OSWEGO, NY – Representative Ann Marie Buerkle (NY-25) hosted her 20th town hall meeting Wednesday at the Fair Haven Fire Hall.
“A man who had been in the investment business for more than 40 years walked over to me and said, ‘The only thing the government has ever done for me is stand in my way. It stands in the way of all these people,’” Buerkle told Oswego County Today later that day. “The government puts up obstacles, barriers to success. We’ve got to get away from that,” she said.
“These small businesses are the backbone of the American economy; they are the people who have the dream and want to work hard,” she said during a brief interview at Port City Café and Bakery on West First Street in Oswego. “The policies of this administration and my predecessor are ones that don’t encourage entrepreneurship. There are too many regulations, taxes.”
The Republican seeking re-election to the congressional district that will now include Oswego said government has to step back and allow people to pursue their dreams.
“We have to unleash those people. We have to encourage them,” she said. “You decide you’re going to grow your dream; you’re going to grow a business, we’re not going to stand in your way. We’re not going to tax and regulate you until you go out of business.”
Raising taxes, she added, would hurt all small businesses.
“If you raise taxes, they’re the ones who are going to get hurt. Raising taxes in this economy in not the answer. It’s not the right way to go. They knew it in 2010 and now is not the time to either,” she said.
“I’ve talked to hundreds of business owners. They say they are taxed too much. They are regulated too much and there is so much uncertainty they are almost paralyzed – they don’t want to spend the money to invest in more equipment or to hire more people. They don’t know how the health care law is going to affect them. So they don’t grow,” she continued.
For those even considering starting their own business or expanding their current business, they look at the regulatory environment and they are fearful that they can’t navigate through it, Buerkle pointed out.
“The cost of regulations in this country imposed on our businesses is more than a trillion dollars. Those costs are all transferred to the consumer; everything is factored in when you go to buy something,” she said. “The government needs to send a message to the private sector – you with your ingenuity and your work ethic, you’re the answer and we’re going to step back and we’re going let you do what you do best.”
Part of the problem is Washington is disconnected with the people who live in this country, she said.
“They’re down there, cranking out these regulations and they have no idea, no concept, of how it applies to a coffee shop of First Street in Oswego. They have no idea what that regulation means to the real business people, to the farmers,” the candidate said. “It’s the disconnect that people are upset about. You’re down there coming up with these regulations that make my life harder and I’m up here just trying to earn a living and put food on the table.”
“Not only do we have to be careful about regulations going forward, we have to look back and see what regulations aren’t working and get rid of them because they are stifling the economy,” she added.
Buerkle said she thinks presidential hopeful Mitt Romney made a good choice in selecting his running mate.
“I’m very pleased with his choice. I think that Paul Ryan is a man who cares deeply about this country. He has a vision and a plan and has the courage to put forth that plan,” she said. “We haven’t seen a plan from the president, we haven’t seen a plan from the senate. And what (Ryan) put forth is a place for us to start the discussion about how we are going to get the country back on track; a sound fiscal track where we aren’t spending more money than we take in, a plan for Medicare, a plan for Social Security. We don’t hear anything from the other side.”
“It’s been an adventure getting to know the new district. The issues I have heard over and over again are the jobs and the economy,” she said, adding, “(The campaign) truly is a rematch of two very different visions of how we’re going to do it, what our solutions are to get the economy back on track.”
Reflecting on the close race last time she ran for office, she smiled and said, “We are going to work really hard.”