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On behalf of the board of directors of the Lackawanna Area Chamber of Commerce, I would like to comment on the series of articles in The News about bankruptcy. The articles were both informative and alarming. Particularly alarming was the advertising done by some lawyers touting how easy and inexpensive bankruptcy can be. Bankruptcy can provide relief for honest debtors who are helplessly over their heads in debt. Unfortunately, it also provides too easy a way for unscrupulous debtors to walk away from their debts rather than working things out. It seems we have forgotten that a debt is a "promise to pay."

Bankruptcy laws do not give enough consideration to people and businesses who deal in good faith to extend credit. Credit-card debt is only a portion of the problem. Small businesses are bearing the burden, and they can least afford the loss. I am writing in support of the small business owners who cannot afford the time or money to fight for their rights in a system gone awry. All too often, they must stand by and watch as the debtor's assets are consumed in a feeding frenzy of court costs, legal fees and government tax liens, leaving them with nothing.

If more energy was spent addressing credit problems in a responsible way, such as through credit counseling, fewer debtors would choose "the easy way out." The system needs to be changed, tipping the scales back in favor of honest, hard-working, small-business creditors.

ERIC HOXSIE President, Lackawanna
Area Chamber of Commerce
East Aurora

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