The meeting began with a rendition of God Bless America so awful that Rev Allen had to stop us and we had to restart.  When I was President the club gave me a pitch pipe to start the song in the proper key.  Perhaps it's time to dig that out again?  Past President Janice Wood and a flock of helpers were busy handing out invitations to our 90th anniversary dinner dance celebration on March 30th at the Jarvis Center.

Congratulations to our own Ben Wheeler, who was named to the prestigious 40 under  40 list by NH Business review.  The auction last week at the Portsmouth Country Club was a rousing success.  It was very well attended and raised over $9700, a 20% increase over last year.  I was happy to see many non-Rotarians in attendance, as well as partners of our members, and lots of socializing and fun made the event a hit. Thanks to our may donors and sponsors (who will be noted in the log over the next few weeks) including table sponsor Peoples Bank and donor Atlantis Weather Gear, a new business in town at 50 daniel Street, who donated 2 sets of sailing and skiing outfits worth $200 each! Kudos to Janis Reams, Joanie Dickinson and the league of committee members who helped get items, handle the bidding sheets and speedy check out, as well as the delicious food we all enjoyed at the Auction.

The Cash Committee will meet next Tuesay morning at 8am at the Edgewood Centre.  Committe Chair Tricia Cummings is looking for new members to join the Committee and looking for a new chair.  Please let her know if you are interested. 

Our speaker was Brian Gottlieb, an economic forecaster who was here to talk about the NH Advantage.  His message is that NH no longer leads the pack for economic growth in New England.  Being different has been the key to our success in the last several decades.  The north east has had slow growth in general and population declines in many areas in the past few decades.  New Hampshire was seen as an alternative for folks retiring who didn't want to move to the south or the west.  His charts compared NH to Massachusetts and the rest of the US.   In the 90's, NH had one of the highest rates of private sector job growth in the region and was most similar to the southern states that were seeing higher migration.  In 2012 we were one of the few states in the country with fewer jobs than the year before.  His goal is to prompt frank discussion about the future of our state's economy and how we can regain the NH advantage.  Slow growth coupled with our high cost of living he feels is a recipe for economic disaster.  What is the NH Advantage?  It is ideological on some level: small government and low taxes have always been seen as our advantage, as well as lack of crime, good schools, an educated population, and good quality of life that make up our overall value proposition.  But he pointed out that we had







these same things in the 50's through the 70's when we did not enjoy economic growth and prosperity.

  He feels we have lost our focus on the value proposition part of the equation and the balance of healthy respect between the business community and the policy makers, and remained overly focused on small government and low taxes as being the solution to all our problems. 


He doesn't support a gas tax increase because our economy is largely driven by discretionary spending and gas prices over 4 dollars per gallon have a negative impact on room and meals tax revenue.  He refused to comment on adding a casino to the budget, joking that he hadn't been paid to have an opinion on it.  He says we are going to be challenged from a revenue standpoint in the next 6 months. 

Respectfully submitted,

Aileen N Dugan