Ohio May Collect Information On-line

P> State Rep. William Batchelder of Ohio hopes the Internet can help eliminate the burdens that government paperwork puts on businesses. Batchelder introduced a bill that would require all state agencies to use a single electronic form to collect required information. The information collected can range from sales tax submissions to worker compensation data.

According to the Ohio chapter of the National Federation of Independent Businesses, 15 percent of Ohio businesses spend more than $12,000 a year to fill out forms required by the state. Fifty percent of businesses in the state spend $150 to $1,000 per month to fill out the forms.

Businesses always complain that government paperwork is repetitive, said Jay Carson, a legislative aide to Batchelder. By requiring a single form, businesses wouldn't have to repeatedly submit the same data, such as their address. The bill would require that agencies store information in a central database. Some areas of the database, such as tax information, would be secure so that unauthorized users could not access confidential data.

Originally, the idea was to use a paper form, then we realized it would be easier for everyone if businesses made electronic submissions, said Carson. Eventually, using the Internet as a means of collecting the information was conceived, he said.

The House should pass the bill without a problem, but it's not easy to predict what will happen in the Senate, said Carson.

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