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Statement of Executive Director Jeff McLynch on Legislative Briefings on New Hampshire Economy

CONCORD — The New Hampshire Fiscal Policy Institute released the following statement today:

As state lawmakers meet this week to examine the condition of the New Hampshire economy and its ramifications for state revenue, they should remain mindful of the consequences that the current state budget has had for individuals and families across the state.

From the loss of hundreds of jobs at hospitals and medical centers across the state, to greater barriers to access to health care for thousands of Medicaid patients, to ever higher tuition at our universities and community colleges, the budget crafted by the legislature has made New Hampshire a less desirable place to live or to do business, said Executive Director Jeff McLynch.

“Should revenue collections for the fiscal year 2012-2013 biennium fall short of expectations, policymakers should not rely on further spending cuts. Rather, they should take a more balanced approach that seeks to generate additional revenue and forestall further cuts to critical services,” he said.

In particular, he noted mounting evidence that the decision to lower the state’s tobacco tax is likely to result in the loss of millions of dollars in revenue. To date, tobacco tax collections are 6.9 percent – or $7 million – below their anticipated levels for the current fiscal year. Moreover, the number of packs of cigarettes sold in New Hampshire over the past six months has fallen 21 percent from the same period a year ago.

“In light of these trends, policymakers should consider ending the tobacco tax reduction as soon as possible, rather than waiting for the trigger mechanism written into law to repeal it during the summer of 2013,” he said.

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New Data Show Food Insecurity Levels Declining Prior to the COVID-19 Crisis

10 Sep 2020

tree with coins

According to data released on September 9 by the United States Department of Agriculture, food insecurity levels in New Hampshire continued to decline during 2019, prior to the onset of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. The report outlines the trends of reduced food insecurity in the nation and in New Hampshire, declining from the higher levels resulting from the Great Recession of 2007 to 2009. The overall improvements to the state economy through 2019, along with the effectiveness of key nutritional aid programs, did contribute to lower levels of food insecurity, although the benefits of the economic recovery did not reach all Granite Staters in an equal or timely manner. Although food insecurity levels declined through the years preceding 2020, the current crisis facing Granite Staters is not reflected in these 2019 data. The recent economic pressures on many individuals and families with lower incomes in New Hampshire have been severe, and current levels of food insecurity are very likely to be substantially higher.