Forbes “Best States for Business” Index Shows Why New Hampshire Needs Right-to-Work

Last week Forbes released their annual “Best States for Business” index. Unfortunately, New Hampshire does not do as well as one would expect falling as only the 27th best state for business. There are six sub-indices in the index and the one that New Hampshire scores the worst on is “Regulatory Environment.” From their methodology table:

Regulatory environment includes metrics influenced by the government. We factor in an index from Pollina Corporate Real Estate that measures tax incentives and the economic development efforts of each state. Other metrics include the Tort Liability Index from Pacific Research Foundation, as well as the regulatory component of PRI’s U.S. Economic Freedom Index. Other factors include Moody’s bond rating on the state’s general obligation debt and the transportation infrastructure including air, highway and rail. We also gave credit to those states that are right-to-work states. [emphasis added]

So it’s no surprise that 16 of the 26 states ahead of New Hampshire are all right-to-work states. Therefore, enacting right-to-work would signficantly improves New Hampshire’s ranking in the Forbes “Best States for Business.”

How New Hampshire Poaches Massachusetts Businesses

A fascinating account in today’s Boston Globe about how New Hampshire poaches Massachusetts businesses:

New Hampshire pays Michael Bergeron to be a full-time thief, sending him across the border in an unmarked black sedan to poach Massachusetts companies.

To help keep his missions undercover, the business recruiter even scraped the New Hampshire state seal off his Ford Fusion. Equal parts real estate agent, financial adviser, and deal fixer, Bergeron has lured dozens of Massachusetts companies to the Granite State over the past few years with promises of lower tax bills, cheaper office and industrial space, and fewer regulations.

John Hancock Financial and Liberty Mutual Group are among the high-profile firms that recently moved significant parts of their operations over the state line – partially because of Bergeron’s pitches. And an increasing number of small and midsize firms are considering migrating as a way to reduce costs in uncertain economic times.

“New Hampshire has become an easier place to do business as Massachusetts has become more difficult,’’ said Bergeron, who works as a business development manager for the New Hampshire Department of Resources and Economic Development. “It’s a lower cost to do business here and you still have the availability of the skilled workforce in Massachusetts.’’

His PowerPoint presentations highlight what New Hampshire officials say is Massachusetts’ bad-business reputation. They cite expensive real estate, drawn-out permitting processes, and higher taxes.

There are no official statistics from Massachusetts or New Hampshire on the number of companies that have moved north. But Bergeron estimates that at least 5,000 new jobs have been created over the past five years as a result of Massachusetts businesses moving to his state.

Massachusetts officials and business leaders deny that a mass exodus is underway, although they acknowledge that New Hampshire’s aggressive recruitment tactics can’t be ignored.

NHCEP Recommends Right-to-Work

The New Hampshire Center for Economic Policy (NHCEP) recently issued two reports about the crisis of New Hampshire’s Unfunded Liability, one detailing the deep problem, and a follow-up which recommended solutions.  One of the key recommendations was for New Hampshire to become a Right To Work state.

NHCEP policy experts commented on the current Right To Work legislation:

“It’s very exciting to see New Hampshire on the brink of becoming the first Right To Work state in New England,” noted NHCEP president J. Scott Moody. “Right now, the closest Right To Work state is Virginia.  Given that New Hampshire already has the largest private sector in the country, as well as no sales or income tax, why would any company go anywhere else but New Hampshire?”

“The best part about choosing Right to Work is that it’s a proven policy that any state can do for themselves, and New Hampshire is leading the way in the Northeast,” adds Chief Economist Wendy Warcholik. “This policy will help New Hampshire companies stay competitive and add workers; it makes the state even more attractive for new business to start here and for established companies to move here.  Adopting Right To Work is great news that shows solid long-term thinking by our legislators.”

To read the NHCEP report detailing the state’s growing unfunded liability for retiree pensions and benefits, please click this link:   http://nheconomics.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/NHCEP-Liberty-in-Economics-Volume-1-Issue-1-New-Hampshire-Pension-Crisis-021711.pdf

To read the follow-up recommendations to solve this fiscal problem, including Right To Work, please click this link:    http://nheconomics.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/NHCEP-Liberty-in-Economics-Volume-1-Issue-2-New-Hampshire-Pension-Solutions-031511.pdf

Mr. J. Scott Moody and Dr. Wendy Warcholik are available for press interviews, on-air appearances and in-person presentations of this research.  If you have any questions or would like to arrange a meeting, please contact Martin Sheehan, the Director of Communications via e-mail at martinsheehan@nheconomics.org or by calling 207-650-7335.