Accountable USA - New Hampshire

New Hampshire does not spend a great deal on economic development subsidy programs, claiming that its low tax rates create a superior business climate. A study by the Vermont Peace & Justice Center comparing business and employment growth in the neighboring states counters that argument.

This is not to say that New Hampshire never offers subsidy deals to specific companies. In 2006 officials in Hooksett gave in to pressure from the Cabela’s outdoor sporting goods retail chain and agreed to provide TIF-financed infrastructure improvements worth $14 million, but the project eventually collapsed (see below).  In 2008 Fraser Paper got a $1 million Community Development Block Grant towards a biomass energy facility (see below).

Two of the four programs we looked at have online recipient disclosure: the Job Training Fund and the Community Development Investment Program. The Economic Revitalization Zone Tax Credit and the Research and Development Tax Credit keep taxpayers in the dark.

Key Subsidy Programs

Subsidy Program Recent Annual
Cost
Online Recipient
Disclosure
Recipient Disclosure
Score
Job-Creation/
Job-Quality Score**
Monitoring/
Enforcement Score***

Community Development Investment Program

a 75 percent tax reduction for companies donating funds or property to economic development or housing projects that serve a "community benefit"

$1.6 million (FY 2012)
0/100
70/100
65/100

Economic Revitalization Zone Tax Credits

a variety of tax credits for companies locating in designated areas

$166,000 (FY 2012)
0/100
50/100
48/100

Job Training Fund

cash-grants of up to 50 percent of training costs

$897,000 (2013)
21/100
13/100
39/100

Research and Development Credit

credits against the business enterprise tax linked to R&D expenditures; repealed in 1995 after controversy and reinstated in 2007

$216,000 (FY 2012)
0/100
10/100
28/100

* The score is derived from the Good Jobs First report Show Us the Subsidized Jobs (January 2014).

** The score is derived from the Good Jobs First report Money for Something (December 2011).

*** The score is derived from the Good Jobs First report Money-Back Guarantees for Taxpayers (January 2012).

Major Subsidy Deals

Cabela’s (2006)

New Hampshire is not known for multi-million-dollar subsidy deals, but in 2006 officials in Hooksett gave in to Cabela’s, the outdoor sporting goods chain. Cabela’s wanted the town, located between Concord and Manchester, to create a tax increment financing district (diverting property tax revenue) to finance $14 million in infrastructure improvements to the site as well as $4 million for a pseudo-museum inside a 120,000-square-foot store. After a Cabela’s spokesperson said the company would drop the project without the TIF, Hooksett residents voted by a wide margin in favor of the plan. Cabela’s, nonetheless, dragged its feet. There was speculation that the company soured on the project after the town asked it to guarantee the TIF bond. In 2007 a developer got involved and proposed a new financing arrangement that reduced the TIF bond issue to $2 million, but Cabela’s kept postponing the project and eventually withdrew. (Key sources)

Fraser Papers (2008)

In June 2008 the New Hampshire Community Development Finance Authority approved a $1 million Community Development Block Grant to help Fraser Papers pay for the installation of a wood-fired biomass burner at its mill in Gorham. In December 2009 the Canada-based company announced plans to sell the mill in Gorham and its other specialty paper operations as part of a bankruptcy restructuring. There were several aborted deals before the plant was purchased in 2011 by private equity firm Patriarch Partners.  (Key sources)

Walmart in New Hampshire

  • Good Jobs First found no instances of Wal-Mart subsidies in New Hampshire, but given the absence of comprehensive centralized data, it is still possible that deals have quietly occurred.
  • At least 4 Wal-Mart locations in New Hampshire have challenged their property tax assessment, recouping about $511,000.
  • Wal-Mart was found to have more workers than any other employer in the state relying on publicly-funded health insurance. This shows how taxpayers end up subsidizing Wal-Mart’s policy of providing low wages and inadequate benefits.

For more information, see the New Hampshire page of Wal-Mart Subsidy Watch.