Costs, regulations concern NH businesses

NASHUA – The cost of health care and electricity, inconsistency of regulations, the lack of a state economic development plan and the threat of increased business taxes were the big concerns mentioned by a dozen business members to the statewide Chamber of Commerce in hopes their concerns will be heard next spring in Concord.

The items came up Thursday afternoon at a roundtable discussion held by the Business and Industry Association, which serves as the statewide chamber. The discussion was held at BAE Systems .

The goal of the 10th annual discussions, held each June in different parts of New Hampshire, is to find out what businesses are struggling with in hopes of fixing those problems.

Jim Roche, president of the Business and Industry Association, said the feedback from businesses can influence future legislation.

The association reviews the feedback and dissects it into separate subject areas, and committees make recommendations to the industry’s board of directors. From there, the board develops priorities on public policy and meets with the governor to talk about them.

State Rep. Carl Seidel, of Nashua, said the slow regulatory process and policies can cause businesses frustration and difficulty.

“The work is a lot more complex, but the benefit of the extra work is not evident,” said Jeff Mathis, manager of environmental affairs at BAE Systems.

Mike Turcotte, owner of Turn Cycle Solutions in Nashua, said he faced similar trouble as a small business trying to get the local, state and federal regulations all on the same page. He called the process too time-consuming.

Other business members chimed in with their opinions about the state Legislature and how they can move the New Hampshire business climate forward.

BAE Systems public affairs director Jeff Rose said another concern was that BAE draws many of its employees from in-state colleges and universities, especially the University of New Hampshire, and he wondered how the proposed cuts to the University System of New Hampshire could affect the state’s ability to retain an educated, qualified workforce.

Mike Falzone, an advertising representative at Area News Group in Hudson, said the feeling in the Statehouse is “so negative from top to bottom,” and that the uncertainty in Concord can affect businesses in how they plan for the future.

Richard Ball, who works at Cirtronics Corp. in Milford, said the state would benefit from a broad economic development plan or strategy, something that would have “longevity” to survive future problems.

The discussions will continue throughout June in other New Hampshire cities and towns.

For more information or to find an event, visit www.nhbia.org.

Cameron Kittle can be reached at 594-6523 or ckittle@nashuatelegraph.com.