In a rare, and welcome, example of bipartisanship, a Democratic executive is offering scissors to Republicans who have pledged to cut red tape for Missouri businesses.
Democratic Secretary of State Jason Kander is promoting legislation to cut filing fees for businesses. And Republican State Sen. Wayne Wallingford of Cape Girardeau is sponsoring the legislation.
Although the announcement coincided with the opening of the new legislative session, Kander's initiative "• and the senator's backing "• date to September of last year.
The legislation would establish a $5 processing fee for most filings, which range from $7 to register a name for a business to $155 for a company based in another state or foreign country to apply to do business in Missouri.
Kander's legislative initiative follows action by his office last July to expand its online filing system from five forms to about 35. Businesses may access the website at www.sos.mo.gov/fileonline.
The Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry, not surprisingly, supports the proposal. "When you're a small business or a startup, all those fees really add up," said Tracy King, the state chamber's vice president of governmental affairs
And Wallingford emphasized the benefit for small business. "We want to make it as easy as possible for business owners of all size," he said, "but really for small businesses."
Although the fiscal impact of the proposal remains unknown, Kander said the $5 fee would cover costs to his office.
Fine. Government is not a for-profit operation, but businesses must profit to survive and, hopefully, thrive. Profit permits businesses to expand, employ more workers and generate additional taxes for government services.
On Sunday in this forum, we encouraged elected officials to seek bipartisan opportunities on which to build. Democrats and Republicans must not stumble over this potential building block.