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1/29/2014 News Release
Business groups to Legislature: do no harm

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Adrienne Rupp
Business and Industry Association
Office: 603.224.5388 x114
Mobile: 603.731.7754
arupp@BIAofNH.com

Business groups to Legislature: do no harm

BIA and many of the state’s leading business associations gathered in Concord this morning for a press conference highlighting bad business proposals before the Legislature.

CONCORD, N.H. – Jan. 29, 2014 – This morning, the Business and Industry Association of New Hampshire held a press conference in Concord with many of the state’s leading trade associations and business organizations to highlight a number of bad business bills going before the Legislature this session. Below are comments from BIA President Jim Roche.

Comments of Jim Roche – January 29, 2014 Press Conference
Legislative Office Building, Concord

Good morning. My name is Jim Roche. I am president of the Business and Industry Association, New Hampshire’s statewide chamber of commerce. I am joined here this morning by other association and chamber leaders, including: Tim Sink, Greater Concord Chamber of Commerce; Robin Comstock, Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce; Bob Nash, NH Association of Insurance Agents; Pete McNamara, NH Automobile Dealers Association; Tom Fahey, NH Bankers Association; John Dumais, NH Grocers Association; Paul Mailhot, NH High Technology Council; Mike Somers, NH Lodging and Restaurant Association; and Janet Monahan, NH Medical Society.

We’re here to express our collective concern to the entire Legislature about bills pending in both chambers, sponsored by democrats and republicans, that would move New Hampshire’s economy and climate for business and job creation backwards.

As many of you are aware, BIA recently released the Strategic Economic Plan for New Hampshire. This plan was the result of countless hours of input from nearly 200 stakeholders, two consulting teams, BIA staff and BIA’s 34-member board of directors. It took more than a year and thousands of dollars to complete. The plan is packed with more than 100 policy recommendations we believe will improve the state’s economy, competitive advantages for business and climate for job creation for years to come.

It is with this plan as a backdrop that we look at many proposals before the Legislature this session that would, if enacted, move New Hampshire backwards, resulting in the Granite State becoming a less welcoming place for businesses to start up, grow or locate. Here are a number of prime examples:

  • HB 439, which will dramatically increase workers’ compensation insurance costs for employers
  • HB 350, which invites lawsuits against employers by unemployed individuals if the employer chooses not to hire them
  • HB 591, which prohibits abusive work environments defined in part as “criticizing an employee,” “micro-managing an employee’s work” and “creating unrealistic workloads or deadlines.”
  • SB 302, which would allow employees to sue for wrongful termination if they are fired for publicly or privately criticizing employers using social media
  • HB 1403, which raises the minimum wage, a direct increase on businesses, especially New Hampshire’s small business community
  • HB 1368, which would prohibit an employer from asking a prospective employee if they have a criminal background
  • SB 297, which weakens New Hampshire’s joint and several liability statute and increase employers’ risk of litigation.

We recognize it’s early in the legislative session. Nevertheless, with the excess of dubious legislation that seems to have early support, we feel, collectively, the following message is warranted: do no harm.

We have recently emerged from what most economists consider the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. While many businesses are performing better than in the recent past, continued success is by no means certain.

New Hampshire is at a fork in the road. One road, laid out and surveyed by legislation highlighted here today, leads New Hampshire toward becoming just another expensive, not-business-friendly, Northeastern U.S. state. The other road, articulated in the Strategic Economic Plan for New Hampshire, will lead New Hampshire to stand alone in the Northeast U.S. as a place where businesses thrive, create jobs, generate tax revenue and stimulate our economy for years to come. We want legislators to choose the latter road this session.