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Another View -- Matt Mayberry: A piping hot bowl of red tape

December 06. 2017 12:21AM

I recently attended the 2017 Londonderry-Derry Chamber of Commerce Annual Dinner. That evening, the Sonshine Soup Kitchen won the Business of the Year Award. Linda German, a firecracker of an activist, talked about making ends meet during hard times, and she said something profound and unfortunately accurate.

“We don’t take any money from the state or the federal government. You know why? It’s because I don’t want to serve a piping hot bowl of red tape every day.”

And she’s right. The federal government would come in and dictate things such as serving portions. These volunteers just want to feed people, provide fellowship, and comfort those in need.

The Sonshine Soup Kitchen is not alone. I have traveled to all 234 towns and cities in New Hampshire. I toured an apple orchard and learned how the burden of federal regulations forced the farm out of $250,000 of annual wholesale business.

The National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) released a survey that said government red tape is a “very serious problem” for 25 percent of small businesses, while 55 percent of small employers feel the sheer volume and complexity of red tape burdens their business.

Government paperwork strikes at the smallest of New Hampshire industries. The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) regulated that the six New Hampshire-based fishing vessels must have a paid monitor onboard to document the type of fish and the volume of each catch, at a cost of $700 per day. That is often more than what the fishermen earn each day.

We know about the problems at the Manchester VA. Veterans tell me that they wait two to three hours to see a doctor. Red tape is not the bandage healing the wounds; it’s the infection hurting everything it touches.

As candidates begin staking their claim for Congress, we need to demand concrete answers, not empty talking points. Representing us in Washington should be about customer service. We need to eliminate barriers so that individuals can get back on their feet, non-profits can lend a hand, and businesses can create more good-paying jobs. Enough is enough. I’ve personally had my fill of the piping hot bowl of red tape. How about you?

Matt Mayberry is a former city councilor and school board member living in Dover.

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