Rep seeks to reduce state paperwork

Can state paperwork be simplified for small businesses? Rep. George Lambert thinks it can, but he doesn’t know how to go about it yet.Lambert, R-Litchfield, plans to file a bill that would require different agencies in the Department of Labor, Division of Employment Security, and perhaps the Department of Revenue Administration and others, to come together to reduce duplication of information that small businesses (companies with up to 25 employees) have to provide the state.”There are so many opportunities to screw up,” he said. Small employers – who often do not have a personnel department – might not file paperwork concerning unemployment insurance if they confuse it with workers compensation insurance, he said. Indeed, last year, one employer testified at a public hearing that he faced a $140,000 fine for doing just that, Lambert said.However, cutting paperwork might be easier said then done. Employers buy workers compensation privately, through an agent, and it is the agent who files with the state online, whereas businesses pay for unemployment insurance directly to the state by paying unemployment tax.”I’m all for reducing paper work,” said Kathryn J. Barger – director of the state Workers’ Compensation Division. “I’m just not sure how it would work.”Neither is Lambert, but he was hoping that with guidance Legislative Services, the agencies and members of the House Labor, Industrial and Rehabilitative Services Committee they can come up with some concrete proposals.”The idea is to have one simple mechanism that’s clear, concise and to keep the interaction between the state and small business to a minimum, so it would make it easier to hire more people,” he said. — BOB SANDERS/NEW HAMPSHIRE BUSINESS REVIEW

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