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North Dakota Businesses Deserve Better

North Dakotas 73,000 small businesses are the economic engine of our state, making up 98.8 percent of all businesses in our state and employing 58 percent of our workforce. In 2017, these businesses created 11,000 new jobs and account for 82 percent of our states exports. Whether its the local coffee shop, implement dealer or oil service company, these employers care about more than just their bottom line. They invest in youth programs, raise funds to support their community healthcare provider and promote tourism to highlight our four seasons and states rich history.

Our states small businesses are always going the extra mile for their communities. Yet, our state is failing them through an outdated annual registration process that does not move at the speed of modern business. When compared to the rest of the country, North Dakota ranks 46th with an approximate wait time of 24 days. Montana is a five-day wait, while South Dakota and Minnesota take less than a day. This snails pace wait has an adverse impact on operating loans being issued, regulatory boards being able to transfer professional licenses, and new start-ups being able to move at their own pace.

As a business leader and a legislator, for years I have heard the frustration that business owners have had with the barriers the Secretary of State has maintained to the annual registration process. For 10 years, the legislature has appropriated over $9 million for the creation and implementation of an online registration system. For 10 years, Al Jaeger allowed one error after another to delay the implementation of the project, including throwing away $2 million in taxpayer dollars.

For the past five months, I have crisscrossed the state talking with business owners, industry representatives and trade association leaders and I have heard directly from them about the need for change at the Secretary of States office. Overwhelmingly, they want a Secretary who will partner with businesses and advocate for crucial reforms to create efficiencies throughout the various agencies, boards, and departments they are required to engage with. Over the next four months, I will continue to share my ideas of how we can transform the office of Secretary of State. Once elected, I look forward to working with businesses, the legislature, and stakeholders to create efficiencies in the office, reduce fees, and better serve the businesses that drive our states economy.

Rep. Josh Boschee was re-elected to the ND House of Representatives in 2012, re-elected in 2016 and serves on the House Industry, Business and Labor Committee and the House Agriculture Committee. He is the Democratic-NPL endorsed candidate for Secretary of State. Voters can learn more about Rep. Boschee at www.joshfornd.com.

This is a paid endorsement letter to the editor.

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