By Laurie Sanborn
So many of us ran for public office with a primary goal of improving jobs and the economy in our state, and we know you can only be pro-jobs if you are pro-business.
That’s why I created in January 2011, and now chair, the House Business Caucus, a nonpartisan group of like-minded legislators who are entirely focused on evaluating and supporting legislation that promotes job creation and expansion of the economic base through strong business growth and success.
While New Hampshire is more business-friendly than many states, we can do a better job of welcoming entrepreneurs and making our state easier and more affordable to start or operate a business.Since our inception in 2011, the hard work of our 100-plus members has paid off, and we’ve successfully passed over 60 pro-business bills that, in big ways and small, make it noticeably easier to run a business in our state. A number of bills the House Business Caucus championed remove barriers for entry into a market by reducing excessive regulations and fees. In doing so, for example, we’ve helped to create a growing industry of nano-breweries across our state. We’ve also enabled small family farms to produce agriculture products without having to meet the same costly standards as large commercial farms. Other bills have reduced red tape and reporting requirements that take business owners away from running their operations, and have historically amounted to wasted time and money, for both the state and the employer.
New Hampshire does not operate in a vacuum, so the House Business Caucus also tries to ensure our laws, regulations and costs are more competitive than other — particularly adjacent — states. We’ve been able to do this, especially by making important business tax reforms to retain and attract employers. Some examples include expanding the Research & Development Tax Credit, increasing the threshold for filing and paying Business Enterprise Taxes, and increasing the amount of losses a business can carry forward against future Business Profits Taxes.
Sometimes it’s not just the laws that need reforming. It’s also been a priority of the House Business Caucus to improve the interactions and relationship between businesses and state government. We’ve done this in several ways, including passing legislation that requires warnings before fines for minor paperwork infractions, reduces time to receive permits, and by taking steps to modernize communications and payments.
In 2014, the House Business Caucus will continue to meet regularly to discuss bills that have a direct business impact, and then provide information and make recommendations to the entire body on voting days. We remain focused on reducing excessive regulations and red tape wherever possible, making our state’s taxes and fees more competitive, and encouraging a friendly, welcoming approach to all employers, from all levels of government.
We hope that employers will provide us the input and feedback we need to ensure New Hampshire is the best state in the nation to pursue private sector economic opportunities. And, while we seek to improve the climate for all businesses, we also like to fill a void for the smaller employers and family businesses, which need to be heard equally. They represent a substantial part of our state’s economy and sometimes don’t have the same lobbying presence as the larger companies.
For more information or to sign up for email updates and invitations to events, see www.ProBusinessNH.com, or email me directly at RepSanborn@gmail.com. I hope to hear from you!
Laurie Sanborn (R-Bedford) is the chair of the House Business Caucus.