As the November election approaches Congressman Dan Benishek (R) has been busy visiting small business within the 32 counties of Michigan's 1st Congressional District to gauge the concerns and needs of the owners and operators. During his stop in Alpena on Friday he visited T.I. Forest Products and made an appearance at the "Rebuild America-Defeat Obama" rally held at the Alpena County Fairgrounds.
Benishek said small business owners are being burdened by many of the regulations in place in Washington. He said small business are handcuffed and forced to pay silly penalties for things they shouldn't have to.
"I've talked to hundreds of small business owners and one thing that continues to come up are the regulations at the state and federal level. They make it tough on them to do business," Benishek said. "They are not having a problem finding customers, as much as they are having problems dealing with the government. Many of the regulations are unreasonable. One man I know got a citation for having aspirin on a desk, because that allows for people to self medicate on the job. Those are the type of things that are a little bit over the top and make it expensive to do business. That's just a minor one; there are a lot of major inconveniences."
Benishek said the current tax breaks that were enacted under the Bush administration and set to expire, are important for small businesses and need to be extended until a new tax plan can be put in place. He said if the tax breaks are allowed to expire the higher rates on the nation's "1 percent" also will affect business owners. As a result of paying more in taxes, some owners may be stopped from expanding or hiring.
Benishek sits on the Veteran Affairs Committee. He said serving on the board is one of his favorite duties. He said Michigan's 1st District is home to one of the largest population in the country and because many live in remote locations, require special assistance.
Benishek, who has been critical of the president's health care law, his handing of the economy and lack of communications with Republicans and Democrats in the House of Representatives, said Romney had a strong showing during Wednesday's first presidential debate. He said the president may not have fared too well because he is aware of the problems he has created and the solutions he lacks.
"The president doesn't have a whole lot he can say about how things are improving. We still have high unemployment in the country, the debt is up and I don't think his policies have been effective," Benishek said. "It is tough for him to run on his record and he simply castigates Mr. Romney about his ideas. I think Mr. Romney was effective in letting people know the president's policies haven't worked and we need a change of leadership in Washington. The president is not engaged in Congress. I had members of the president's staff come to my office once when I first got there, but otherwise I haven't heard from the president. Neither have the Democratic members of the House. The president or even his staff are not engaged at all."
Steve Schulwitz can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 358-5689.