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Education and Economic Growth

August 22, 2013 Common Cents

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The best way for New Hampshire to foster a productive economy is to invest in a well-educated workforce, according to a new report. Researchers from the Economic Policy Institute’s Economic Analysis and Research Network (EARN) found that productivity growth and high-wages are overwhelmingly found in states with more educated workers.

Between 1979 and 2012, states that grew their share of adults with at least a college degree experienced greater increases in productivity (measured as gross state product per hour worked) and greater increases in median wages, researchers found.

In New Hampshire’s case, a 16 percentage point increase in college attainment levels between 1979 and 2012 is accompanied by an almost 115 percent increase in productivity. Median worker compensation over that time also increased in NH – by about 35 percent.

In contrast, providing tax breaks to businesses does not improve productivity, which was closely linked to growth in wages. Furthermore, tax breaks drain critical resources that otherwise could be invested in education.

Here are some of the main conclusions from the report, “A Well-Educated Workforce is Key to State Prosperity.”

  • Overwhelmingly, high-wage states are states with a well-educated workforce. There is a clear and strong correlation between the educational attainment of a state’s workforce and median wages in the state.
  • States can increase the strength of their economies and their ability to grow and attract high-wage employers by investing in education and increasing the number of well-educed workers.
  • Cutting taxes to capture private investment from other states is a race-to-the-bottom strategy that undermines the ability to invest in education.
  • Providing expanded access to high-quality education will not only expand economic opportunity for residents, but also likely do more to strengthen the overall state economy than anything else a state government can do.

 

 

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Unsettled Business Tax Revenues Push Surplus Upward, Offer Limited Insight for the Future

7 Dec 2018

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The fortunes of State revenues continue to rise and fall with New Hampshire’s two primary business taxes, which provided positive signs for near-term revenue but have not shown these levels are sustainable. While the two business taxes remained healthy, other revenue sources were relatively flat overall, leaving the State with a revenue surplus entirely dependent on the two business taxes. The lack of growth in other revenue sources combined with the uncertainty around business taxes creates an environment in which it will be very difficult to accurately project revenues for the new State Budget biennium.