Missouri businesses could pay the lowest fees nationally if legislation backed by Secretary of State Jason Kander gets support from lawmakers.
The Democrat on Thursday announced the proposed fee cut as part of his agenda for the 2015 legislative session, which began Wednesday. Kander said the legislation would slash dozens of filing expenses to make state business fees the lowest in the U.S.
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Missouri's fees 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. The bill aims to eliminate a slew of those expenses and instead charge a $5 processing fee for most filings.
Kander said cutting down on paperwork could give owners more time to focus on growing their business.
Republican state Sen. Wayne Wallingford of Cape Girardeau, who sponsored the bill, said eliminating some costs also could encourage aspiring small business owners.
"We want to make it as easy as possible for business owners of all size," Wallingford said, "but really for small businesses."
The legislation comes months after Kander in July 2014 launched a system allowing new and existing businesses to file most paperwork online.
Kander said charging $5 for processing would balance out the fee reductions. The fiscal impact of the legislation has not yet been determined.
Other measures backed by Kander include bills to give some members of the military more time to register to vote or request an absentee ballot. Military members who have returned from deployment or have ended employment outside the U.S. after the voter registration deadline would be eligible to register until 5 p.m. the Friday before an election. They could request absentee ballots until that time, as well.
Another proposed bill would give emergency workers until 5 p.m. the Friday before an election to request an absentee ballot, which could be faxed or sent electronically to them.
Business fee bill is SB157 and HB360.