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October 11, 2012

Hopefuls spar in Methuen

Pitch ideas for spurring economy and tourism, positions on casinos and civilian flagmen

(Continued)

Magliocchetti, a lawyer and member of the Haverhill School Committee, said he would consolidate all the state’s economic development agencies into a single one to give businesses easy access to advice and funding, eliminating confusion and waste, he said. He also touted his plan to create tax-free zones in local downtowns and a graduated sales tax system in which taxes would be lower or higher depending on a community’s proximity to tax-free New Hampshire.

Kelcourse, also a lawyer and Amesbury City Councilor, said he would push for more tax-free holidays and developing incentives to attract emerging industries like solar, wind and medical to the region.

O’Connor Ives, a Newburyport City Councilor, said she prefers to see the state invest in “low-risk” local transportation projects and education, which provide jobs to people in the district.

“I’m not sure tax breaks lead to economic development and jobs,” she said.

Toohey, a mortgage banker and eight-year veteran of the Haverhill School Committee, said he would focus on lowering Massachusetts electricity rates, which are among the highest in the country.

If elected, Toohey said he would like to serve on the budget-writing Ways and Means Committee.

“As a member of the School Committee for eight years and a self-employed businessman, I look at budgets closely,” Toohey said. “I want the state to look at zero-based budgets and go line by line to make sure every expense is justified.”

Magliocchetti said he wants to be on the Senate’s economic development committee to push his plan to consolidate and improve the many state agencies aimed at helping small business owners.

O’Connor Ives also opted for the economic development committee, with consumer protection and education as her back-ups. As a Democrat, O’Connor Ives said she is the only candidates with a realistic chance of chairing a committee in the Democrat-dominated Senate. Kelcourse said he would prefer economic development or traffic and transportation.

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