Maggie Hassan told Portsmouth rotarians Thursday her Innovate New Hampshire plan would invest more money in education and job training so the state can attract more businesses and create better jobs.
The Democratic gubernatorial candidate also said her strategy to revitalize the New Hampshire economy calls for balancing the state budget to eliminate waste and improve efficiencies in the state's largest agencies.
If New Hampshire wants more of its young people to stay here, Hassan said the state needs to improve its state university system, community college system and invest more money in job training programs. She also said that, if elected governor in November, she would push for more research and development tax credits for New Hampshire companies and universities to reward innovation.
Hassan also reiterated her pledge to never support a sales or income tax and to make sure the New Hampshire advantage remains in place.
"When I visit New Hampshire companies, the number one thing they all say is 'We need good trained, highly skilled workers,'" Hassan said.
Hassan also said the deep cuts made in the University of New Hampshire System made by the Republican-led Legislature continue to hurt the state's ability to attract and retain good companies.
She said she recently tourned one Portsmouth firm that said it had to import about a dozen workers from Ukraine to meet its labor needs because it could not find enough New Hampshire workers who had the required technical expertise.
Hassan said this is why the state needs to invest more money in improving the curriculum at its state colleges and universities to include more math, science, engineering and technology "that trains the workers of today and tomorrow."
In order to have more revenue to invest in greater education and job training programs, Hassan said the state needs to do a better job of handling the state budget.
"We need to start reforming the way we create the biennial state budget," she said.
Hassan said one way to do this is to have a team of economists and lawmakers provide the Governor and Legislature timely revenue estimates several times a year so everybody will always be on the same page with the same numbers. She said the Legislature also has to implement state audit results.
Hassan said that, if elected governor, she would reverse two of the worst decisions made by the Republican-led House of Representatives to lower the tobacco tax and divert millions of state taxpayer dollars to fund private and religious schools, which occurred after the House did an override of Gov. John Lynch's veto.