The 2011 NH Legislature in Review: The “Open for Business” Session

opensourceway / flkr

State legislators looking back at 2011 say they kept their promises to make the state more business friendly. House Majority Leader D.J. Bettencourt told the Union Leader that Republicans fulfilled their agenda.

While Republicans were concentrating on crafting a fiscally responsible budget, rolling back regulations and taxes on businesses, and creating jobs, Democrats and some in the media were obsessed with social issues, he said. “We passed dozens of pieces of legislation that will keep the ‘Open for Business’ sign up in New Hampshire,” Bettencourt said.

Specifically, lawmakers extended the research and development tax credit, made it more difficult to for state agencies to raise business fees and increased the amount of net operating loss allowed to be claimed by businesses. (It helps reduce their amount of taxable income.)

Bettencourt says the agenda for 2012 will continue to focus on making the state more friendly to business. One plan is to eliminate mandatory health coverage for midwives services, early childhood intervention services and hearing aids.

State lawmakers also rejected the $333,000 grant from the federal government to create a health care exchange insurance plan under the national health reform law.

But business interests say changes aren’t complete. The Business and Industry Association says its priorities for 2012 include opposing an income or sales tax or any effort to increase business taxes.

“Our focus will be on policies and initiatives that encourage New Hampshire businesses to expand and hire more workers and business elsewhere to relocate to New Hampshire,” said BIA President Jim Roche, in a press release. “We will continue to work to address cost drivers, such as healthcare costs, energy costs, regulatory fee and state taxes, that burden business owners and affect whether or not they grow their business and hire New Hampshire residents.”


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