Legislative Accomplishments

Major Legislative Accomplishments 2015

Lowered Business Taxes (HB2)

For the first time in 20 years, the state legislature reduced the taxes businesses pay.  Currently, NH is ranked 48th in the nation for corporate taxes by the Tax Foundation, so a rate reduction will make us more competitive and more affordable as we attempt to retain and attract employers to our state.  HB2 reduced the Business Profits Tax from 8.5% to 7.9% and reduced the Business Enterprise Tax from 0.75% to 0.675% over time.

As part of HB2, we also passed a Tax Amnesty provision, which allows business that have gotten behind on taxes to pay them without penalty between December 1, 2015 and February 15, 2016.  This applies to any taxes administered and collected by the NH Department of Revenue Administration.

Reformed Workers Compensation (SB133)

Reducing costs on employers is one of our top objectives, and workers’ compensation insurance ranks as one of the larger expenses businesses here face.  Passage of SB133 attempts to reform workers compensation with better tracking of data and costs, and by allowing medical costs to be negotiated payments under workers compensation insurance.

Simplified Regulations (SB188, SB266)

We continually hear that the cost and time associated with complying with regulations is a major hardship for employers.  SB188 reorganized, clarified and simplified our state’s banking, credit union and trust laws to make it easier for both the regulators and the businesses in this highly regulated industry.  SB266 brought NH in line with many other states by adopting the Uniform Securities Act, making compliance easier and more affordable, particularly for start-ups.

Improved “Friendliness” (SB223)

One big complaint we’ve heard in our Business Roundtables with entrepreneurs across the state is the difficulty in getting the business name you want when you are first creating your company in NH.  SB223 clarifies the law and enables the Secretary of State to approve more new company names, more quickly.  First impressions are important, and we want businesses to immediately feel welcome and appreciated here in our state.

Legislative Accomplishments

2011-2012 Session

The NH House Business Caucus reviewed all legislation in the House for its potential impact on the state’s responsible businesses, and made recommendations to the entire body on Session (voting) days.  We wanted to be sure that the legislature wouldn’t negatively affect New Hampshire’s small business owners and their ability to create jobs and grow the economy.  We actively promoted bills that would make meaningful improvements and help employers thrive.  During the 2011-2012 Session, we successfully influenced and passed over 50 pro-business bills.  Numerous bills reduced excessive regulatory burdens, while others made important tax reforms and cost reductions.  Below is a list of some of our successes:

Important Tax Reform

  • Improved fairness for LLC’s sole proprietors, and partnerships by changing the burden of proof under a Department of Revenue Administration “reasonable compensation” audit from the small business owner to the agency (SB125)
  • Increased the amount of Net Operating Losses businesses can use to offset their business taxes from $1 million to $10 million (HB2) and changed the effective date to January 1, 2013 (HB242)
  • Increased the carry forward periods for the Business Enterprise Tax credit against the Business Profits Tax from 5 to 10 years (HB187)
  • Increased the threshold for filing Business Enterprise Taxes for our state’s smallest businesses (HB1418)
  • Clarified that NH will not tax access to the internet (HB1418)
  • Increased Section 179 deductions against the Business Profits Tax for businesses that purchase equipment for use in their operations (HB1418)
  • Made our trust laws more competitive with other states (SB326)
  • Clarified the credit of Business Enterprise Taxes against Business Profits Taxes can be utilized quarterly (HB1221)

Reduced the Regulatory Burden on NH’s Small Businesses

  • Allowed reciprocity for licensure of veterinarians (HB30)
  • Allowed trucks to add weight without penalty so generators can be run (HB117)
  • Created a lower-cost license for “nano” breweries (HB262)
  • Enabled our state’s winery businesses to more easily market their products (HB276)
  • Enabled employers to join purchasing alliances for buying health insurance (SB179)
  • Matched our state’s minimum wage to the Federal, making the law clearer for employers to follow (HB133)
  • Changed the definition of “gross misconduct” for purposes of unemployment compensation, lowering the threshold for theft from $500 to $250 (HB26)
  • Prevented local planning boards from requiring sprinkler systems in new home construction (HB109)
  • Allowed a master electrician to have 2 apprentices under his/her supervision instead of only one (HB503), and a master barber to have 2 apprentices (HB1127)
  • Restored the private industry of weights and measures, and reduced costs and fees for businesses (SB157)
  • Allowed restaurants, like other businesses, to advertise discounts on alcohol (SB120)
  • Improved fairness and lowered costs for landlords (SB70)
  • Simplified the NH WARN act rules by aligning them with adjacent states and federal requirements (SB121)
  • Reformed the Shoreland Protection Act, reducing costs and improving permit times (HB2)
  • Repealed the Certificate of Need board in 3 years, removing time consuming and expensive barriers to innovation in health care (HB1617)
  • Enabled manufacturers to recycle spent materials, as allowed by federal law and most states (HB1477)
  • Increased the threshold for the number of employees per location to 15 before a written safety plan and joint loss committee is required (HB1587)
  • Removed the requirement to provide duplicative signage at fuel service stations (HB1157)
  • Authorized licensed nano breweries to sell their products at farmers markets (HB1172)
  • Allowed oyster farmers to renew their licenses for longer than one year (HB1392)
  • Changed the requirement for trucks over 18,000 pounds to be inspected semi-annually to annually (HB1585)
  • Extended certain dredge and fill permits for repairs from 5 to 10 years (HB1636)
  • Reduced the number of conflicts between the building code and the fire code, created a less burdensome regulatory process when conflicts arise, reserved the authority for code adoption and changes to code editions to the general court, and adopted the 2009 Life Safety Code and Uniform Fire Code (HB137)
  • Clarified the food protection law, making it clearer for food service establishments and food processing plants (HB234)
  • Clarified an exemption from the licensing requirement for mortgage brokers or bankers for attorneys who provide legal services in connection with residential mortgage loans (HB408)
  • Clarifies the definition of employee and the criteria for exempting workers from employee status (HB420)
  • Clarifies the definition of an owner of timber rights (HB1207)
  • Changes the definition of table wine and beer, enabling a beer distributor to expand operations in NH (HB1241)
  • Retained the authority of the NH Insurance Dept. in the event of a federally-facilitated health exchange under the Affordable Care Act (HB1297)
  • Allowed farmers to use agricultural plates on cargo vans in their local vicinity (HB1307)
  • Increased the number of weeks a non-reimbursing employer must provide employment before its separate account becomes chargeable for unemployment compensation benefits (HB1366)
  • Encouraged school districts to implement age-appropriate instruction and projects involving science, technology, engineering, and mathematics for students in kindergarten through grade 5 (HB1389)
  • Exempted certain homestead food operations and homestead food products from licensure and allowed for direct sales of raw milk products without a milk producer-distributor license for certain small scale dairy producer-distributors (HB1402)
  • Allows permits by rule for repair or replacement of sewage and waste disposal systems (HB1415)
  • Required all local enforcement agencies and other officials responsible for enforcement of the fire code to provide information on the local and state appeals process when issuing a building permit or notice of violation (HB1480)
  • Clarifying the liability of landowners who allow other persons to use the premises for hunting, fishing, and other recreational purposes or to remove fuel wood, restoring confidence and preserving our tourism industry (HB1551)
  • Changed the nature of NH’s participation in RGGI and created a contingent repeal completely if 2 or more New England states withdraw or if a state which has at least 10 percent of the total load of the New England states participating in the initiative withdraws (HB1490)
  • Leveled the playing field for telecommunications providers by granting regulatory parity for all, and allowing free market competition (SB48)
  • Modified electric renewable portfolio standards and improved fairness for all types of power generation (SB218)
  • Established an independent, specialized board for psychologists, making it easier and faster to address complaints (SB343)

Reformed the Business to Government Relationship

  • Required all contracts entered into by the state as a result of requests for proposals to be posted on the state transparency website (HB1686)
  • Required the Department of Labor to warn employers before fining them for certain mistakes (SB86)
  • Replaced various statutory provisions containing general rulemaking authority of state agencies with specific requirements, improving transparency and oversight (HB222)

Created New Opportunities

  • Authorized the Business Finance Authority to establish a NH venture capital fund to assist start up companies (HB605)
  • Established a commission to study business regulations in NH (HB248)
  • Established an economic strategic commission to review the role between business and government (SB92)
  • Created an Education Tax Credit for businesses that contribute to a scholarship fund for students who would benefit against attending a different school (85% credit against the BPT) (HB1607 & SB372)
  • Allowed additional ATV trails, making one of the largest trail systems in the east and a tremendous tourist and business attraction for NH north country (SB250)

Established an optional process for victims of medical injury, resolving claims quickly and reducing costs that impact the entire health care system (SB406)