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Colin Van Ostern Files For Governor Of NH, Focused On Building A Stronger Economy

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“I’m looking forward to working incredibly hard to be a Governor that wakes up every single day focused on building a stronger economy where everyone has a chance to succeed, not just those at the top,” said Van Ostern.

CONCORD, N.H. – Today, Democrat Colin Van Ostern filed his candidacy for Governor of New Hampshire with the Secretary of State. Walking through the State House, flanked by a hallway full of grassroots supporters, Colin and his family formally submitted paperwork to seek the Democratic nomination for Governor.

Afterward, Colin addressed more than 75 activists that showed up to support him and then fielded questions from reporters. Below is a transcript of some his remarks to reporters:

“I look at this race like a hiring process like any other and most of my time here in New Hampshire has been in the private sector. I’ve been on both sides of the hiring table, many times and when you hire someone for a job you want to see both what they have to say but also what they’ve done.

In this race, I’m very proud to have been part of the large team effort to expand Medicaid so that now 50,000 people have health care coverage that didn’t have it when I was elected to the Council. I’ve been a leader in restoring Planned Parenthood funding three out of the last four years – though it’s shut off right now – and whether or not we get that funding restored, depends on whether or not we win this race. I’ve been a leader in building support for solar energy projects across this state – in Plymouth, in Peterborough, Durham and Portsmouth – and I’ve had a chance to work at some great employers – places like Stonyfield and Southern New Hampshire University, which I think is the largest fastest growing employer in the state right now and I think we need more employers like those. I think that when voters look at my record and that of the other candidates running, they’ll see one candidate who’s been part of the progress we’re making.”

Asked about whether he’ll appeal to Democratic primary voters, Colin said:

“I’m proud to have been endorsed by the majority of Bernie Sanders’ steering committee in the state and the majority of the grassroots leadership team of state Representatives that endorsed Hillary. In fact, more than 80 state Representatives in New Hampshire have now endorsed me in this race. The mayors of most of our largest cities – like Concord, Keene, Nashua and Rochester, not just Democrats but Republicans, too. I’m proud to bring a broad, diverse, grassroots coalition to this race and I think that’s what we’ll need in order to win.”

“Voters will judge me based on what I’ve fought for and achieved in office – Medicaid expansion, solar energy, passenger rail, restoring Planned Parenthood funding – these are things that have affected thousands of lives here in New Hampshire. Ultimately, talk is cheap in politics, and a lot depends not on what you say, but the actions you take and the progress you’ve made and that’s how I want to be judged.”

Asked whether Colin sees himself as the most progressive candidate in the race, he said:

“I think that’s up to voters to choose, not politicians to label themselves. I’m proud that Democracy for America – the largest grassroots organization in the state – the bold progressives at Progressive Change Campaign Committee have looked at the field and chosen to endorse me as well. I think it’s because they care less about what the candidates say but what they’ve done and three of the four years I served on the Executive Council.

If you think New Hampshire is moving in the right direction – and I do – and if you want to keep it moving in the right direction, than I hope you’ll consider hiring a candidate who’s been the one in the field who’s been part of making that progress.”

Democrats file for New Hampshire State Senate

An impressive roster of 25 Democrats filed for their candidacies at the Secretary of State’s Office

CONCORD – Twenty-five Democratic State Senate candidates filed their candidacies with the Secretary of State this afternoon.

“This year’s exceptionally strong roster of candidates has us all very optimistic about this November’s elections,” said Senator Jeff Woodburn, the Senate’s Democratic Leader. “Our candidates represent all Granite Staters. They are small business owners, educators, community advocates, and highly-accomplished legislators who want to get things done for Granite Staters. Increased excitement on the Democratic side of the aisle, combined with several Republican retirements this cycle, points to common-sense returning to Concord come November.”

Eight candidates are current Senators running for re-election, four are current State Representatives, and one is a former Senator. The balance of the field is made up of several more prominent and respected citizens who have made an impact on their communities over the years. There are two expected primaries in the field; in District 9, Jeanne Dietsch and Lee Nyquist will seek the nomination, and in District 10, Jay Kahn and Rep. Kris Roberts will seek the nomination. All look forward to serving their friends and neighbors as their Senators in Concord.

“With Donald Trump’s takeover of the Republican Party and the Republican Senate’s inability to effectively tackle the problems facing New Hampshire, voters are increasingly aligning with the middle class-oriented, practical approach to governance that Democrats will provide,” added Raymond Buckley, Chair of the New Hampshire Democratic Party. “This Republican majority has dragged its feet on additional funding to end the opioid crisis, rejected federal funds for expanding rail infrastructure for southern New Hampshire, and can’t even get itself together to ban the barbaric practice of conversion therapy for minors. Our Senate candidates stand with the people of New Hampshire in saying that enough is enough; we’re ready to make progress.”

The candidates who filed today include:

●      District 1: Sen. Jeff Woodburn of Whitefield is the current Democratic leader in the Senate and is seeking his third term.

●      District 2: Charlie Chandler is a retired attorney, selectman, and former State Representative who lives in Warren.

●      District 3: John White is a retired Boston Globe reporter. He is very active in his hometown of Wolfeboro.

●      District 4: Sen. David Watters is a former two-term member of the House and a professor at UNH for over 30 years. He and his wife Jan Alberghene live in Dover.

●      District 5: Rep. Martha Hennessey is finishing her second year in the New Hampshire House where she is a dedicated member of the Children and Family Law Committee. She and her husband Steve Severson live in Hanover.

●      District 6: Joe Casey is a longtime advocate for working families and a community leader in Rochester.

●      District 7: Sen. Andrew Hosmer is seeking his third term in the Senate. He runs a family-owned automotive business and lives in Laconia with his wife Donna and their four children.

●      District 8: John Garvey is the John is a Navy veteran, attorney, mediator, author, and educator. John is currently a nationally recognized professor at UNH School of Law, where he directs the Daniel Webster Scholar Honors Program.

●      District 9: Jeanne Dietsch is a successful entrepreneur who has run several start-up tech companies, and lives with her husband Bill in Peterborough.

●      District 9: Lee Nyquist is an attorney and Town Moderator in New Boston, where he has lived with his wife Leslie for 25 years.

●      District 10: Jay Kahn is a Keene councilor-at-large and and former vice president for finance and planning at Keene State College.

●      District 10: Rep. Kris Roberts has served six terms in the New Hampshire House representing Keene, and is a former Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps.

●      District 11: Roger Tilton is an investment manager from Milford and the father of two daughters.

●      District 12: Former Sen. Peggy Gilmour served as Senator from District 12 from 2009-2011 and again from 2013-2015. She has lived in Hollis for over 40 years, where she worked in community-based health care and established the first hospice in southern New Hampshire.

●      District 13: Sen. Bette Lasky has served the people of Nashua in the Senate for three terms, and previously for five terms in the New Hampshire House where she was Assistant Majority Leader. She lives in Nashua with her husband Elliot.

●      District 14: Tammy Siekmann is a longtime community leader in Londonderry, and was a coach for the U.S. Olympic Gymnastics team.

●      District 15: Sen. Dan Feltes is an attorney who is finishing his first term in the Senate. He lives in Concord with his wife Erin.

●      District 16: Scott McGilvray is an experienced educator, who taught social studies for over 20 years while coaching football at Manchester Memorial High School. Currently serving as President of New Hampshire’s NEA, he lives in Manchester with his wife Patricia.

●      District 17: Nancy Fraher of Chichester, is a retired public school teacher. She is a former chair of the Chichester and SAU 53 School Boards.

●      District 18: Sen. Donna Soucy is serving her second term in the Senate, and is a former Manchester School Board member, Alderman, and State Representative.

●      District 19: Kristi St. Laurent is serving her fourth term as Chair of the Windham Democratic Committee and serves on the Windham Planning Board.

●      District 20: Sen. Lou D’Allesandro has represented District 20 in the Senate since first being elected in 1998. He is a former State Representative and Executive Councilor, and lives in Manchester with his wife Pat.

●      District 21: Sen. Martha Fuller Clark is serving her fifth term in the Senate, and previously served six terms in the House. She and her husband Geoff live in Portsmouth.

●      District 23: Rep. Alexis Simpson is a member of the New Hampshire House where she serves on the Environment and Agriculture Committee, and a former pastor. She, her husband, and their two sons live in Exeter.

●      District 24: Rep. Tom Sherman is a two-term member of the New Hampshire House and distinguished gastroenterologist. Sherman recently sat on the opioid epidemic joint task force and brokered the bipartisan medicaid expansion compromise plan. He lives in Rye with his wife and three sons.

Arnie Alpert: The Fight For $15 Comes To Concord

Fight For 15 NH

By Arnie Alpert on the InZane Times

The movement of fast-food workers demanding wages of at least $15 an hour made a spirited visit to Concord, New Hampshire this afternoon.

About 35 workers and allies chanted and marched down Loudon Road from HazenP5050187 Drive to East Side Drive and back again on the other side.  The route took us past Dunkin Donuts, McDonalds, KFC, Burger King, Wendy’s, and other establishments that currently depend on low-wage workers. 

The Granite State actually abolished its minimum wage in 2011, which means that the base pay for most workers is $7.25 an hour, the federal minimum.  The base pay for tipped workers is even less.  Attempts every year since then to restore the minimum wage and raise it have been unsuccessful, largely due to effective lobbying by trade associations of businesses that pay low wages.

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“You can’t survive on $7.25.  Live free or die!” was one of the chants.

Others included “Hey McDonalds, you can’t hide, we can see your greedy side.”  P5050127(The names of other businesses can be substituted.) 

The marchers went inside at KFC, where they chanted for several minutes before leaving voluntarily.  At McDonalds we were locked out.  Several members of the Concord Police Department met up with us at Burger King, where they explained the rules regarding trespass and disorderly conduct to labor organizers who no doubt were already familiar with the law.   

P5050142 (2)Today’s demonstration was organized by SEIU Local 1984, the Granite State Organizing Project, and the United Valley Interfaith Project.

GSOP and UVIP have been holding monthly “Fight for $15” protests in Concord, Manchester, Nashua,P5050098 and West Lebanon, but typically with smaller groups and a less confrontational approach.  The monthly actions generally take place on the 15th of the month.   

For more information, contact

GSOP at 603-668-8250 orhttp://granitestateorganizing.org/

UVIP at 603-443-3682 or http://www.unitedvalleyinterfaithproject.org

More photos: 

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P5050094 P5050162

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NHDP Announces the Completion of the NH Delegation to the 2016 Democratic National Convention

Concord, N.H. — Today, the New Hampshire Democratic Party announced the completion of the 41 member New Hampshire Delegation to the 2016 Democratic National Convention. These members were elected on Saturday, April 16th in proportion to the Presidential candidates vote totals in our First in the Nation Primary. Additionally, NHDP Chairman Raymond Buckley was elected Delegation Chair.

The delegates selected on Saturday are below. You can view the entire New Hampshire delegation to the 2016 Democratic National Convention HERE

3 Party Leader & Elected Official (PLEO) Delegates

  • Sanders PLEO Delegate Renny Cushing – Hampton
  • Sanders PLEO Delegate Ronna Hamelin – Newmarket
  • Clinton PLEO Delegate Richard Komi – Manchester

5 At-Large Delegates

  • Sanders At-Large Delegate Kurt Ehrenburg – Rye
  • Clinton At-Large Delegate JoAnn Fenton – Keene
  • Sanders At-Large Delegate Mark MacKenzie – Manchester
  • Clinton At-Large Delegate Ryan Richman – Manchester
  • Sanders At-Large Delegate Andru Volinksy – Concord

2 At-Large Alternate Delegates

  • Clinton At-Large Alternate Delegate Laurie McCray – Portsmouth
  • Sanders At-Large Alternate Delegate Rich Gulla – Hillsborough

Standing Committee Appointments

  • Rules Committee – Germano Martins – Hooksett
  • Platform Committee – Judy Reardon – Manchester
  • Credentials Committee – Tracy Yeung – Manchester

Convention Pages

  • Grace Hoffer Gittel – Portsmouth
  • Ethan Moorhouse – Manchester
  • Sarah Craig – Manchester
  • Dennis Ruprecht – North Haverhill

Granite State Rumblings: Reauthorizing Medicaid Expansion And Making Ends Meet In NH

I could not have said this any better. Thank you Jeff McLynch for this excellent piece in Sunday’s Concord Monitor.

My Turn: Much further to climb on journey to economic stability

By Jeff McLynch

For the Monitor

If you’ve ever been out for hike, you know it can happen. You’ve been trudging along for a few hours and the top of the mountain finally seems within reach. Yet, after climbing farther, you realize it was only a false summit hiding the true peak; you’ve actually still got a long way to go to reach your goal.

When it comes to ensuring greater economic security, New Hampshire has a false summit problem, too. At 9.2 percent, New Hampshire’s poverty rate was the lowest in the nation in 2014, the most recent year for which such data is available. However, because of flaws in the way the federal government measures poverty, that relatively positive news hides just how much further New Hampshire must go before everyone in the Granite State can truly make ends meet.

Consider that, in 2014, the income level at which a single person was no longer considered poor in our country was just over $12,300. For a family of four, the corresponding threshold was a little more than $24,000. All it takes is a moment’s reflection on the expenses we incur in our own lives each day to appreciate just how low those thresholds are – and by extension, how inadequate federal poverty statistics are for understanding what it really takes for Granite State families just to get by.

Analysts at the Economic Policy Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank, have devised an alternative measure of need that provides a more comprehensive assessment of the incomes families need to be able to secure life’s necessities. Referred to as a “basic family budget,” this measure seeks to remedy the two principal shortcomings of the federal poverty threshold. It reflects not only the actual costs families encounter in purchasing basics like food, clothing, shelter, health care and child care, but also geographic variations in those costs.

EPI’s findings for New Hampshire are revealing. Under its basic family budget calculations, a single person living in the Concord area needs an income of close to $31,600 per year to be able to afford rent, groceries and other essentials. That’s more than 2½ times the income at which the same person would be considered poor. The gap is even larger for families. The basic family budget for a two-parent, two-child family in the Concord area amounts to about $67,932 – almost three times the official poverty level.

EPI’s research also underscores how much more expensive it can be to live in the Granite State than in other places across the country. For example, EPI devised basic family budgets for 618 distinct communities across the country. For a family of three, only about one out every five of those communities had a higher cost of living than in Concord and other parts of the state.

In its new paper, “Taking the measure of need in the Granite State,” (see Growing Up Granite below), the New Hampshire Fiscal Policy Institute explores EPI’s basic family budget findings for four key family types in various regions of the state and builds upon the data to try to understand whether jobs here in New Hampshire allow families to meet their basic needs.

To be sure, wages and salaries can be higher here in New Hampshire than elsewhere, but it’s likely that a significant share of the jobs available in the state leave workers unable to achieve a modest standard of living. Based on EPI’s research, as well as data from the Occupational Employment Statistics survey, NHFPI estimates that about one-third of all jobs in New Hampshire pay less than what a single person would need to reach his or her basic family budget; as many as two-thirds of all jobs fail to pay enough for a single parent with one child to do so. Indeed, the typical wage in some of the most common jobs in the state – whether retail sales positions, waiters and waitresses, janitors, or cashiers – simply is insufficient to enable workers to secure even just the basics.

Unfortunately, a single solution to the challenges facing working Granite Staters does not exist. Rather, in the years ahead, the task before policymakers will be to identify and to implement a combination of reforms to help families make ends meet, both by bolstering incomes and by bringing the costs of basic necessities within closer reach. That kind of comprehensive strategy should aim to help people acquire the skills and education they need to find and to keep a job, remove barriers to full participation in the workforce, and ensure that everyone receives a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work.

The journey toward economic security is an endless climb for far too many Granite Staters. They work tirelessly each day, but remain unable to meet their most immediate needs, much less achieve their longer-term financial goals – saving for retirement, sending their kids to college or purchasing their own home. New Hampshire’s future will depend upon our ability to clear the path and ensure that economic stability remains achievable and within reach.

(Jeff McLynch is Executive Director of the New Hampshire Fiscal Policy Institute in Concord.)

GROWING UP GRANITE

Taking the Measure of Need in the Granite State
NH Fiscal Policy Institute

New Hampshire’s poverty rate of 9.2 percent was the lowest in the nation in 2014.  While that distinction should inspire some pride, it should not engender complacency, for, as a means of assessing economic security, official federal poverty statistics often come up short.  Indeed, economists and other analysts have long understood that the federal poverty threshold does not accurately reflect the level of income required to secure basic necessities, particularly in a state like New Hampshire, where the cost of living tends to be higher than in many other parts of the country.

Research by the Economic Policy Institute has produced a more robust measure of need, referred to as a “Basic Family Budget,” that more fully captures the cost of acquiring essential goods and services, from housing and health care to clothing and child care.  In some instances, depending upon a family’s size and place of residence, their Basic Family Budget is three times as great as the federal poverty threshold, underscoring that many Granite State families, while not poor by official statistics, still struggle each day to make ends meet.

This Issue Brief describes the federal poverty threshold, examines some of its shortcomings, and explains the notion of using the Basic Family Budget calculation as an alternative measure of need.  It also attempts to assess the degree to which various jobs in New Hampshire pay wages that are high enough to allow Granite State families to meet their basic needs.

Official Federal Measure Shows Poverty Low but Rising in New Hampshire

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In 2014, 118,000 New Hampshire residents lived in families with incomes below the official federal poverty threshold, according to estimates from the US Census Bureau.[i]  This number amounts to 9.2 percent of New Hampshire’s population, the lowest share of any state’s population to be considered poor.  However, the issue of Granite Staters not earning enough for basic needs has steadily become more pervasive, with the number of New Hampshire residents living in material deprivation in 2014 almost twice what it was in 2000.  Consequently, as the graph below depicts, the share of Granite Staters living in poverty remains considerably above the 5.3 percent rate that held at the turn of the century.

Each year the Census Bureau publishes figures by family type that are known as poverty thresholds.  Essentially, if a family’s income is less than the dollar amount of the threshold for its household type, all the members of that household are considered to be living in poverty.  Below is a subset of the official federal poverty thresholds for 2014.

When the federal poverty threshold was created in the 1960s, research on household consumption patterns revealed that a family of three or more spent about one-third of its budget on food.  Consequently, the official poverty thresholds were created by multiplying the cost of a minimum food diet by three.  The only adjustments to those original figures that have been made over time are to account for the general increase in all consumer prices, better known as inflation.

Shortcomings of the Federal Poverty Threshold

Given this information, the federal poverty thresholds suggest that a single person who earns $1,050 per month does not live in poverty.  The same holds for a married couple with one child who earns $1,600 per month.  gsrmarch16_2Nevertheless, given the costs people face today, these numbers instinctively feel inadequate, an intuition that is borne out when one examines existing data on household expenditures.  According to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, a modest efficiency apartment in New Hampshire for a single person has a price tag of around $750 per month.[ii]  For a family of three, a two-bedroom apartment costs nearly $1,100 per month.  Based on these costs, shelter would constitute two-thirds of a poverty-level budget for each household, leaving little room to purchase food, clothing, health care, and transportation.

These examples demonstrate that the federal poverty threshold may not accurately capture the degree of economic insecurity individuals and families face. Supporting this conclusion, the Census Bureau concedes that the poverty thresholds are “…a statistical yardstick, not a complete description of what people need to live.”[iii]  One weakness of the federal poverty threshold is the assumption that households spend one-third of their budgets on food; current data show that number is closer to 12 to 13 percent.[iv]  Additionally, the federal poverty threshold does not account for geographic differences in housing and other costs, treating disparate places like New York City and Jackson, Mississippi equivalently.  Lastly, the official measure defines “family resources” only as cash income, such as wages, Social Security benefits, and investment income.  It does not add to a family’s resources non-cash governmental benefits (for example, SNAP or housing subsidies) or tax credits like the Earned Income Tax Credit.  It also does not subtract from a family’s resources such necessary expenses as out-of-pocket medical expenditures or commuting costs.

In response to these shortcomings, Congress requested that the National Academy of Sciences convene a panel to examine the federal poverty threshold in greater depth.  That panel produced a report in 1995 with a number of recommendations, which eventually led the Census Bureau to create what is called the supplemental poverty measure.[v]  This method did not replace the official measure, but rather exists to provide alternative figures for comparison purposes.  Unlike the official poverty threshold, the supplemental measure uses current data on household expenditures to approximate what it takes to purchase basic necessities, such as food, clothing, shelter, and utilities.  Moreover, the supplemental poverty measure accounts for geographic differences in housing costs, meaning that its dollar thresholds vary from state to state, whereas the official poverty thresholds are identical for the 48 contiguous states.  Finally, the supplemental measure adds non-cash governmental benefits and federal tax credits to a household’s income and subtracts out necessary expenses in order to capture the resources available to a household.

As of 2014, for twenty-six states, the poverty rate under the supplemental measure was lower than the official rate, meaning that the official measure is overstating poverty.[vi]  In eleven states, no statistically significant difference was found between the two measures.  In thirteen states, including New Hampshire, the supplemental measure found more people living in poverty.  Looking more closely at this final pool of states, two patterns emerge.  First, most of these places, such as California, Alaska, Hawaii, and the Northeast region, have above-average housing costs, which is not captured by the official poverty measure.  Second, the populations of the Northeast and Florida are older than the rest of the country.  This is germane because the supplemental measure deducts insurance premiums and out-of-pocket medical expenses (such as co-pays for prescriptions or doctor’s visits) from available financial resources.  Because this category of expenses tends to be significant for older people, subtracting them results in an increase in measured poverty for those 65 years old and over.[vii]

Basic Family Budgets: A Better Measure of Need

While the supplemental poverty measure is a meaningful improvement over the official method, it has its own limitations.  First, with the exception of housing, the supplemental measure does not reflect geographic variability in its estimates of costs that households encounter every day.  Second, the supplemental measure only provides information “at the national level or within large subpopulations,” meaning that it does not capture differences within states.[viii]  Finally, child care costs are not adequately measured.  Rather than surveying child care providers to approximate market-based rates, the supplemental measure uses information from working parents on what they spend on child care.  This distinction is important since many low-income families who are unable to afford market rates have to rely on alternatives for care, such as a relative or neighbor.

Given the supplemental measure’s constraints, researchers have attempted to construct more robust standards of need that reflect what it takes to achieve economic security and independence.  One such effort is the Family Budget Calculator compiled by analysts at the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), a nonpartisan think-tank based in Washington, DC.[ix]  Their objective is to estimate the “income necessary for families to secure an adequate but modest living.”  To achieve this, they identify the most basic expenses households incur: housing, food, transportation, health care, child care (if applicable), taxes, and other necessities (such as clothing).  From there, they price each expense as locally as possible for ten different family types, ranging from one adult with no children to two adults with four children.[x] These Basic Family Budget calculations are done for sub-state regions within all 50 states.

Driven mostly by geographic definitions from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, under EPI’s analysis, New Hampshire is divided into eight geographic areas.  Each is shown below along with a sample of towns, cities, and counties within each area.[xi]

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In the following table, annual budgets for four family types are shown for each area of New Hampshire, along with the official poverty thresholds as a percentage of EPI’s Basic Family Budget.  What is evident is that the federal poverty threshold is far beneath the income necessary for any family to attain an adequate living standard in the Granite State.

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A closer examination of EPI’s research reveals that health care, rent, and child care (for families with children) are the largest costs households face, rather than food, as assumed by the official poverty thresholds.  For instance, the figure below shows a Basic Family Budget for a two adult, one child family in Manchester, the state’s largest city.  As it illustrates, health care costs constitute 14 percent of their budget, rent comprises 20 percent, and child care makes up 16 percent.

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In addition to varying by family type, the costs of many basic necessities vary by geography, and, as noted above, those costs are often higher in the northeastern part of the United States.  The table below provides a helpful depiction of such variation.  Again, EPI estimates that a two adult, one child family in Greater Manchester needs an annual income of nearly $63,000 to secure a modest standard of living, a figure that ranks in the top fifth of the 618 family budget areas analyzed by EPI.  In other words, for a two adult, one child family, Greater Manchester is a more expensive place to live than 80 percent of US communities, outpacing such cities as Little Rock and St. Louis.  Greater Manchester’s comparatively high ranking is primarily due to higher costs for housing and child care.  More specifically, at $12,624 per year, housing costs for a two adult, one child family in Greater Manchester are among the top quarter of areas examined by EPI.  Likewise, annual child care costs of $9,826 for a two adult, one child family in Greater Manchester are roughly 10 percent higher than child care costs in Pittsburgh, which represented the 75th percentile of such costs in EPI’s analysis.

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Many Jobs in New Hampshire Leave Workers Unable to Achieve an Adequate Standard of Living

While estimates of the number and share of New Hampshire households with incomes below the federal poverty threshold are produced by the Census Bureau each year, comparable figures for the degree to which Granite Staters are unable to meet their Basic Family Budgets are not yet available.  Nevertheless, NHFPI has attempted, based on state occupational data, to approximate how many jobs in New Hampshire pay wages that are high enough to allow Granite State families to meet their Basic Family Budget.

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As explained in greater detail in the methodology section following the conclusion of this Issue Brief, NHFPI examined data from the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) survey on the distribution of wages paid in each of 603 different occupations in New Hampshire.  It then compared those wages to Basic Family Budgets for four key family types, and, using several simplifying assumptions, arrived at an estimate of the number of jobs in New Hampshire that pay above or below those budgets.  Accordingly, as summarized in the table above, NHFPI finds that:

  • Roughly 64 percent of New Hampshire jobs pay enough for a single, childless adult to attain an adequate standard of living, as measured by EPI’s Basic Family Budget.
  • Only about 30 percent of New Hampshire jobs pay enough for a single parent with one child to attain an adequate standard of living.
  • Approximately 64 percent of New Hampshire jobs pay enough for two working adults with one child to attain an adequate standard of living.
  • Roughly 56 percent of New Hampshire jobs pay enough for two working adults with two children to attain an adequate standard of living.

A review of the overall distribution of wages among all New Hampshire occupations provides a rough corroboration of these findings.  In particular, according to the OES survey, 25 percent of all occupations pay $24,230 or less, 50 percent pay $36,420 or less, and 75 percent pay $56,800 or less.  In turn, Basic Family Budgets for a single parent with one child range from about $51,600 to $61,600 – that is, ranging from just below to slightly above the 75th percentile wage.  In comparison, NHFPI estimates that nearly 70 percent of occupations do not pay enough for a single parent with one child to make ends meet.  Similarly, Basic Family Budgets for a single, childless adult range from $28,900 to $37,700, a span squarely above the 25th percentile wage but generally below the 50th percentile mark, largely consistent with NHFPI’s finding that about 36 percent of occupations pay less than the level needed for a single person to achieve an adequate standard of living.

To illustrate further the general finding that many jobs in New Hampshire do not pay enough for families and individuals to achieve an adequate standard of living, the table below compares the Basic Family Budget for the Strafford County-Great Bay Region for four main family types with the median wage for the 20 most common occupations in New Hampshire.  Check marks (P) indicate scenarios in which a particular median wage equals or exceeds the Basic Family Budget for that family type.  So, for instance, retail salespersons constitute the most numerous occupation in New Hampshire; the most recent data show that the median annual wage for such a job is $22,080.[xii]  That wage, in turn, is insufficient to meet the Basic Family Budget for each of the four main family types in the Strafford County-Great Bay Region.  Alternatively, there are 12,390 registered nurses in New Hampshire.  Their median annual wage is $63,820, a level of pay that exceeds those four Basic Family Budgets.

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Such comparisons should not, of course, be taken as definitive.  Median wages simply convey the “typical” wage for that occupation; there can be significant variation in wages even within a single occupation.  Consequently, some workers in an occupation with a comparatively low median wage may still be able to reach their Basic Family Budget.  In addition, the table above is obviously not a comprehensive catalogue of the types of employment available in New Hampshire.  High wage and low wage occupations alike are left out of this listing, along with the prospect of out-of-state employment.  Nevertheless, such comparisons do help to highlight the mismatch between the wages many workers earn and the costs they face for putting food on the table and a roof over their heads.

Conclusion

Whether in the private sector or in the public sphere, statistics can have great value, but they can also fail to depict completely the situations or trends they are intended to illustrate.  New Hampshire’s comparatively low poverty rate is an excellent case in point, as it stands at odds with the economic anxiety many Granite State families continue to experience.  A more robust assessment of basic needs, as embodied in the Economic Policy Institute’s Basic Family Budget calculation, offers a clearer understanding of how much further working families must go in the Granite State just to get by.  In the years ahead, the task before policymakers will be to identify and to implement a combination of reforms to help people make ends meet, both by bolstering incomes and by bringing the costs of basic necessities within closer reach.

For Methodology and Sources click HERE

New Hampshire Democrats Unveil Sununu/Trump Campaign Sign

Trump Sununu Campaign SignBecause Healthcare Is For Losers

Concord, N.H. –Today, Democrats led by New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair Ray Buckley unveiled a new campaign sign for the Trump/Sununu ticket, highlighting their shared far-right policies of defunding Planned Parenthood, opposing Medicaid expansion and denying climate change. 

Ray PodiumSpeaking at the Legislative Office Building, Buckley, Senator David Pierce (D-Lebanon) and Representative Katherine Rogers (D-Concord) denounced the Trump/Sununu’s extreme ideology, saying it was way out-of-touch with mainstream voters and that it would surely lead Republicans up and down the ticket to disaster in November. 

Polls have shown both Democratic candidates for president leading Donald Trump by large margins in New Hampshire and nationally, spelling certain disaster for Granite State Republicans. Sununu’s father, former Governor John H. Sununu, has said a Trump ticket would doom New Hampshire Republicans and is a leader in the anti-Trump Our Principles Super PAC. Even Republican Governor’s Association officials are admitting Trump will imperil their chances in New Hampshire. 

Below are select remarks from the press conference:

“The fact is that Donald Trump’s out of touch views are shared by Chris Sununu and the whole Republican gubernatorial field,” said NHDP Chair Ray Buckley. “Some Repiublicans are lining up to denounce Trump because they know how devasting his selection would be for down ballot Republicans. But not Chris Sununu, who said he’ll absolutely support whoever the Republican nominuee is, even if it is Trump. I guess we’re not surprisied since their policies line up so well.”

Rogers Speaking

Rep. Katherine Rogers

“On women’s rights to make their own decisions and have access to health care, Trump has stated, in no uncertain terms, that “Planned Parenthood should absolutely be de-funded,’” said Rep. Katherine Rogers. “Not only is Chris is absolutely on board with that, but he actually did it when he cast the deciding vote to strip Planned Parenthood’s funding here in New Hampshire. What’s even worse, is that in the same meeting he admitted than in his council district Planned Parenthood is the only facility that offers care like low-cost birth control, STD testing and cancer screenings.” 

“On affordable health care for Granite Staters, Trump wants to repeal the Medicaid expansion, vowing to defund the Affordable Care Act on day one,” said Senator David Pierce. “Chris Sununu has already put this into practice. At every turn, Sununu voted to block Medicaid expansion in New Hampshire. As recently as last month, bragged on the radio about fighting to ‘make sure it didn’t even come to the table.’ His actions, voting multiple times to block Medicaid expansion speak louder that he ever will.”

Pierce concluded, “We’ve been talking about the Sununu/Trump ticket today, but the reality is that any of the gubernatorial candidates could have their name on that sign. In fact, it was reported just yesterday that Ted Gatsas would absolutely support Trump were he to be the nominee. The truth is, when it comes to healthcare, women’s rights, and laying the foundation for a sustainable future, it doesn’t matter who it is—they’re all in lock step. They’ll pursue their far-right ideology and extreme views with no regard for the views and well being of everyday Granite Staters.”

Shawn O’Connor Begins To Build His Campaign On Strong Progressive Values

Shawn O’Connor  Claims To Be “The Pragmatic Progressive New Hampshire Needs.”

shawn o'connor

Shawn O’Connor

Painting himself as a true outsider and riding the economic, populist movement of Senator Bernie Sanders, businessman Shawn O’Connor is laying the ground work for very competitive race for NH’s First Congressional District.

This week, O’Connor released a new web video, “Shawn O’Connor – The Pragmatic Progressive New Hampshire Needs,” highlighting his progressive agenda if elected.

Like Senator Sanders, who O’Connor endorsed in early January, is pushing a strong and progressive economic agenda founded on raising the minimum wage, taking on Wall Street, and strengthening the rights of workers.

“I am proud to endorse Bernie Sanders because he will steadfastly fight each day to raise the incomes of over half of America’s workers by passing a $15 minimum wage, a true liveable wage,” said O’Connor. “And I am endorsing Senator Sanders because only he can take on Wall Street and break up the banks that are once again too big to fail and threaten the world economy.” 

In September of 2015, O’Connor signed a binding pledge, which he has denoted as “The People’s Pledge,” to accept only the minimum wage salary of $15,080 for his service in Congress until this legislation is enacted. A Citizens’ Commission will distribute the remaining $158,920 of Shawn’s salary to New Hampshire charities. O’Connor also pledged to pay all his campaign staff $15 or more per hour.

“Shawn is exactly the action-oriented, ethical leader for which the people of the First Congressional District have been clamoring,” said State Senator David Watters of Dover.

In the video, Sue Chretien, a retired Manchester teacher, says “I don’t think that Washington is working.”  O’Connor vows to be the change that Granite Staters want and need in Washington to help rebuild the middle class.

Check out his new video below.

 

The DNC Sanctions Additional Democratic Debate In New Hampshire

Debbie Wasserman Schultz and NHDP Chair Buckley
on the Addition of a Democratic Debate in New Hampshire
 

Today, the DNC released the addition of a Democratic presidential debate between the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary.

DNC Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz issued the following statement:

“I’m pleased to share exciting news on behalf of our two candidates. As with our previous debates, town halls and forums, voters will have several more opportunities to see them share their vision for how to build on 7 years of progress and keep America moving forward. Our Democratic candidates have asked the DNC to sanction and manage additional debates in our primary schedule, including one this week in New Hampshire ahead of the First in the Nation primary, in conjunction with the New Hampshire Democratic Party. Having our candidates in agreement on their desire to add debates to our sanctioned schedule, the DNC has sanctioned an MSNBC debate on February 4th at the University of New Hampshire in Durham.

“The candidates have also agreed to participate in three newly scheduled DNC sanctioned debates to be held in addition to the February 11th PBS News Hour, and March 9th Univision debates already planned. The first of these new debates is confirmed to take place in Flint, Michigan on March 6th, with the remaining two taking place in April and May with times and locations to be determined. We will continue to work closely with both campaigns as we finalize the remaining details.

“Our debates have set viewership records because of our candidates’ ideas, energy, and the strength of their vision to build on the progress we’ve made over the last seven years. We look forward to seeing them continuing to share Democrats’ vision for the country.”

The following is a statement from New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair Ray Buckley: 

“We’re thrilled to be a co-host of the New Hampshire Democratic Presidential Debate this week. It’s been an exciting campaign here in the Granite State already and we couldn’t be more excited to have another chance to host the candidates before our First-in-the-Nation primary.

“I’m pleased that the two campaigns, NBC, and the party were able to reach this agreement. I want to thank DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz for her work brokering this compromise. There are many who deserve credit for this agreement and the New Hampshire Democratic Party is pleased to have had a role in the effort that will benefit our candidates, our party, and, most of all, the voters of New Hampshire and across the country. We’re excited to help co-host this debate because we know that whoever our Democratic nominee is will win in November along with Democrats up and down the ballot.”

“We have incredible Democratic candidates running for president and Wednesday’s CNN town hall along with Thursday’s scheduled MSNBC Debate and Friday’s historic NHDP McIntyre-Shaheen 100 Club Celebration broadcast live on NH1 News and C-Span just days before the New Hampshire Primary provide three great opportunities for voters in New Hampshire and around the country to hear our candidates’ plans to build on the progress we’ve made over the last seven years.”

7 Out 10 NH Minimum Wage Workers Are Women

7 in 10 Granite State Minimum Wage Workers Are Women, But Kelly Ayotte Sided With Koch Brothers & Voted Against Giving Them A Raise

Concord, N.H. – Today, the New Hampshire Democratic Party continues to mark this week’s anniversary of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act by highlighting another way in which Kelly Ayotte sided with the Koch Brothers over the interests of working women in New Hampshire. Nearly 7 of 10 Granite State minimum wage workers are women, but Kelly Ayotte voted against giving them a much-needed raise because the Koch Brothers told her to.

In 2014, the Koch brothers’ Americans for Prosperity urged Senators to vote against a measure to raise the minimum wage to $10.10, and Kelly Ayotte turned her back on her constituents and obliged.

In fact, a recent poll found that 70% of Granite State voters support raising the minimum wage to at least $10 an hour, but on this issue among many others, Kelly Ayotte puts the wishes of her special interest backers before the wishes of the people she was elected to represent.

And she’s not the only one. Every single Republican presidential candidate opposes a minimum wage increase. Marco Rubio called a minimum wage increase a “waste of time,” Chris Christie said he was “tired of hearing” about the issue, and Jeb Bush suggested there should be no federal minimum wage at all.

“On vote after vote, including her opposition to giving hard-working Granite State women and families a raise by modestly increasing the minimum wage, Kelly Ayotte puts the Koch Brothers and special interests ahead of the priorities of her constituents,” said New Hampshire Democratic Party Press Secretary Melissa Miller. “Raising the minimum wage is a widely-supported move that would have a real impact on the economic wellbeing of women across the Granite State, but Kelly Ayotte decided the wishes of the Koch Brothers were more important than these women and their families.”

Background:
Based On An Analysis Of 2014 Data From The Bureau Of Labor Statistics, About 7 In 10 Minimum Wage Workers In New Hampshire Are Women. “Today NWLC released new analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics 2014 data, featuring an interactive map that shows the share of minimum wage workers in each state who are women…In New Hampshire, North Dakota, and Maine, about seven in ten minimum wage workers were women.” [National Women’s Law Center, 5/20/15]

April 30, 2014: Ayotte Voted Against Increasing The Federal Minimum Wage To $10.10.“The U.S. Senate bill would have raised the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour, but it didn’t cross the 60-vote threshold for passage on a vote of 54-42. U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte , a Republican, voted against the bill.” [Concord Monitor, 4/30/14;CQ, 4/30/14; S. 2223, Vote 117, 4/30/14]

April 29, 2014: AFP Urged Senators To Vote Against Increasing The Federal Minimum Wage To $10.10.   “Dear Senators: On behalf of more than two million Americans for Prosperity activists in all 50 states, I write to urge you to vote NO on S. 2223, increasing the minimum wage to from $7.25 to $10.10. This is a misguided policy that will mean fewer jobs in this sluggish economy.” [Americans For Prosperity Scorecard, 4/29/14]

Governor Hassan Announces Job Training Grants for Eight New Hampshire Companies in December

Matching Grants Will Help Train 235 Workers in New Skills 

CONCORD – Continuing her efforts to help New Hampshire workers develop the skills and innovative thinking needed for good jobs in the 21st century economy, Governor Maggie Hassan announced today that eight New Hampshire companies have been awarded job training grants to help them train 235 workers in new skills.

The job training grants total $77,865 and the companies matched the training funds to bring the total amount for training workers to $155,730. 

“I am proud to announce the most recent round of important grants to help prepare workers for success at growing businesses,” Governor Hassan said. “New Hampshire’s Job Training Fund is a valuable and critical resource that has helped thousands of workers develop skills needed for success in the innovation economy. By maintaining our commitment to higher education and job training, we can attract innovative businesses, help existing companies grow, and support the creation of good jobs that will expand middle class opportunity and help keep our economy moving in the right direction.” 

  • Symmetry Medical Manufacturing Inc. of Manchester received a grant of up to $41,204 to train 185 employees in lean fundamentals from the NH Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NHMEP) and in leadership, blue print reading, GD&T and Excel from Manchester Community College (MCC).
  • A grant of $10,958 was awarded to Wire Belt Company of America, Londonderry to train 18 employees in leadership at MCC.
  • Knott’s Land Care LLC of Amherst received a grant of $4,000 for two employees to be trained at Nashua Community College (NCC) in customer service, business and management.
  • Neoscope LLC of Portsmouth will use a grant of $1,848 to send one employee to the RSA Conference for internet security, analytics and privacy training.
  • High Liner Foods of Portsmouth received a grant of $6,125 to train 15 employees in 5S Kaizen and leadership at NHMEP.
  • TestVonics Inc. of Peterborough received a training grant of $5,500 for three employees to join the ISO 9001 Collaborative Program at NHMEP.
  • Extrusion Alternatives, Inc. of Portsmouth received a grant of $5,500 for four employees to participate in the ISO 9001 Collaborative Program at NHMEP.
  • Bigelow and Ashton, PA of Wolfeboro will use a $2,730 grant to train seven employees in the cyber security program development course at Neoscope Inc.

The Job Training Fund has awarded $8,478,760 in grants since October 2007, with employers contributing $11,165,588 for a total of $19,644,348 in new training for 24,900 New Hampshire workers. Companies interested in applying to the Job Training Fund should visit the fund’s web site at www.nhjobtrainingfund.org.

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