November 23, 2016

Small Businesses: Heart of Communities

Guest column submitted by U.S. Senator Mike Crapo

"America is small business . . . Too often, entrepreneurs are forgotten heroes.  We rarely hear about them.  But look into the heart of America, and you'll see them.  They're the owners of that store down the street, the faithfuls who support our churches, schools, and communities, the brave people everywhere who produce our goods, feed a hungry world, and keep our homes and families warm while they invest in the future to build a better America."  These words spoken by former President Ronald Reagan during Small Business Week in 1983 remain spot-on today. 

Small businesses across Idaho not only provide jobs and boost our economy, but also they back local service efforts, help lift up families facing losses, sponsor youth organizations and community events, help find solutions to local challenges and much more.  Idaho is home to 150,025 small businesses that employee 284,882 of our friends and neighbors, more than half of Idaho's private workforce, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy.  Shopping at local small businesses and improving our national economy are ways we can strengthen our communities by helping these cornerstones to succeed.

Federal tax and regulatory compliance costs are among the many challenges small businesses face.  These are worsened by uncertain federal policy.  In testimony before Congress, Karen Harned, Executive Director of the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) Small Business Legal Center, explained, "Overzealous regulation is a perennial concern for small business.  The uncertainty caused by future regulation negatively affects a small-business owners' ability to plan for future growth."  NFIB estimatedthat regulatory costs are nearly $12,000 per employee and further described how these costs are shouldered by small business owners who are the compliance officers for their businesses.  Furthermore, every hour they spend understanding and complying with a federal regulation results in less time spent addressing customers and planning for growth.

This "Small Business Saturday," designated unanimously by the Senate as November 26, 2016, is a good time to not only recognize the importance of locally owned small businesses to our communities and encourage consumers to shop locally, but also to renew efforts to change federal policies that limit the ability of America's small businesses to succeed and allow Americans to turn their ideas into jobs.  We must work together to remove excessive federal regulations and fix our broken tax code.  This includes simplifying the tax code and reducing the tax code's burden onall individuals, families and businesses.  We also must scrap overly-burdensome and costly regulations that require small businesses to wade through seemingly endless paperwork to comply without appreciable benefits.  Removing the disincentives of high taxes and costly regulation will better enable small businesses to create jobs and help grow our economy. 

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