In August 2002, Chamber members were provided an opportunity to complete an Issues Advocacy Survey designed to assist the Government Affairs Committee in directing the legislative efforts of the Committee.
Government Affairs Committee
Members clearly prioritized their interests and concerns in this survey in the following public policy areas:
Tax Structure and Policy
The issues of tax structure and education reform are intractably linked. Members, however, expressed a need for strong leadership on these issues to resolve, once and for all, the issues concerning how much the business community pays for education and the quality of outputs of the State's current educational system.
Affordable Health Insurance
Rising health care costs are also a major concern to the Seacoast business community, however, there is a recognition that little can be truly accomplished legislatively by the State Legislature to address these concerns. Much of this re-tooling needs to be accomplished by the Federal, not by State, Government.
As indicated above, the issues of tax structure and education reform are intractably linked. Members recognize that a quality and educated workforce is the key to the State's, and the Seacoast region's, economic future.
Other issues, such as affordable/workforce housing and local infrastructure improvements, were not included on the prioritization matrix but was cited by many respondents as an important policy area worthy of greater attention..
Members also expressed concern about a variety of other public policy issues, notably, (1) water conservation and regulations; (2) business retention; (3) urban congestion, including the General Sullivan Bridge traffic congestion linking Dover to Newington; and (4) a desire to bring higher paying jobs with benefits into the region.
In closing, the Greater Portsmouth Chamber of Commerce recognizes that state and federal governments can and should be a partners, not an adversaries, in accomplishing these policy goals together. Our elected officials are listening, we just need to better communicate and articulate our concerns and solutions to them.
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