For the past couple months Democratic candidate for Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes has been campaigning on a simple issue of turning the office – should she win – into a “one-stop shop” for business. In fact, the press release announcing her candidacy on January 20 included the following:
Grimes says that as an attorney she has worked with the Secretary of State’s office regularly and has the “know-how” to make it work better. She pledged to make the office a one-stop shop for economic development and create an environment that encourages businesses to come to Kentucky. Gimes says, this “means more jobs and a brighter future for Kentucky and its citizens. Kentucky’s next Secretary of State must be an ambassador to business.”
It’s been mentioned during every campaign stop and in every piece of electronic communication from the Grimes campaign. It’s been a big deal to her.
But that may soon have to change.
With little fanfare, the State House unanimously approved Senate Bill 8 last Thursday. And, as you might expect, (Grimes’ opponent) Elaine Nogay Walker issued a press release touting SB8 as her “top legislative priority.” Below is an excerpt:
Secretary of State Elaine Walker applauds the unanimous House passage of Senate Bill 8, which will lead to the creation of a One Stop Business Portal for Kentucky. A One Stop electronic portal will give businesses a direct link to all state agencies within the Commonwealth in one, simple to use online location. Walker made this legislation a cornerstone of her legislative agenda as Secretary of State in her efforts improve the state’s business climate and promote economic development.
“As a small business owner, I understand the benefits that a completed One Stop will provide for small and medium sized businesses. Kentucky’s One Stop will lower the cost for businesses and government alike and make it easier for businesses to relocate, expand and create more jobs in Kentucky,” Secretary Walker stated. Walker added, “this is what we’re able to do when we can come together to work for the commonwealth. We crafted strong legislation and will implement a world-class One Stop Business Portal that will create jobs here in the Commonwealth.”
The successful passage of Senate Bill 8 will require a comprehensive assessment of the processes, potential efficiencies, scope, and cost of a One Stop program. Through a One Stop web portal, businesses will be able to log onto the State’s site, register their business or file their annual report, register with the Finance cabinet, pay their taxes, sign up for unemployment insurance and ultimately acquire their professional board’s license. Entrepreneurs using the new portal will fill in vital information once rather than multiple times on myriad forms thereby streamlining the process allowing businesses to spend time less time filling out paperwork with the commonwealth and more time creating jobs.
While Walker is wrongly claiming credit for the legislation by saying “we crafted” – she had nothing to do with it, it was first introduced to the State Senate on January 4, long before she was appointed to the office – this serves as a bit of a blow to the Grimes campaign platform.
Now that the bill has passed and the Secretary of State’s office will officially be a “one-stop shop,” doesn’t that mean Walker has accomplished (without doing anything) the very thing Grimes wants to do in 2012?