Small business is the backbone of our economy. They create new jobs, employ half of the private sector workforce, and represent 99.9% of the businesses in this country. In recent years, small businesses have created 7 out of every 10 private sector jobs. In tough economic times, the government should do everything in its power to help small businesses, not burden them with new regulations and higher taxes. In order to jumpstart this economy, we must empower small businesses and give them the resources they need to create jobs and help put America back to work again.
First, we need to make things easy for small businesses. Right now they are drowning in mindless paperwork required by the government for some unknown purpose. And, unfortunately, it’s only getting worse. Take for instance the new health care law. It imposes $569 billion in new and higher taxes on businesses and individuals and includes a provision that would require a small business to file a 1099 form for any purchase over $600. This new government mandate has nothing to do with health coverage, it only imposes yet another hurdle and pile of paperwork for already over-regulated small business owners. A better alternative to the new health care law would be to empower our small businesses to band together to purchase health insurance for their employees so that they have more choices and access to more affordable options.
Next, we need to control the wasteful spending in Washington, DC. Small business owners have to stick to a tight budget and are often forced to choose between closing their doors or laying off workers. Meanwhile, Washington has been treating their taxpayer money like a blank check and driving this nation into astronomical debt. In order to get the economy back on track, small businesses need to know that the government is working to curb spending, reduce unnecessary regulations and restore fiscal responsibility to Washington, DC. If Main Street has to operate on a budget, then so should the government. It’s time to end the double standard and rein in spending once and for all.
Third, we need to keep energy costs low so that our small businesses can afford to keep the lights on. According to the National Small Business Association, nearly half of the electricity and natural gas consumed is by businesses and if electricity isn’t affordable, or reliable, the cost of business will increase and slow economic growth. That is why we need an “all of the above” energy policy, that includes coal, and we need to stop the disastrous “Cap and Trade” bill that will devastate our local economy. Currently, Kentucky has one of the lowest energy rates in the country, but if this bill is signed into law my state will have one of the highest rates in the nation. We don’t need to tax people for turning on the lights, rather we need to work towards a comprehensive energy solution that keeps costs low for our families and small businesses.
Finally, we need to keep taxes low. At the end of this year taxes are scheduled to increase and will hit small businesses the hardest. This is unacceptable. Washington has passed bailout after bailout, gone on trillion dollar spending sprees and racked up the debt, yet they are turning their backs on our small businesses by refusing to extend the tax cuts enacted in 2001 and 2003. If we do not relieve the tax burden on our small businesses, they will not be able to invest, expand or create jobs.
Enough is enough. Now is the time to restore fiscal responsibility and for Washington to start living within its means. We need to empower our small businesses by getting government out of the way. Only when we rein in spending, keep taxes low, and stop the arduous regulations will be able to restore confidence in the market and allow small businesses to create jobs and reinvest in the local economy. Economic recovery starts with Main Street, not bureaucrats in Washington who are addicted to spending.
Congressman Hal Rogers (KY-05) has served Kentucky’s 5th Congressional District since 1981. With a focus on economic development, job creation, fighting illegal drugs and preserving Appalachia’s natural treasures, he has a reputation for listening to his constituents and fighting for the region he represents. For more information visit www.halrogers.house.gov.
The views expressed by guest bloggers on the Foundry do not necessarily reflect the views of the Heritage Foundation.