CONCORD, NH – Dr. Lisa K. Shapiro, chief economist for Gallagher, Callahan & Gartrell, recently spoke to New Hampshire legislators and business leaders about the state’s tax structure. Shapiro and other invited speakers participated in a two-day informational session on New Hampshire’s tax revenue structure, held by the House Ways & Means Committee on October 21st and 22nd.
Shapiro emphasized the importance of looking at New Hampshire’s overall tax burden, not just individual taxes, when considering impacts on the state’s competitiveness, economy, and demographics. She pointed to the significant decline in the performance indicators for New Hampshire’s innovation economy that were presented by Professor Ross Gittell, and stated “That is the most troubling set of statistics that I’ve seen all day, and what we watch as economists, because that has been our source of growth — our innovativeness — and we’re losing that edge.”
Shapiro also disagreed with the idea of raising business taxes. In discussing the two main taxes on businesses, the business profits tax (BPT) and the business enterprise tax (BET), Shapiro explained, “That is just a nonstarter to look at increasing taxes, especially in a recession. It just makes absolutely no sense to take more money out of the economy, as difficult as it is on the spending side, to take it from businesses.”
In addition, Shapiro cautioned that New Hampshire is not going to be able to grow its way out of its budget challenges purely through an economic recovery. “There is no way that we cannot look at changing the way we deliver services in government … and bringing changes to make those more efficient.” Shapiro explained that there are likely significant opportunities to restructure and be smarter in the way the state delivers services. “That’s not going to be the whole solution, but we really have to put some more effort into it. That has started and I think it’s going to continue.”
A download of the transcript of Dr. Shapiro’s remarks is available via gcglaw.com, and audio of the presentation is available on the state web site here.
Dr. Shapiro analyzes economic and industry trends, and provides strategic advice to businesses and institutions. For more than 15 years, Dr. Shapiro has worked on complex economic and financial projects in public and private settings. She holds a Ph.D. in economics from Johns Hopkins University.
Gallagher, Callahan & Gartrell P.C. is a multidisciplinary law firm located in Concord, New Hampshire.