Grant D. Bosse
July 9, 2013
As originally published in the Concord Monitor
Gov. Maggie Hassan was flanked by Republican and Democratic leaders as she signed into a law a much-needed update of New Hampshire’s Business Corporation Act. There were no great ideological issues at stake. The bill brings New Hampshire government up to date on handling technical corporate practices, such as domicile and dissolution.
The legislation was a top priority for the New Hampshire Business and Industry Association and was expertly guided through the State House by Republican Sen. Jeb Bradley. The new code goes into effect in January.
Business owners should also be happy for a change that didn’t happen. Gov. Hassan has hoped to delay two popular tax reforms approved by the last Legislature in order to boost tax revenues in her proposed budget.
Last year, Republicans and Democrats overwhelmingly approved increasing the business income threshold for paying the Business Enterprise Tax. They also extended the ability of businesses to carry forward BET payments against the Business Profits Tax. These small changes in the tax code benefited struggling small firms and those just starting to show a profit.
Hassan would have reinstituted the lower BET threshold just months after it went up and put off the carry-forward for two years. That would have meant a tax increase of $17 million on small business, and it would have undermined confidence in New Hampshire government.
The private sector doesn’t like high taxes, but it despises uncertainty. Repealing these two modest tax reforms would have sent a horrible signal to anyone looking to start a business in New Hampshire just to fuel a small increase in state spending.
In a year when partisan rhetoric overstated minor policy differences, it’s nice to see Republicans and Democrats working together to make New Hampshire more welcoming to business owners.