Feb 19, 2015 3:58 PM
Kevin Landrigan: Senate panel moves forward cutting NH's two main business taxes
CONCORD - A key Senate panel pushed forward top priority legislation for its Republican leaders [-] cutting the state's two main taxes on business.
The measures would lower the state's tax on corporate profits down to 7.9 percent from its current 8.5 percent.
A companion bill would lower the state's tax on business activity down to .675 percent; the current levy is .75 percent.
Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley, R-Wolfeboro and Sen. Andy Sanborn, R-Bedford, author the bills that have the backing of the Business and Industry Association and the fiscally-conservative, Americans for Prosperity.
Senate President Chuck Morse, R-Salem, said a business tax cut is a must achievement for the GOP-led Senate in 2015.
"New Hampshire currently ranks 48th highest for business taxes in the country, which has resulted in a significant burden on our state's small businesses and discouraged many from considering a move to our state,'' Bradley said in a statement.
"By lowering the BPT and BET, we move to restore New Hampshire's business friendly environment and the state's competitive edge when compared to other New England states."
New Hampshire needs to cut business taxes to keep pace, Bradley continued.
"States like Rhode Island have reduced corporate taxes, following the nation-wide trend of 27 other states that reduced their business tax rates in an effort to encourage economic growth," Bradley said.
"If we do nothing, New Hampshire businesses will pay the highest corporate tax rate in New England."
The left-leaning, New Hampshire Fiscal Policy Institute warns the tax cuts could make the next two-year state budget even tougher to balance.
There's no track record for supporter claims that the business tax cuts would lead to increased revenue, said Executive Director Jeff McLynch.
Gov. Maggie Hassan's spokesman has raised concerns about the revenue loss from the tax cuts that could reach $30 million annually once they are fully implemented.
House Speaker Shawn Jasper, R-Hudson, has said he would like the Legislature to produce a business tax cut but wants it done in conjunction with balancing the next two-year state budget.
Senator Sanborn called out the Senate's counterparts to come on board.
"Our lackluster economic recovery is clear proof of our need to find every way possible to ensure we are an affordable, competitive state to do business,'' Sanborn concluded.
"I hope to see support of the House and the governor on this critical issue."