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Lee Forms Buffalo Small Business Advisory Board

By Joyce Kryszak

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/wbfo/local-wbfo-832043.mp3

Amherst, NY – 26th District United States Congressman Chris Lee is starting small to come up with some big ideas for growing the economy. Lee held his first meeting Thursday of the Buffalo Small Business Advisory Board.

The inaugural meeting brought together 30 local small business leaders who deal in everything from manufacturing to finance. They were eager to share their opinions with Lee about what the government could do to help them thrive - or in today's economy - to survive. Lee said there were a lot of specific ideas. But one clear message.

"Get government out of the way, both from Washington and Albany," said Lee.

There's not much Lee can do about Albany. But he said he has already helped introduce four bills in Congress. They include creating tax credits for new start-up small businesses and for research and development. Amherst developer Paul Ciminelli said they can use all the help they can get. He said regulations are an even bigger issue than taxes.

That was echoed by Craig Turner from the Buffalo Niagara Partnership. He said the Partnership is grateful to have a business advocate in Washington.

But it is unclear how much influence Lee will have in D.C. Lee downplayed the fact that he is a freshman in the minority party. Lee said he is ready to reach across the aisle to resolve issues, such as health care, that are crushing businesses.

Lee said he soon will be rolling out some health care alternatives to the president's plan, developed in part through the new small business advisory board. The board plans to meet twice each year.

Click the audio player above to hear Joyce Kryszak's story now or use your podcasting software to download it to your computer or iPod.