It is often said that a budget is a statement of priorities, a reflection of the choices that the people – through their elected representatives – make about the amount of public resources they wish to devote to meeting shared goals and the relative importance they assign to each of those goals.
NHFPI aims to illustrate recent budget trends, highlight future challenges, and examine the ways in which the New Hampshire budget is used to educate the state’s children, ensure access to health care, promote public safety, maintain public structures, and achieve other critical public priorities.
To some, taxes are a means to an end, representing the bills that are due for services ranging from the judicial system to environmental protections, or, in Oliver Wendell Holmes’ formulation, “the price we pay for a civilized society.” To others, taxes are a policy end unto themselves, as they offer policymakers another tool to try to employ in efforts to enhance economic security or to promote economic development.
NHFPI seeks to improve public understanding of New Hampshire’s tax system, its role in financing state expenditures, the impact it has on families and individuals at different income levels, and the influence it may or may not have upon personal and business decisions.
When it comes to the economy, many have long believed that “a rising tide lifts all boats,” that economic growth benefits all of the workers and investors who contribute to it. In recent decades, that belief has not held true, as low- and moderate-income families and individuals have not fully shared in the affluence they helped to create. As a result, they have found it harder not only to make ends meet on a daily basis, but to save for their children’s futures or to prepare for their own retirement.
NHFPI endeavors to shed light on trends in wages, poverty, and other economic measures, on their implications for working New Hampshirites, and on public policies designed to foster economic opportunity and prosperity here in the Granite State.
Health policy touches the lives of all Granite Staters. Medicaid alone provides health insurance coverage to 10 percent of the New Hampshire population and constitutes a quarter of the state’s budget; changes to it have the potential to affect thousands of children, seniors, and people with disabilities across the state. Health policy has an enormous impact on the state’s economy too, with health care expenditures expected to represent as much as 24 percent of gross state product within the next 10 years.
NHFPI strives to explain the effects of health policy decisions, both federal and state, upon the New Hampshire budget and New Hampshire residents and to explore changes in policies that could help maintain and improve people’s health, now and into the future.