BIA lists its priorities for 2011

Similarly to 2010, economic growth, business-friendly tax policies, energy and health care top the Business and Industry Association of New Hampshire’s list of priorities for 2011. The BIA drew up the list after consulting with businesspeople across the state about their top concerns going into the new year. “The focus is on jobs and the budget,” said Jim Roche, president of the BIA. “Even though we’re technically out of recession, business is still sluggish and owners and managers are slow to hire.” Some of the BIA’s top public policy priorities, as well as plans for action, include: • Supporting “fiscally conservative state budgets with a business-friendly tax structure.” The organization said it will work to oppose any increase in the business enterprise tax or business profits tax or the introduction of an income or sales tax. It also will support a constitutional amendment that would allow the state to target education aid and support reform of the public employee retirement system to reduce the “significant unfunded liability of the fund.” • Supporting “business tax incentives that foster economic growth.” Some action steps will include opposing reduction or repeal of either the BET credit against the BPT or the R&D tax credits and supporting the improvement of net operating loss carry-forward provisions. • Reducing/slowing the growth of total health-care costs for employers and the state. The organization said it will oppose new or expanded health-care benefit mandates and support “adequate Medicaid reimbursements to health-care providers to reduce cost-shifting to the business community” and it supports reviewing “cost-effective ways to provide health care to the uninsured and underinsured to reduce cost-shifting to the business community from uncompensated care.” Also included on the list is support for several other initiatives, mitigating the rising cost of energy, development of New Hampshire’s future workforce, expansion of telecommunications infrastructure, further investment in the state’s infrastructure, including roads, bridges and air and rail travel and an increase in availability and affordability of housing for working people. To develop its public policy priorities, the BIA held roundtable discussions across the state in June to discuss what business leaders viewed as their top challenges heading into 2011. These concerns were further refined through an online survey of BIA members in July. BIA Policy committees vetted this list and recommended public policy priorities to the board of directors, who selected and approved the final priorities this fall. — KATHLEEN CALLAHAN/NEW HAMPSHIRE BUSINESS REVIEW

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