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LI business people mixed on Mass. election

U.S. Sen.-elect Scott Brown, R-Mass., speaks at a

U.S. Sen.-elect Scott Brown, R-Mass., speaks at a news conference at the Park Plaza hotel Wednesday in Boston. Brown was elected to fill the U.S. Senate seat left empty by the death of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy. (Jan. 20, 2010) Photo Credit: AP

Some Long Island business people had mixed reactions Wednesday to the game-changing senatorial win in Massachusetts that will make it easier for Republicans to block President Barack Obama's proposed overhaul of health care and the financial sector, among others.

E. Christopher Murray, who heads the Nassau Council of Chambers of Commerce, an umbrella group of 40 chambers and 6,000 businesses, says many members were "relieved" after the big win.

"The vast majority were concerned about what this proposal was going to do to their insurance rates," he said. "And smaller businesses were concerned about how it was going to affect their ability to survive and employ people."

Now, he said, "with regard to taxes, I think there is some optimism that any kind of extreme proposals will not be able to get through."

Mitchell Goldberg, president of the investment firm ClientFirst Strategy Inc. in Woodbury, said the election outcome was a "net positive for business and the economy."

He criticized Democratic plans to levy $90 billion in fees on financial institutions over 10 years to repay the federal Troubled Asset Relief Program funds they received.

"My concern is that the money could be used to extend credit to consumers and small businesses," said Goldberg. "Banks paid their penalties. It's called interest on TARP loans."

Sharon Newman, chief executive of Action Envelope, a Lindenhurst printing company, laments the bleaker prospects for health care reform.

"We know that it's not working great now," said Newman, who provides fully paid health benefits to her 35 employees. "So I was kind of looking forward to . . . something being passed. And I think it's going to be much harder now."

Noreen Carro, a vice president of LMN printing in Valley Stream, also supports the proposed health care overhaul but sees the process in Washington as too rushed.

"It needed a little more time to get the right package out to the people," said Carro, whose company pays full benefits for its six employees in New York and 75 percent of its 16 Florida employees' benefits.

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