Donna Goodrich- Senior Propriator of Top Furniture of Gorham, on behalf of the Retail Merchants Association.
Goodrich represents a third-generation small business, started by her grandfather in 1950.
"Up until ten years ago, 70% of our business came from our neighbors, 30% from out of state. It is now 50-50." She says she has had to cut staff and work harder, but thinks the business will be able to survive the recession.
Goodrich says its difficult to give an honest interpretation of the state's tax structure since she hasn't never been politically motivated. She stressed the importance of the state's "No Sales Tax" policy in attracting business.
"The burden of the Business Profits Tax has increased on New Hampshire businesses." She hopes it isn't raised further, and says any increases would impact her ability to increase staff levels as the ecnonomy recoverd. Goodrich also says the current emergency surcharge in unemployment taxes also makes it hard for her to hire new employees. She also says health care costs make it tough for small businesses to grow.
As a North Country business owner, Goodrich says property taxes are the highest burden she faces, and that property taxes are both too high and unfair across neighboring towns.
She says Gorham businesses pay a rate $21.66, but nearby Ossipee businesses only pay $14.15, while Newington property owners pay just $8.97 per thousand in property taxes. She points out Berlin has the highest property tax rate in the state at $29.82 per thousand.