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Shaheen talks small business in Meredith

U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen visited the Meredith Fire Department last Friday, taking a tour and talking about what the Senate has in store for small businesses in the area.

Chief Ken Jones of the Meredith Fire Department took Shaheen for a tour of the recently renovated facility, which is about twice the size it once was, with antique memorabilia displayed throughout the building.

Shaheen, who has relatives in Meredith, said she enjoys visiting on the lake from time to time and was curious to see what one of the newest stations in the state was all about.

"The community should be proud of their new station," said Shaheen.

Noting that many businesses in Meredith and the Lakes Region are modest in size and family owned, Shaheen addressed an unemployment insurance extension passed by the Senate last Wednesday and said a small business bill should also be on its way.

Shaheen, a member of the Small Business Committee, said it was important to address unemployment in the nation, and to address it as soon as possible.

"Twenty thousand people would have lost their unemployment benefits in the next four months," said Shaheen. "About five people are looking for every job opening. This (extension) provides support - it's a good economic stimulus."

Since most people spend their unemployment checks immediately on groceries and other necessities, Shaheen said it's good to know they won't suffer while waiting for the economy to improve.

Shaheen said the small business bill would benefit New Hampshire in particular because 96 percent of its businesses would be categorized under this bill. Businesses would be able to access capital, access credit in order to grow and expand, and utilize SBA lending programs. There would also be perks for banks to expand their loans and for auto dealers struggling with finances, along with funding to the state.

"We worked hard on this," said Shaheen. "We are trying to get help and fundraise for small businesses. We know most of the jobs being created will be small businesses."

This will also provide help for export assistance, and although most medium and small businesses don't typically export, the SBA will help expand exporting so businesses can make their mark overseas.

"Economists say consumer spending is probably not going back up. We need to be able to sell products and do well," said Shaheen.

She said one printing press in New Hampshire invested two thirds of its business into international markets and has done so ever since the economy spiraled downward.

Tax cuts will also be provided for small businesses through the bill.

"I think this will be important to help small businesses - it will help us to create the jobs that we need," said Shaheen.