EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

October 23, 2012

Candidates focus on economy in four-way Senate debate


O’Connor Ives said she is best suited to carry on the district’s tradition of strong representation in the Senate. She said she’s the only candidate likely to get a committee chairmanship and a place at the table when decisions are made. There are 35 Democrats and four Republicans in the Senate.

“Sen. Steve Baddour was a Democrat, but he was also a strong independent person who did a lot of good for this district,” O’Connor Ives said.

The debate, which was sponsored by the Merrimack Valley Chamber of Commerce, focused on economic issues. It was the last of four before the Nov. 6 election.

O’Connor Ives and Kelcourse butted heads over the effectiveness of tax breaks and tax credits in creating jobs in the private sector. O’Connor Ives has said she’s not sure the breaks do much good for the economy.

Kelcourse, citing a recent study, said 684 new jobs were created by the film industry as a result of tax credits, many on the North Shore, between 2006 and 2012.

O’Connor Ives said the film industry tax credits created a net loss for the state of $130 million and that a better use of that money would have been sending it back to cities and towns in state aid.

“We need to do a better job making sure that tax breaks given to certain industries are monitored to make sure those breaks are leading to new jobs and economic development,” she said.

The candidates were asked to give their best ideas for creating jobs.

Magliocchetti said spurring manufacturing is key to reviving the economy. He pitched his plan to consolidate all the state’s economic development agencies into a single one 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.

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