Publisher's Note: Best of Hippo
By Jody Reese
Finally, the thousands of votes are in and tallied and the list of winners starts on page 13. A huge thank you to all of you who voted — more than ever before! And a thank you to our staff who took the time to sort, research and compile the winners — even online it took almost a week of work. We had more than 300 winners this year from all over the region.
To me the Best of Hippo is a great way for readers to tell us what they find special about the place where they live. It’s our user-generated content. Since we don’t include chains (they aren’t specific to southern New Hampshire), we get a great sense of what people value about Hippo nation. It’s the parks, the corner market, the gadflies and the food. We’re a community and we enjoy the fellowship that brings.
To be clear (my disclaimer if you’re disappointed), all winners have been picked by the readers, not our staff. We just count them.
It’ll be months or even years before the impact of federal spending is felt in the economy, but there are already positive signs that people and businesses aren’t taking it on the nose.
National reports suggest a rise in the number of small businesses opening as people who are out of work look to themselves instead of big business or the government to hire or bail them out. The federal government is looking to make it easier to open a business with proposed changes to the tax code.
That’s great, but what are local town governments doing to make it easier to work through their maze of bureaucracy? It’s great to get a Fidelity to move into town, but the most likely economic engine for a boom is the little guy. It’s him or her (more likely now to be a woman) opening a small cleaning, gift card or landscaping business and creating a few jobs. It’s these very businesses that can’t afford to hire an attorney or a specialist to get them through the municipal codes. And I understand that many public employees don’t believe it’s their job to help people muddle through the rules. They want you to hire someone.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way and working that way will ultimately hurt those very municipal employees. If people are discouraged from starting small business, there won’t be the economic engine to get people hired; property values and fees will continue to fall and finally cities and towns will have to lay off more people.
City and town governments need plans to help people start small businesses for everyone’s benefit. We should have easy- to-use packages that explain all rules in one place and take a new business owner through them one at a time.