To start a business in California – register the business in Nevada.

That doesn’t make sense but that is what some business people did because it took time to start a small business in the Golden State. They registered their business in Nevada or some other state just so they can open a bank account and get their business rolling.

Most people think the Secretary of State’s main responsibility is to oversee the integrity of the electoral process. However, the office also is responsible for a slew of business related programs, including registering new businesses.

The Secretary of State’s role on business came into focus last year when Assembly Speaker John Perez criticized the length of time it took for new businesses to get registered. He led an effort to pass legislation, AB 113, to have business filings close in five days instead of the weeks, even months, it took to get the filings recorded.

No wonder some small businesses looked to Nevada. While the situation in California has improved since the legislation passed, some business people still complain at the time it takes to have business filings approved, says Pete Peterson who hears about the problems as he campaigns for the office of Secretary of State.

It is crucial that California becomes business friendly. As a Forbes Magazine article noted this week, “According to a 2011 report from the Kauffman Foundation, in the U.S. , since 1980, “without startups, net job creation for the American economy would be negative in all but a handful of years. As their data shows, nearly all net job creation in the states occurred in firms less than five years old.”

Creating jobs as quickly as possible is a solution to California’s unemployment problems as well as other woes.

In the first debate among Secretary of State candidates, Sen. Alex Padilla said he planned to modernize the business division to help small business. He also highlights business ownership on his campaign website.

At the Republican Convention last weekend, Peterson, put out a detailed plan aimed at improving conditions for business in the Secretary of State’s office.

1. Enable Rapid e-Filing of Small Business Registrations: There’s no good reason other states make it easier than the world’s technology leader to file a business in this state. (He notes that when you open the Nevada Secretary of State site, “Start a Business” is highlighted on the home page. Not so on the California SoS site.)

2. Reduce the $800/year Business Franchise Tax. The tax is so out of whack with most other states that it borders on an injustice to continue charging it.

3. Survey Business Owners through the Registration/Dissolution Forms: Why do businesses start and leave California? The Secretary of State is uniquely positioned to ask a few important questions of California small business owners through the registration and dissolution forms, and report that data back to the Legislature in a “Coming/Going Report”.

4. Keep a running tally of the number of businesses starting and leaving the state through a “BizTracker” on the Secretary of State’s website.

5. Use the business owner email database to communicate with California’s business owner on a regular basis with helpful tips of how they can keep and grow their business in California.

Improving the business environment is important for the fiscal health of California. TheSecretary of State’s office has a big role in making that happen.