While some will say that the House has been distracted from time to time this session, there is a group of legislators who are in fact highly focused on creating jobs and building the New Hampshire economy. This bi-partisan group, called the NH House Business Coalition, meets weekly to evaluate and make recommendation to the entire body on bills that directly impact the business community.
So far, the Coalition has made recommendations and had influence on over 25 business-impact bills, with 100% success. Many of these bills have rolled back excessive regulations or red tape on small businesses, while others have reduced taxes and costs.
Let me give you some examples. We improved reciprocity for licensure for Veterinarians in our state, making it easier and more affordable for these small businesses to operate. We enabled Master Electricians to work with two Apprentices (instead of just one), creating jobs and reducing costs for both employers and consumers. We made it easier for NH’s wine manufacturers to market their products in this state. We fought against over-burdensome regulations and expenses on plowing companies, “nano” breweries, athletes’ agents, landlords, and contractors. We evened the playing field for sole proprietors, partnerships and LLC owners, by changing the burden of proof under a “reasonable compensation” audit to the Department of Revenue Administration (NH’s IRS).
As most of us promised on the campaign trail, we have also reduced taxes to spur economic growth. For example, the House repealed the 10% tax on lottery winnings, and pushed back the latest 10 cent tax increase on cigarettes. Both of these not only are expected to positively impact state revenue, but also will help the numerous businesses in towns adjacent to Maine and Massachusetts, who sell these and other items. The House Business Coalition has also promoted and won bills that reduce the Meals and Rooms tax and the Business Profits tax.
At the beginning of the session, the House Business Coalition took a snapshot of where New Hampshire was rated in terms of its business-friendly nature compared to other states. For example, last year the Tax Foundation ranked New Hampshire 50th (dead last) in terms of corporate taxes. The Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council and Forbes ranked NH 34th overall. The Coalition’s goal is to make steady progress on these ratings, and be in the top ten within 5 years.
New Hampshire does not operate in a vacuum. We need to compete with other states to attract new businesses, and keep the businesses we have here. Other states, including Massachusetts, understand this concept, and have recently become much more affordable and friendly to businesses.
We believe our efforts at the State House will pay off, New Hampshire will become a better place for businesses, and we will see increased number of jobs and economic opportunities for all.
Representative Laurie Sanborn
Chair, NH House Business Coalition
Ways and Means Committee
Laurie Sanborn was elected to represent Merrimack’s 5th District in November 2010, at the same time her husband, Andy, was elected to the State Senate. The Sanborns own The Draft restaurant in Concord, and have been involved with a variety of other small business ventures over the past 15 years. Surprised to find that there was no pro-business caucus in either legislative branch, Laurie and Andy started the NH House and NH Senate Business Coalitions this session, and have been responsible for driving the focus on pro-business legislation.