WESTBOROUGH, Mass. — Jon Shakour said he put a lot of thought into a sign he placed at his Westborough business, Essential Salon Products/R.G. Shakour Inc., on Turnpike Road. A self-described political moderate, Shakour said he finally wanted to make a statement by posting the message: "Govt. did not build this nation, honest people did."
That sentiment was seized upon by Republican Sen. Scott Brown, who stopped by the beauty product wholesaler Friday. Brown, who is campaigning for a second term, made the appearance as part of his "Thank You For Building This" series, in which he delivers breakfast or lunch to small businesses.
Although Shakour's sign could be interpreted as a right-wing stand against big government, his daughter, Nicole Sakhat, said he thought long and hard before posting it.
"He's not on the left or on the right – he's right down the middle," said Sakhat.
"Some of my customers may have a problem with it," Shakour said of his sign, which is clearly visible to every eastbound motorist on Route 9. "If they do, they do."
Shakour and his family said their concern is with taxes, and want Brown to support the so-called "tip tax" credit, a proposal to give salon owners a tax credit on FICA taxes on employee tips.
While speaking with employees and reporters, Brown said that Central Massachusetts has benefited from his support of the "Higher A Hero" bill that offers tax credits to businesses that support veterans, as well as his opposition to he Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act – called "Obamacare" by detractors – which, he claimed, would "crush a business" like Salon Concepts.
Regarding small businesses, Brown said a "government did it for you" mentality has "permeated Washington," which he found "insulting."
Brown took several jabs at his opponent, Elizabeth Warren. "She wants a $3.4 trillion tax hike at a time when no one can afford it," he said.
Warren, however, on Aug. 15 issued a statement stating Brown's policies would lead to a tax hike for 97 percent of small businesses.
Brown said he plans to return to Westborough again Sunday to compete in the Westborough Rotary Club's triathlon, which will mark his third appearance in Westborough within a month.