Tuesday, August 02, 2011

NH Budget Cuts Causing Job Losses

When last we heard about the right to work law in NH, the governor had vetoed it, and the Speaker of the NH House was unable to get enough of a majority to override the veto.

Speaker O'Brien is trying a new tactic. He recently sent out a "Dear Colleagues" letter to House members. In this letter he uses the standard talking points about how RTW states are more attractive to employers, so these states are seeing greater job growth. The Speaker seems to be taking some liberties with actual fact. From the NH Business Review:

In his "Dear Colleagues" letter, he holds out the equally false hope that the German automaker Audi, which is said to be looking to build a plant in the U.S., would actually consider building in New Hampshire, (except, of course, for the unfortunate fact that the state doesn't have a RTW law).

Sounds great -- just pass the law, and a thousand Audi jobs will come.

The problem with that claim can be explained a little more succinctly: Carmakers don't build factories in little states in the upper right hand corner of countries with essentially zero rail service and most suppliers hundreds, if not thousands, of miles away. RTW or not.

It's true. NH has almost no rail service, and limited highway options. We're also lagging far behind in telecommunications infrastructure. Apparently none of that has any bearing. Jobs will magically appear the moment NH becomes an RTW state.

While we're on the subject of the NH legislature, the budget that was just passed is already beginning to have an impact on employment in our state. It's just not the kind of impact that the majority party promised when they were running for office, promising a laser like focus on job creation. From the Eagle Tribune:

The fallout from the state's budget cuts has hit New Hampshire hospitals, prompting two to start laying off employees and others to consider their options.

Elliot Health System announced Tuesday it would lay off 182 employees, slash workers' benefits and end one of its programs. It operates Elliot Hospital in Manchester and several other health care facilities in Southern New Hampshire, including Elliot Medical Center at Londonderry.

Meanwhile, Southern New Hampshire Medical Center in Nashua is laying off about 100 employees, 6 percent of its staff, spokeswoman Judith Bennett said yesterday.

There are more. From the Nashua Telegraph:

Less than a week after Southern New Hampshire Medical Center announced 100 layoffs, administrators at St. Joseph Hospital revealed today plans to close two subsidiary companies, Rockingham Regional Ambulance, Inc. and Granite State Mediquip, Inc., which could affect more than 10 percent of the hospital’s workforce.


St. Joseph, which employs about 1,500 full-time workers, joined Southern New Hampshire Medical Center and eight other hospitals last week in filing a lawsuit against state officials over their plan to use Medicare reimbursements to balance the state budget.

Together, the two companies employ 174 workers, most of whom will not be re-assigned within the hospital, according to Melissa Sears, St. Joseph’s vice president of strategy and business development.

In less than a month after the budget was passed, 450 jobs have been lost. In this economy, in a small state, that is devastating.

Speaker O'Brien tried to suggest that these layoffs were in the works before the budget cuts.From WMUR:

House Speaker Bill O'Brien said he is sympathetic to the hospital's funding crunch, but he stands by the budget.
"Clearly, we don't want to see any employees laid off in any private business," he said. "Whether or not this was planned before or after the budget came into effect, time will tell. But certainly, we think this budget is going to return jobs to New Hampshire."

Indeed. Just wait till Audi builds that plant in NH.

cross-posted at MainSt/workingamerica.org


DissedBelief said...

The Speakers comments are indicative of an individual who doesn't have the facts, doesn't care, and is spouting out verbage to convince his constituents (or any other fool who'll listen) of his ridiculous created nonsense. We now know why a slang term for this party was created. They behave like thugs and their un-patriotic, greedy and coveting behavior leaves them naked. I keep repeating myself because it applies exactly here. Rethugs do not know how to create jobs, how to engage creatively, how to think creatively. Warmongering is the extent of their grey cells.

BadTux said...

Oh come on now. Those jobs will come if we just wish hard enough upon the Free Market Fairy's magic wand. Though I must say, what the Free Market Fairy's wand has been doing lately hasn't felt an awful lot like magic, and has felt a lot more like a telephone pole up the bunghole, yo.

Republicans. Magical thinkin' ain't for children anymore, in today's world we got the GOP.

- Badtux the Rudely Snarky Penguin