Gipson touts small business growth, campaign reform for N.Y.
By Michael Garofalo
Published: Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Updated: Thursday, November 10, 2011 15:11
Terry Gipson is a business owner and member of the Rhinebeck Village Board of Trustees, but he wants to be the next senator of the 41st district.
“I believe that small business is really the key to solving the jobs crisis in New York State and especially in the Mid-Hudson valley area, which I’m running in,” Gipson, Democratic party candidate, said.
Gipson has 20 years of experience in design. He currently owns and operates Gipson Design Group Inc. out of Rhinebeck, about 15 miles north of campus.
“The biggest obstacle right now for small business owners is the exorbitant amount of taxing,” Gipson said.
He cited high property taxes as one factor that increases the cost of running a business.
One of Gipson’s job plans is a government fund for new small businesses. The fund would allocate money to help pay for a percentage of employees’ pay for the first two or three years, he suggested about 20 percent as a possible figure. Businesses would have to comply with certain rules, such as being required to hire local employees.
The immediate concern with allocating tax dollars to small businesses is the possibility of their failure. A similar situation occurred in the past with green company Solyndra’s bankruptcy. Gipson said that any policy has the potential to fail, but if enough businesses succeed, there will still be a net gain.
“Giving a company a tax incentive is also a failure,” he said. “You’re giving them a tax break, which means you are denying the state ‘x’ amount of revenue that you’re not going to be getting from that company, and in return you’re hoping that company will be successful and hire a lot of people and create jobs, and that will ultimately help make up for the lack of revenue.”
If a business failed after receiving a tax break, there would be a loss of revenue and still no new jobs, he said.
Gipson said that starting a small business is challenging with limited capital, so businesses benefit from help early on, as opposed to possible tax incentives that they may never reach.
“You pay taxes on a profit. If you’re not making a profit, then a tax incentive doesn’t really do you any good,” he said.
Gipson believes that the money to fund this program can be found by cutting government waste.
Governor Cuomo’s office estimated in an Oct. 12 press release that $600 million can be cut in New York over five years.
The press release lists these specific areas for cutting: “Transforming the procurement process by harnessing the state’s full buying power to reduce costs, eliminating costly empty space leased by the state, modernizing information technology systems, improving customer service, and streamlining business services.”
The entire press release can be found at the governor’s website: http://www.governor.ny.gov/press/10122011ImproveGovernmentEfficiency.
“Let’s not cut the money; let’s divert the money to a program like we’re talking about: a small business creation program,” Gipson said.
In addition to his views on economics, Gipson discussed his ideas on campaign reform.
“[Albany] is essentially a big giant casino where, really, the people who have the money to pay, who have the money to invest, are the people that get the most attention,” he said.
Because Gipson is relatively new to politics – having held only one position on the Rhinebeck Village Board of Trustees – he said that he has no obligations to any lobbyist. At the same time, he acknowledged that it takes a lot of money to become elected in the first place, and said he would look with caution at potential campaign donors.
But the casino format that he kept referring to essentially forces candidates to engage in an arms race for campaign funds. That is why he is a proponent of a policy in which candidates are publicly funded with the same amount of money. The only other alternative that Gipson would support is a cap on the overall amount of money any one candidate can raise, as well as the amount one contributor can give.
This very issue flooded news outlets in early 2010 in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, when the Supreme Court held that laws limiting campaign contributions violate the First Amendment. More information about the case can be found on http://supremecourt.gov.
But Gipson sees some inequality in current policies. He said that unrestricted donations from one person or group too often causes a tendency for candidates to reciprocate. It also places disproportionate focus on wealthier voters, he said.
“Your representatives, who are supposed to be up there working for you every day, are spending a big part of their time raising money,” he said.
Among other topics, Gipson spoke on the importance of redistricting based upon natural terrain and population, and his disapproval of hydrofracking.
Republican Senator Stephen M. Saland is currently the representative for the 41st district. The New York State Senate election is not until November 2012, and it is too early for the Republican Party to announce a candidate. The Circle intends to speak with Saland to represent his perspective to readers, but not to implicate his candidacy in the 2012 campaign.