WDAZ: Your Home Team

Published February 02, 2011, 10:21 PM

Business Leaders Tell Berg 'Uncertainty' Is Biggest Challenge

Grand Forks Business leaders are certain the uncertain business climate is no way to do business.

Grand Forks Business leaders are certain the uncertain business climate is no way to do business.

Sharing ideas with North Dakota Congressman Rick Berg is one way they can get the federal government's attention.

"What we need to do as a country is get small businesses back on track," said Berg.

Representative Berg is visiting with Grand Forks business representatives to hear what Congress needs to do to help them do that.

Right now the biggest challenge for local businesses: uncertainty.

"Gee, we don't know what the tax rates are going to be, we don't know what rules or regulations are going to be changed. So it's very difficult to invest in our small businesses," said Berg, noting the challenges small businesses deal with.

Barb Schultz with Ideal Aerosmith in Grand Forks and East Grand Forks says that puts local businesses at a disadvantage.

"Having to meet restrictions some of our competitors across the world do not have to meet, so that's one of our priorities to see if we can streamline that," said Schultz.

Schultz is one of many business representatives at this Great Grand Forks Chamber of Commerce event giving Representative Berg a better idea what the current business climate is.

"We can't grow if our customer base is waiting for decisions to be made and policy to be set up by the government. They end up holding back and we become unstable that way," said Schultz.

"You put a regulation in place today, 12 months later it's a different regulation, six weeks later it's different. It creates risk aversion. Business thrives in stability," said Barry Wilfahrt with the Greater Grand Forks Chamber of Commerce.

Sharing ideas at this roundtable today, might be the first steps for tomorrow.

"These are points I want to bring up and say, 'I've talked to North Dakota businessmen and here is what they are saying," said Berg.