Monday morning I sat down with a number of local businessmen and women in Derry, NH. We met over coffee at T-Bone’s Restaurant. While there were some individual concerns, an overarching theme was that not enough was being done to help improve New Hampshire’s economy and its small businesses. Listening to some of their problems reinforced what I had gathered from my last business roundtable in Laconia, and my recent tour of Exeter.
Once again, the owners cited cash flow as a major issue. This reminded me of comments made by the owner Arjay’s Ace Hardware in Exeter who said, “Flat is the new good.” Everyone at the table seemed to agree that one of their foremost concerns was maintaining their customer base and seeing that their revenue returned to healthy operating levels. What can we do to help this?
A major theme that arose from this discussion was different ways to foster New Hampshire’s local economy using a number of different strategies. One thought was to alleviate those tax burdens that make starting a business difficult, and to then use business incubating measures as a way to ensure that these start-ups can do their best to succeed. Another proposal was to promote public transportation in order to help facilitate commuters and allow more people to work in NH’s strong commercial centers. Everyone was concerned that new healthcare taxes would also threaten their ability to stay in operation. I want to ease these fears and promote economic growth.
This was something that I pursued adamantly as Mayor of Manchester. In order to help our local economy I lowered taxes and instituted a spending cap. I also fought hard for projects like the Elliot at River’s Edge, the largest development in New Hampshire since the Mall of New Hampshire opened in 1977. This new development has created jobs and helped spur growth in surrounding locations. Encouraging private growth creates private sector jobs which add money back into the economy helping everyone. And it didn’t take government stimulus or tax dollars to accomplish.
One story in particular sheds light on the burden small businesses face in their infancy. One of the owners in attendance had started his business five years ago and had just opened a new location in Manchester on Monday morning. However, he remains pessimistic that payroll taxes and new government regulations make starting his new branch even more difficult. I want to restore faith in New Hampshire’s economy and the American dream, and want to work to bring some security to the entrepreneurs who fuel our commercial centers.
This was another productive gathering. Not only was I able meet more of the people I want to represent, but I also continued to learn firsthand what New Hampshire residents need. I am running for Congress to make sure that you the voter is represented to the fullest.