Creating a strong environment for job growth working
Sure, it may not be sexy in today’s politics. It may not make the headlines every day like more controversial issues, where inflammatory rhetoric captures headlines.
Sure, it can be dry, technical and difficult to explain in two sentences. But some of us are focusing on it and it’s working.
As promised, many of us at the Statehouse have been highly focused on passing bills that would improve the climate for job creation, cut red tape and allow for economic expansion.
Some of these bills may have missed your radar screen. They certainly aren’t controversial, especially creative or revolutionary by themselves.
But combined, we believe they make it substantially easier for our state’s employers to conduct business and reinforce the message that we are listening and trying to help.
In a number of bills this session, we repealed or reduced the impact of state laws that are more onerous and restrictive than federal laws, with no apparent benefit.
For example, we enabled manufacturers to recycle spent materials, such as the alcohol to clean circuit boards, saving costs and offering opportunities for multiple employers in a manufacturing chain, as most other states allow.
Whenever possible and responsible, we reduced time-consuming red tape and expensive regulations, especially for small businesses.
In one bill, we removed the duplicative signage requirements at gas stations; in another, we allowed master barbers and electricians to have two apprentices instead of just one on a job. We rolled back a time-consuming requirement for very small employers to write formal safety plans and file them with the state.
Easing other restrictions, we allowed farmers to use agricultural plates on cargo vans in their local vicinity and enabled licensed New Hampshire nanobreweries to sell their products in sealed containers at farmers markets.
Taxes are always important to businesses, and we made several important reforms in this area. New Hampshire’s Internal Revenue Service, the Department of Revenue Administration, has been operating without any “check and balance” when considering its impact on small businesses.
As a result of its exclusive regulatory power, the agency has been making its own tax forms, which have become overly burdensome. The House recently passed a bill that brings these forms back to the Legislature for public input and scrutiny.
We also passed a bill that simplifies filing business taxes for our state’s tiniest businesses that generate less than $200,000 in gross sales.
To date, in the first three months of 2012, the New Hampshire House successfully passed more than 15 bills that are clearly business-friendly and would encourage economic expansion.
In addition, there are two major study commissions – one headed up by my husband, Sen. Andy Sanborn, R-Henniker – composed of legislators and business leaders, which are looking at ways to reduce red tape and modernize the interaction between business and government in New Hampshire.
These groups, as well as members of the House Business Coalition, are continually working on ways to improve our state’s business friendliness – from initial formation to permitting, reporting, communication, regulation, conflict resolution and expansion.
We recognize it is not the job of the Legislature to create jobs; our role should be to remove unnecessary obstacles and enable businesses to do what they do best.
We have and it’s working. These efforts have helped to create thousands of new jobs and bring our state unemployment rate on a steady decline and among the lowest in the country.
While we have not cured all of our economic challenges, we are on our way. With continued focus on a strong economic environment, we will make New Hampshire the best place in America to live, work and play.
Rep. Laurie Sanborn, R-Henniker, serves on the Ways and Means Committee and is founder and chair of the House Business Coalition. Rep. Bill Ohm, R-Nashua, also serves on the Ways and Means Committee and is a member of the House Business Coalition.