From the Seacoast's 18-mile stretch of beaches to the crests of the White Mountains, New Hampshire has so much to offer. Throughout the year, visitors and residents enjoy the more than 1,300 pristine lakes and ponds and become captivated by the rich, colonial heritage found in towns and villages across the Granite State.
Along with being known as one of the most scenic states in the nation, New Hampshire is also one of the most prosperous in New England. Today, more than 1.1 million people call New Hampshire home. The population is a healthy mix of multigenerational Granite Staters and those who discovered the excellent quality of life and pro-business climate offered here. Portsmouth, Manchester, Concord, Keene and Nashua are established business communities advocating economic growth while preserving the value of the small business community. Many large national and international firms have chosen these New Hampshire cities to locate offices and headquarters.
Tourism has been a major contributor to the New Hampshire economy since the mid-19th century. Some of the nation's best skiing and hiking are to be found in the White Mountains; Lake Winnipesaukee remains a New England gem; and New Hampshire's autumn foliage attracts visitors from the four corners of the globe. The Seacoast offers an endless array of activities, including whale watches, theater, miles of clean, sandy beaches, great fishing and historic Strawbery Banke. In 1998, direct state tourist expenditures reached $3.4 billion. The current theme for tourism in the state is, "The Road Less Traveled." And indeed, there are many historical and cultural sites just waiting to be discovered by visitors and new residents.
Historically, New Hampshire residents resist "big government," and the local community continues to be the basic unit of government. New Hampshire's constitution, adopted in 1783, provides for a popularly elected governor, a five-member Executive Council, and a General Court consisting of a Senate and House of Representatives. All are elected to two-year terms. The governor has limited authority and shares concurrently with the Council the responsibilities for nomination and appointment of officers, granting pardons and the disbursement of state funds.
The 400 members of the House and 24 senators meet annually and exercise broad legislative powers. New Hampshire's General Court has the distinction of being the fourth largest English-speaking body in the world, and the State House in Concord is the nation's oldest capitol in which the legislature meets in its original chambers.
Judicial responsibilities are divided among the Supreme Court, Superior Court, Probate Courts, and District Courts. All members of the judiciary are appointed by the Governor with the consent of the Council.
The state is divided into 10 counties, but they are of less significance to the state's governmental structure.
The Seacoast's climate is typical of New England. Its summers are refreshing with an average temperature of 70 degrees. Although New Hampshire winters can be harsh, with temperatures averaging 16 degrees and snowfall averaging approximately 71 inches a year, the Seacoast tends to be slightly warmer. The precipitation mean is 50.3 inches and is fairly evenly distributed throughout the year.
New Hampshire is one of only two states in the nation that has neither a general sales nor income tax. Our combined per capita state and local tax rate, as a percent of income, is the lowest in New England.
The state is dependent upon real estate property taxes, as well as taxes on motor fuels, tobacco, alcohol, telecommunications, and sweepstakes revenues. The Business Profits Tax and the Business Enterprise Tax, which were implemented in July 1993, are major generators of unrestricted revenues.
BPT (Business Profits Tax): 8%
BET (Business Enterprise Tax): 0.5%
Rooms & Meals: 8%
Real Estate Transfer: $10.00/1,000
Motor Fuel: 18 cents/gallon
Dividends: 5% on income of over $1,200
Licenses & Registrations
Newcomers to the state must register their motor vehicles and obtain a New Hampshire driver's license within 60 days of establishing residency. Applicants should first register their motor vehicles before obtaining a driver's license. Applications and fees are accepted at 18 licensing locations throughout the state. Persons holding a valid out-of-state license are not required to take a written or road test unless aged 75 or older. Licenses are valid for four years.
Drivers aged 16-18 are subject to various restrictions under the "youth license" law. These include being accompanied by a parent or responsible adult aged 25 or older during the first 90 days. Youth drivers may not drive between the hours of one and 5 am, and may not have more passengers than there are seat belts in the car. Any person under the age of 18 is required to be properly restrained by a safety belt.
Automobile registration may be obtained at the clerk's office in the city or town of residence. State registration fees are based on the weight of the vehicle, and local fees based on the factory list values and vehicle age. State fees start at a minimum of $19.20 per year. Annual local fees begin at $6.
All motor vehicles must undergo a safety inspection once a year. For more information, call the New Hampshire Department of Safety.
New Hampshire law requires that power boats be registered annually. Fees vary and are based on the length of the boat. For copies of laws relating to navigation, operation and equipment of motorboats on inland
waterways, contact the New Hampshire Department of Safety, Division of Safety Services in Concord.
Boats operating in state salt/tidal waters are registered by the New Hampshire Department of Safety and are numbered according to the federal system.
Fish & Game
All persons over 16 years of age are required to have a license to fish and hunt.
A Brief History
New Hampshire's small towns, white clapboard churches and neat village greens attest to its rich, vibrant history. Settled under the authority of an English land grant and named after Hampshire, England, New Hampshire separated from Massachusetts in 1679.
New Hampshirites have always been among the nation's pioneers. One of the original 13 colonies, New Hampshire was the first state to declare its independence, the first to adopt its own constitution, and the ninth and deciding state to approve the U.S. Constitution. The Granite State also boasts the first-in-the-
nation presidential primary, which draws international attention.
Unlike the founders of Plymouth Colony and the Puritans of Massachusetts Bay, New Hampshire's first settlers were commercial venturers who hoped to become wealthy by developing trade with England in furs, salted fish and timber. Throughout the 17th and 18th centuries, the Seacoast flourished as a major shipbuilding center. In 1800, the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard was established to design, construct and repair all types of warships. In 1905, the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard was the site for the signing of the Treaty of Portsmouth, ending the Russo/Japanese War. The turn of the century also gave birth to America's Industrial Revolution, during which Manchester's Amoskeag Mills, fueled by the water of the Merrimack River, became the world's greatest textile mill yard.
Prominent native sons and daughters include Daniel Webster, the famous statesman and orator; General John Stark, the Revolutionary War hero and author of the state's motto "Live Free or Die;" John P. Hale, the noted Civil War statesman; Horace Greeley, publisher of The New York Tribune; Harlan Stone and Salmon Chase, both Chief Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court; current Supreme Court Justice David Souter; Mary Baker Eddy, founder of the Christian Science Church; and Franklin Pierce, the 14th President of the United States.