This winter may prove to be a watershed in the effort to remove some of the shackles on business here in the commonwealth and throughout the country. And this realization that less red tape equates to more jobs is something to be welcomed with the national unemployment rate hovering around 9 percent and this week's announcement that the state jobless rate held at 8.3 percent in January — better than an increase, but hardly the sign of a robust recovery.

And it appears legislators on Beacon Hill and in Washington, finally, are trying to help.

In the past weeks, the House, Senate, Gov. Patrick, and the Workers' Compensation Rating and Inspection Bureau have worked to freeze unemployment insurance rates for this year.

And Thursday on Capitol Hill, the House of Representatives voted 314-112 in favor of repealing a provision on the new health care law imposing odious tax filing requirements on millions of businesses beginning in 2012.

But needed changes can't stop there, particularly here in the Bay State, which was recently identified as one of the 15 most business-unfriendly states in the country in a report prepared for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Among the factors contributing to the state's "poor" ranking:

Extensive restrictions on pre-hire background checks.

Prevailing and living wage laws.

Wide-ranging state employment discrimination laws beyond federal requirements.

Extensive wage-hour regulation beyond federal requirements.

Singled out for particular criticism was a law passed in 2008 over Gov. Patrick's objections that imposes mandatory treble damages for even inadvertent employer violations of the state's wage-hour laws.

Among the New England states, three — Massachusetts, Maine and Connecticut — received a ranking of "poor"; while New Hampshire, Vermont and Rhode Island were rated "fair" in terms of how their employment laws impact job growth.

Patrick, Senate Preident Therese Murray and House Speaker Robert DeLeo continue to insist that creating new jobs is their No. 1 priority.

But as Associated Industries of Massachusetts points out, the path to accomplishing that lies not in doing away with regulations altogether, but in "creating a less burdensome regulatory climate" that encourages business and job growth.

Trending Video

Recommended for you