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Economic Realities in the 4th Middlesex

A Lowell Sun article published this morning highlights just how tough life is for the backbone of our local economy, small businesses. Here are my thoughts on the state of affairs.

As we head to the polls next week, we will be voting for one less national position, after we lost a congressional seat in the 2010 census redistricting process. The University of New Hampshire conducted a survey in 2006 that defined the difficulties of living in Massachusetts and uncovered why so many people had chosen to move out of the state. The survey revealed the reasons for the mass exodus out of our state were availability of better jobs, cost of housing, taxes, liberal leaning politics, political leadership, and the “aspirations of the American middle-class are often easier for people to achieve outside the state.” Has anything changed in the past 6 years? Are jobs anymore plentiful today? Is home ownership more attainable? Are the political agendas and leadership leading us toward economic growth and job creation? No, I do not believe much has changed.

Recently Gov. Patrick said “Today’s job numbers are yet another indicator that our growth strategy is working and Massachusetts is leading the nation in economic growth… proves once again that Massachusetts is the preeminent place for companies to expand and grow.” Wake up Governor! Our state is the 3rd worst state to do business, a position formerly held by Louisiana after hurricane Katrina. Our home state can’t blame a natural disaster for destroying our economy. This catastrophe has been created by the political leaderships’ failed agendas, focus on special interest, and irresponsible economic policies! A thriving economy isn’t built by having one of the highest corporate and business tax rates in the country. Instead our flailing labor market has 1 in 2 new college graduates jobless and we lead the nation in the underemployed. I believe lowering the corporate and business capital gains, payroll and property taxes will grow the economy, creating new business opportunities and jobs.

According to CEOs and business owners the Massachusetts “workforce quality” is one of the best in the country. Our state has over 38% of the population with a Bachelor's degree or higher, with Middlesex County over 49%. The current state senator says, “There are a host of industries that have job openings but surprisingly few skilled workers to fill those jobs”, and “only 32% of Massachusetts workers have the education required to fill those positions.” Whose “skill level” is behind the State’s 88% increase in food stamp assistance? The numbers don’t add up, is it you and I are not educated enough? Or is it ‘pass the buck’, self-serving state legislators causing the problem?

Thanks to ‘professional legislators’ who don’t know which side of a business balance sheet taxes and regulations go on, out of control spending on special interests and $35 billion in unfunded liabilities has added over $11,000 dollars to every man, woman and child’s debt in our state. To add insult to injury, Sen. Donnelly voted against creating a more business friendly state by voting against a TAX CREDIT FOR BUSINESSES THAT CREATE JOBS (S2015) because the state can’t afford $100 million loss in taxes and Middlesex County has one of the highest property tax rates in the country. How many overrides has our state senator prevented? None. Ask the folks living in Arlington, Sen. Donnelly’s hometown, how many they’ve endured. Is this the political leadership you want from your elected representative?

The next time you hear a politician say how great the State’s economy is and how rosy the job market is ask a friend, colleague or neighbor if they know someone or family that is struggling to make ends meet. Today’s article by Evan Lipps details the struggles in our own district, with a local Billerica business owner saying this latest economic plunge is "interestingly enough, the worse I have seen in my 35 years of professional experience." It’s time for leadership on Beacon Hill that has private sector experience, and that knows first hand the struggles small business owners face on a daily basis.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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