By Colin Froment | The Center Square
New Hampshire held onto its top ranking for business friendliness for the fourth consecutive year in CNBC’s “America’s Top States for Business in 2019,” earning high marks in other areas, as well.
Compared to the rest of the nation, New Hampshire is ranked 25th overall top state for business. It ranked fifth in quality of life and eighth in workforce. While the quality of life ranking was retained from 2018’s list, the state made a huge stride this year in workforce after leaping from 19th place last year.
The Business and Industry Association (BIA) Of New Hampshire’s Senior Vice President of Public Policy David Juvet was not entirely surprised by CNBC’s overall ranking of the state upon reading the study that was published in July.
“I believe it accurately reflects how New Hampshire’s workforce is having a higher percentage of college educated individuals, [and] quality of life the state frequently scores very well on in a variety of different studies,” Juvet said to Center Square.
Juvet listed “incremental” business proposals that aim to maintain New Hampshire’s steady business climate. This includes the proposed workforce House of Appeals and a recent bill that was passed that permits a volunteer program, where private sector companies can provide a level of compensation to new employees in order to decrease their student debt.
The study also highlighted areas of improvement for New Hampshire’s business industries. The state was poorly ranked in infrastructure, cost of doing business, access to capital, and cost of living. Each area was given a grade of D-, D+, D, and D, respectively.
Juvet has a possible explanation as to why those marks are so low.
“The cost of electricity is 50-60 percent higher than what the rest of the country experiences year-round,” Juvet said. “Business taxes in New Hampshire are higher than most other states around the country. Labor costs in the Northeast in general, but also in New Hampshire are far higher than many other parts of the country.”
Juvet stated the BIA is focused on finding solutions to fix the areas that need the most improvement.
Juvet was shocked, however, at how infrastructure was given a grade of C-. The BIA was always under the impression that the state has a solid infrastructure.
“[The rank] seems contrary to when I’m talking to most employers around the state,” Juvet said. “They seem to indicate the economy in NH is doing very well. Our business tax revenues are coming in much higher than forecast, which would indicate the economy is very strong.”