To The Reader's Forum:
It was around noon on Christmas Eve. I had a decision to make. I could go to a big box store or a small business for a Christmas gift. I decided to go to the small business. Why? We who are part of the TEA Party intend to do what we can locally to help those operating small businesses.
When I got to the shop, the doors were locked. I was 15 minutes too late. Walking back to my car, the owner yelled from the store, "Come on in." I went in. He showed me what was available and made a beautiful Franny floral arrangement for a wonderful present.
If I had gone to a big box store minutes after closing, would I have been let in? Would there have been that kind of personal attention at a big box store that I received from the owner of the small business? Little things make an impression.
It's translating into business choices. Local small businesses don't have the advantage of greater exposure for the sale of their gifts cards that chain restaurants and big businesses do. Having the opportunity to conveniently purchase a gift card for a chain restaurant, I instead drove the "extra mile" to a local restaurant and bought one of theirs. Even in small ways, we can bless local businesses.
Not only that, we ought to be aware of what they're up against. Start Up NY excludes them. If you have a new business or a business from another state and locate it in a zone around a SUNY campus, you get monster tax breaks and a stack of perks. What about the businesses here already? They lose out while the "winners" get the benefits. After the state made equality an issue in marriage, equality is off the table for local businesses. The "playing field" is uneven in Start Up NY. Your business is disqualified from the start if it's not expanding, new, out of state or just the "wrong" kind. It looks as crony as the SAFE Act is phony.
Critics of the TEA Party smear the group with accusations of being on the side of big corporations. If that were so, wouldn't we be in support of the TransPacific Partnership? We're not. Locally, we want to come along side of businesses already here, but left out of the advantages rigged for the "right" businesses in Start Up NY.
The Rev. Mel McGinnis