns and am keeping a watchful eye on some legislative considerations before the House and Senate, as well as potential executive actions, to ensure we find that balance between economic advancement and protecting so much that is important to our communities.

Reports of increased economic activity, low unemployment (acknowledging the Monadnock Region may be a bit of a laggard compared to other portions of the state) and increasing wages are very positive for our state and from 100,000 feet may sound like things are really good, and in that regard, they are.

However, we still have several real issues, which need to be addressed, including exceptionally high costs of energy, health care, regulations, taxes and a shortage of future workers.

These issues are real and not easily solved, yet we must address them if we are to move our economy forward. The complex issues include how do we address the aging energy infrastructure without impeding our environment and equally as important not allowing government or companies to take people’s personal property against their will, which as most know, is a foundational issue for me.

We need to continue investing in things like increasing net metering to allow citizens to produce their own power and encourage less overall energy usage to lower demand on our aging infrastructure. There are several bills before the Legislature to do just that.

Additionally, I have submitted a bill to allow for the sale of health insurance across state lines to bring in more competition and lower prices and I continue to work on recreating lower cost, catastrophic healthcare policies to encourage young people or those with less means to insure they have that safety net if needed. Disappointingly, our government continues to enforce big company protectionism to maintain monopolies here and I will keep fighting against that action.

Excessive regulation and our high taxes is another area where the Legislature must act and do so quickly, as we continue to see other states advance their competitive positions and New Hampshire must be in the race and stay in the race, or we will continue to see our existing companies leaving NH, or expanding in other states as we have seen recently. We must reverse that trend.

Most of us know our educational system in NH and specifically in the region is in real flux. While we have amazing teachers and administrators working diligently to provide the best education we can for our kiddos, falling enrollment, overly regressive regulations and exceptionally high costs of delivery are barriers we have to address.

We must recognize these issues will force our educational delivery system to change, which if everyone comes to the table with their experience and willingness to solve these issues, great things can happen.

While I have some apprehension on what the future of education will look like, I know we can and will create a better launching pad for our future business leaders and workers.

Finally, we cannot ignore the potential changes that may come from Washington, D.C. with this new Administration. First and foremost, we need to get past the wailing and gnashing of teeth and everyone needs to put down their arms and grab a chair at the table as to be part of the solution. We need to show we are willing to work together, with a common goal of making New Hampshire a better place.

If Washington begins to “block grant” money to the state, which means them sending the same money back to us, but without the traditional strings attached so we can create real local solutions to our local issues, we need to have programs and plans in place. This is going to be a monumental task and will only be successful if we work in a joint fashion, with everyone at the same table, pulling the rope in the same direction.

Our opportunities to really advance our state and take a fresh look at how we solve problems is going to be front and center for the next two years and I am grateful for you all giving me the opportunity to represent you in crafting our future together.

Sen. Andy Sanborn is a Republican member of the New Hampshire Senate, representing the 9th district.