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March 5, 2013

Local Business Confidence Index remains high

PLATTSBURGH — North Country business owners continue to show trust in the region’s economic outlook, a recent survey shows.

The Business Confidence Index, unveiled by the North Country Chamber of Commerce as part of its Annual Issue Survey, stood at 90 percent, compared to 91 percent last year.

North Country Chamber of Commerce President Garry Douglas said the new number was gratifying.

“It has remained remarkably optimistic and virtually unchanged from last year,” he said.

The results showed 65 percent of respondents believe business will increase, and 25 expect it to remain steady. Those figures were 69 percent and 22 percent, respectively, last year.

The optimism in the local economy contrasts sharply with the national outlook. Only 24 percent responding to the survey said they believe the national economy will improve, 37 percent think it will stay steady, and 39 expect it will worsen.

Douglas said those beliefs were usually the opposite 10 to 12 years ago.

The chamber credits a resurgence in Canadian tourism; shopping and investment; the growth of Plattsburgh International Airport; major contracts at Bombardier and Nova Bus; the success of the North Country Regional Economic Development Council; and higher-than-expected sales- and occupancy-tax revenues as the main reasons for the local outlook.

WANT JOB CREATION

Regarding the federal level, the survey revealed 91 percent of business owners believe spending and debt must be decreased.

Asked what the government should do to support job creation and growth, 88 percent called for mandate and regulation reduction, 86 percent want less government spending, and 81 percent want to see tax relief for business and also job creation.

In addition, 78 percent believe the Affordable Health Care Act will increase costs for businesses, and 70 percent said it will eliminate jobs and discourage job creation. 

Douglas said the chamber plans a major outreach campaign later this year to provide information to help businesses respond to the upcoming changes. 

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