North Country
7:50 am
Fri March 22, 2013

Hassan Goes Way North And Promises Economic Development Funds

Chris Jensen for NHPR
Credit Chris Jensen / NHPR
Broadcast version.

If the Senate bill that proposes a single casino in the state becomes law it “would dedicate millions of dollars per year directly to North Country economic development,” Governor Maggie Hassan said during a speech Thursday night before the North Country Chamber of Commerce.

That would spur business and job growth “helping us attract new companies by marketing the North Country’s advantages to businesses in Canada and elsewhere,” she told about 125 people at the Log Haven Restaurant on lonely Route 26 in Millsfield, about 145 miles from Concord.

The thrust of Hassan’s remarks was a continuation of her campaign to explain and promote her budget.

The money for the North Country was a reference to a provision of Senate Bill 152 that sets aside funds for the North Country. The bill calls for the operator of the casino to pay an $80 million licensing fee, which Hassan has included to help balance her budget.

Senator Jeff Woodburn, a Democrat from Dalton who represents the North Country, favors the bill and is enthusiastic about the economic development funds.

But his predecessor, former Senator John Gallus, a Republican from Berlin who chose not to seek re-election, says he doubts the House will strip that provision from the bill.

“They need a lot of money in Concord all over the place,” he told NHPR earlier this month.

During the meeting Hassan also presented the Business of the Year award to the North Country OHRV Coalition, a group of volunteers working to link ATV trails throughout the area, allowing long-distance touring designed to draw more tourists. The group plans to formally open the trail network on June 15th.