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Graves: State of Small Business Economy Hearing Sets Growth Agenda for 113th Congress

Washington, Feb 13 -

House Small Business Committee Chairman Sam Graves (R-MO) today led a hearing on the State of the Small Business Economy, a day after the President’s State of the Union address. The hearing was the first of the 113th Congress for the Committee and will help guide the Committee as it examines a variety of small business issues in the coming year.

Small business owners remain pessimistic about the economy. The National Federation of Independent Business released a survey Tuesday showing small business confidence mired at the fourth-lowest measurement of the poll’s history of nearly four decades.

“Small businesses are facing higher costs, new taxes and a growing volume of red tape,” said Chairman Graves. “That’s not a path to growth. We need to get the government out of the way and let small firms find their footing, while reducing the regulatory burden and providing more consistent access to capital. Despite their importance to our economy, the President only mentioned small businesses twice in his State of the Union last night. As our chief job creators, small companies can lead the economy back to a real recovery. Most small business owners report a lack of confidence in the economy, and from small business surveys and feedback to the Committee, we know that too many do not plan to hire. This administration’s first term legacy is a wave of federal regulations, health care law mandates, more taxes and an unsettling surge in the national debt. All these burdens have consequences in the decisions made by small business owners. It’s time for Washington’s actions to match the rhetoric on small business growth.”

The small business impact on the economy is clear. According to the Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy, small businesses represent 99.7 percent of all U.S. employer firms. Small businesses employ about half of all private sector employees in the United States and account for about 60-70 percent of new jobs. However, small businesses face regulatory compliance costs 36 percent higher than larger businesses. Policy should reflect the importance of small firms to the nation’s economy and recognize their special challenges in dealing with the regulatory burden.

Materials for the hearing are posted on the House Small Business Committee’s website HERE.

Notable Witness Quotes:

Dr. Randall Kroszner, Norman R. Bobins Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, Chicago, Illinois, said, “Going forward, it is crucial for the Congress and the Administration to understand the toll that policy uncertainty is taking on the economy.  Clear, clean resolutions of uncertainty about federal fiscal and regulatory policies would undoubtedly help to spur recovery.  But it is not only the resolution of uncertainty that is important but also how it is resolved.  In particular, the government should be examining all of its policies through the lens of economic growth and focus on pro-growth policies.”

Ms. Maria C. Coyne, Executive Vice President of Key Bank in Cleveland, Ohio, said, “Federal policy is an important factor in whether our economy reaches its full potential or continues to grow incrementally. More specifically, the continued uncertainty surrounding federal policy on taxes, sequestration, the debt ceiling, and regulations signals to the private sector that our leaders are unable to play their critical role in creating an economic environment that will allow entrepreneurs to thrive.”

Mr. Sean Falk, Owner/President of WolFTeaM LLC/Nachogang LLC in Cedar Park, Texas, said, “Implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is a burdensome and complex business challenge for me in 2013 and beyond especially given the constant changes, waivers, extensions, regulations and clarifications of an already cumbersome new law.  I am facing the legalities of health care exchanges, employer shared responsibility (ESR), and full-time equivalents. Now, I am also familiarizing myself with the government’s Federal Register, waiting to see what new regulations will become final from the Department of Health and Human Services or the Treasury regarding implementation. All of these tasks take me away from my core mission of growing my business.”

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