Speak up for state’s small businesses

To the Editor:

Small businesses in New Hampshire are critical to economic success. But now, the Granite State’s small businesses are facing a problem.

A federal policy decided in Washington more than five years ago gave big-box stores an annual $6 billion to $8 billion handout at the expense of small merchants. This policy placed price controls on debit interchange fees, which businesses pay to accept and authorize debit card transactions, and thus eliminated the free market, which is driven by competition.

Prior to the Durbin Amendment, interchange fees were typically based on the percentage of a sale, helping to ensure the cost wouldn’t override the profits of merchants with lower-priced items. With interchange fees now based on a flat fee, small businesses have seen their fees rise, putting them at a disadvantage to larger players in their markets. Even worse, the $6 billion to $8 billion revenue gap is affecting banks’ ability to serve their customers, leading to the loss of free business checking accounts and branch closures.

If our "Main Streets" do not prosper, our local and state economies cannot thrive. It’s time to repeal the failed Durbin Amendment and help our small businesses grow. Be sure to share your thoughts with your U.S. senators and congressmen soon.

Maureen Mooney,
Former state representative