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Friday, July 25, 2014

Study: Right to Work law would mean more jobs

MANCHESTER – A fiscally-conservative interest group study says New Hampshire would gain 4,000-6,000 jobs if its legislature adopted a right-to-work law.

Americans for Prosperity hosted a noted economist with Americans for Tax Reform to underline its push to make New Hampshire the 25th state – and only one in the Northeast – to outlaw any union that requires covered employees to either pay dues or cover the costs of collective bargaining. ...

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MANCHESTER – A fiscally-conservative interest group study says New Hampshire would gain 4,000-6,000 jobs if its legislature adopted a right-to-work law.

Americans for Prosperity hosted a noted economist with Americans for Tax Reform to underline its push to make New Hampshire the 25th state – and only one in the Northeast – to outlaw any union that requires covered employees to either pay dues or cover the costs of collective bargaining.

“The results are pretty stunning and unique. They speak to the fact that Right to Work means more jobs, more take home pay, more freedom,’’ said Matt Patterson of ATR, guest speaker of this event at the Derryfield Country Club here.

The AFP study zeroed in on the economy of Indiana since it adopted Right to Work in February 2012.

At the time, the Indiana Business Research Center had predicted the economy would grow by 50,000 jobs and
unemployment would fall from 7.8 percent to 7 percent by the end of 2013.

Instead, there were 60,000 jobs created in the state and the jobless rate fell to 6.3 percent at the end of 2013 and down to 5.7 percent last month.

“If right to work legislation were passed in New Hampshire, in two years the state could be reasonably expected to add 4000 to 6000 additional jobs beyond the average growth rate, with many of those jobs coming from neighboring states, which are all forced unionism states,’’ said the AFP study authored by Duncan Taylor.

“Secondly, the state would approach full employment, with unemployment dropping to nearly 4.0 percent.’’

The state’s jobless rate was 4.3 percent last month.

Leaders of the New Hampshire AFL-CIO launched a peaceful protest outside the luncheon event, holding, pro-union signs.

“The whole study is disjointed at best and makes all kinds of inferences without backing them up with any data that looks only at what happens in states that embrace right to work,’’ said President Mark McKenzie.

“The claim that all of a sudden your economy is just going to blossom because of Right to Work is completely unfounded. In fact studies we’ve done show the opposite: lower wages, less benefits and an exodus of good-paying union jobs.’’

The Economic Policy Institute, a pro-labor think tank, concluded in a 2012 study that New Hampshire wages for union and non-union jobs would have declined by $1,500 a year with a Right-to-Work law.

Author Gordon Lafer maintained New Hampshire was a bad fit for the change because the state’s per capita income, employment rate and educational systems were all much higher than in Right-to-Work states.

AFL-CIO’s McKenzie said fiscal conservatives led by former House Speaker Bill O’Brien, R-Mont Vernon, are again promoting this cause to elect like-minded Republicans and carry out a broader agenda.

“We saw this in 2010 after O’Brien became speaker. The fight over right to work became a smokescreen for everything else that came about during that period of time, painful budget cuts, taking away labor rights, repeal of a state minimum wage,’’ McKenzie said.

“We fought this tooth and nail and the people of New Hampshire agreed with us that right to work for less made no sense.

“We’re fully prepared to have that fight again.’’

Using data from an Americans for Tax Reform study, the AFP report said if Right to Work were in place here since 1977, per capita income here would be $3,000 a year higher.

AFP report author Taylor acknowledged their conclusions about Right to Work don’t isolate the many other factors that relate to job growth from the national economic cycle to the way a state attracts new business from lucrative tax breaks to expensive upgrades of roads and bridges near a targeted property.

A key calling card to attract new or expanded business here is New Hampshire’s lack of any broad-based tax on sales or income.

“While bearing in mind that completely isolating the impact of right to work legislation is functionally impossible, it is reasonable to assume that the implementation of right to work legislation played a role in Indiana’s recovery from the general recession that gripped the country late in the first decade of the new century,’’ Taylor concluded.

With a 3-1 GOP majority, O’Brien helped convince the House to end decades of opposition to approve a right-to-work bill in 2012.

But O’Brien failed to hold enough of his GOP bloc to override a veto from then-Democratic Gov. John Lynch.

Current Gov. Maggie Hassan, a Democrat, opposes Right to Work while her two major Republican opponents – Walt Havenstein, of Alton, and Andrew Hemingway, of Bristol, – support it.

Kevin Landrigan can reached at 321-7040 or klandrigan@nashua
telegraph.com. Also, follow Landrigan on Twitter (@Klandrigan).