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Giuliani, in Salem, endorses Smith for governor

Union Leader Correspondent

August 15. 2012 10:34PM
Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani greets guests at a fundraiser held for New Hampshire gubernatorial candidate Kevin Smith at Tuscan Kitchen in Salem. (JULIE HANSON/Union Leader Correspondent)

SALEM - Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani is offering his endorsement of Kevin Smith for governor of New Hampshire.

Giuliani offered his support for Smith at a luncheon in Tuscan Kitchen in Salem attended by local politicians, businessmen, and police and fire representatives.

'We need a President who understands business. You need a governor who understands business,' Giuliani said. 'If we can do that, we have a tremendous recovery ahead.'

The Granite State needs a governor with a vision of how to grow jobs, Giuliani said, which can only be done by creating an environment where businesses can be profitable.

New Hampshire once had a reputation as a state where taxes were low and government stayed out of your hair, Giuliani said, but years of Democratic leadership have ruined that.

His greatest criticisms were reserved for the Obama administration and Vice President Joe Biden, whom he called 'an embarrassment.'

Giuliani said he was criticizing Biden Wednesday for comments Biden made on a campaign stop the day before in Virginia.

Before an audience made up in part of African-Americans, Biden said that if Romney is elected President, the GOP might put 'y'all back in chains.'

'Here's why Joe Biden did it. Because Joe Biden is dumb,' Giuliani said.

He saidr New Hampshire will return to its pro-business, low tax roots under Smith's leadership.

'It requires political will,' Giuliani said. 'It requires somebody at the top who wants to get it done.'

Giuliani offered examples of New Jersey and Ohio, which he said improved their economies by lowering taxes and limiting regulations.

'This has to be done here in New Hampshire if you want to maintain your competitive edge,' Giuliani said.

Sharing his own experience, Giuliani said the hotel occupancy tax was killing the tourism industry when he became mayor of New York. By lowering taxes he was able to attract more business conventions and increase revenue. Tourism dollars fueled other businesses such as restaurants and transportation, he said.

Smith said he's ready to lead the recovery in New Hampshire.

'I feel I'm uniquely qualified because I bring the best solution to the table for our state,' Smith said.

It's vital for the state's next governor to have a long-term financial plan, Smith said. The state government is responsible for creating a climate and atmosphere for small business to prosper, he said.

First on his agenda is lowering corporate tax rates and health insurance costs, Smith said.

'Those two things are killing business right now,' he said.

A business-friendly atmosphere would allow the state to aggressively recruit businesses from neighboring states and reduce the need for New Hampshire residents to commute to other job markets, Smith said.

Business owner Chad Taylor is a friend of Smith's. Smith asked him to consider New Hampshire as the site for his company's new data center, Taylor said. The center would create 60 to 70 jobs, he said. The state's corporate tax rate has caused some hesitation, he said.

'If New Hampshire is going to remain competitive it has to have a corporate tax rate that's competitive, he said.

Bruce Breton, chairman of the Windham Board of Selectmen, said he was honored to have Giuliani come to the Salem and Windham area and supports Smith for his good business plan and realistic and reasonable approach to expanded gambling. Smith also has experience in the Legislature and writing policy, Breton said.

'I think Kevin will make a great governor,' Breton said.

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