Hodes promotes jobs, small business on NH economic tour
April 15, 2010
PLYMOUTH — It was an informal "hot dog" stop on an ambitious statewide Middle Class Jobs Tour last week, but Congressman Paul Hodes was fired up to talk to anyone who would listen about what we need to do to create jobs and support small business in New Hampshire.
Hodes is a Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Senator Judd Gregg. As aides circulated copies of his Jobs Plan, Hodes greeted customers at Plymouth's popular Junkyard Dawgs eatery, an example of the creative, successful small business establishments that he insists are the backbone of the economy of New Hampshire. "Small business is big business in New Hampshire," said Rep. Hodes. "Some 70 percent of our jobs are created by small businesses." Hodes was both sober about the current economic crisis and optimistic about the way forward as he spelled out his economic recovery plan.
The Hodes jobs plan emphasizes reducing taxes to encourage small business investment, tax credits for businesses that create jobs and disincentives for companies that send jobs overseas. He also seeks to expand credit for small businesses through an increased lending program through the Small Business Administration. He advocates additional micro-lending, and increasing support for veteran and women owned businesses. He insists that healthcare reform will lower costs for small businesses, which will also contribute to job growth while allowing healthcare coverage for many more small business employees. In New Hampshire alone he said that 35,000 small businesses will get a tax credit this year to help them provide healthcare for their employees. "This is an absolutely critical first step in revitalizing our business community," said Rep. Hodes.
"We are facing the greatest economic challenge in generations," said Rep. Hodes. "Not since the great depression have we seen such difficult economic times. Unfortunately, we didn't get here by accident. We borrowed a billion dollars from China to fight a war in Iraq and we gave tax cuts to the rich while most working folks and the middle class slid backwards. We let Wall Street go wild building a house of cards economy on a foundation of sand that has washed away. Now our job is to create the granite building blocks of a working economy for the 21st century."
Hodes said that it is critical for our national security as well as economic recovery that the United States take the lead in creating the clean energy jobs of the future. "We should be number one in the world in energy efficiency and the development of renewable energy," said Hodes. "We need to revitalize our specialty manufacturing base, especially here in New Hampshire, because we have an enormous wealth that will be lost if we don't invest in it."
Hodes said that in his assessment, the economy has begun to "stabliize" and things are beginning to turn around. "Some of the numbers that are coming out give us reason to hope that things will continue to get better," said Hodes. "But just because things are getting better, doesn't mean that there isn't a lot of work to do, because working families, middle class families and small businesses can't wait. It is going to take government policies to help. It's not government that creates jobs. It is small business that creates jobs. But there is a lot that government can do to create the conditions that help business to create jobs."
When asked about the climate in Washington, Hodes said that he felt that politicians had for too long been geared to a two year electoral cycle to try get things done, but the challenges we face will require the work of a lifetime not just a few years. This will require a new way of thinking. But he also was reasonably sanguine about the state of political discourse in Washington. "It has been an interesting year," said Rep. Hodes. "It hasn't always been pretty, but that is how our democracy works. We passed a major piece of legislation and that is the first this has been done in the "YouTube, Twitter and talk radio era. There has been a lot of debate. Occasionally it has degenerated into name calling which isn't very informative, but most of it has been healthy. We have had a very important national dialogue on a vastly important subject."
Rep. Hodes spoke with great affection and obvious pride about the "New Hampshire way of life", saying that he feels strongly that the state has a lot to offer the rest of the nation as a model for creating and maintaining "sustainable communities."
"As your senator I am going to do everything I can to make this state and this country everything that we want it to be," said Rep. Hodes. "It's time that somebody stood up for the middle class and small business in New Hampshire. That is what my campaign is all about."