The NH economy is about to recover. Things are looking up. So one has to wonder why the Legislature and Governor would pass a budget so full of laws that send a negative message about the Granite State. Rather than get the truly awful details of the bills, I want to look at the impact from a comms perspective.
Enter the pandemic, and the terrible challenge it brought to people living in big cities. Why, they asked, would we live in a cramped city, work from home, but be unable to go out and do anything? Folks from Boston, New York and Southern New England looked to Northern New England as a place that handled the COVID pandemic well, found balance in life, and offered a safer, slower, and more open style of life. Look around NH today and see New York, Mass, and all kinds of out of state license plates - and the real estate market has heated to a point that houses sell in a matter of days. Not only are these newcomers fleeing the new challenges of urban life, they are buying into an image in New Hampshire where people are free to live their lives, and there's a spirit of community. These folks bring investment, business, kids, jobs and a new perspective. And, as our job market struggles to fill openings, that is a good thing. And, they are a diverse lot, used to cities with diverse populations.
So, rather than pass laws to build the economy, invest in schools, infrastructure, lower medical costs, and transportation - they craft a budget full of true hateful bills, laced with racist rhetoric, and insulting to women and families.
It is fair to say that the vast majority of Granite Staters and the folks who are pondering moving to NH do not agree with the backward-minded agenda - and rather than encouraging investment, jobs and businesses, these extremist laws will scare people away, and make them to question why come to visit, invest or live in our state. Worse, the very same Governor who vetoed a record number of bills in the last session - now says he will sign a budget full of some truly ugly bills.
It is vital for elected officials to pursue an agenda that is inclusive, follows the beliefs of the people, and that helps build not only society but the economy. This is not the case in New Hampshire, and the consequences will be felt for many for years to come.