Chairman Chabot's Opening Statement for Hearing on Building an Opportunity Economy: The State of Small Business and Entrepreneurship
Chairman Steve Chabot
Small Business Committee Hearing
Building an Opportunity Economy: The State of Small Business and Entrepreneurship
Good morning. This hearing will come to order. Thank you all for joining us.
Today, we are here to examine the state of small business. For the Members here, it’s not the first or last time we’ll have this conversation. We have it every time we talk to our constituents. They’re the ones who tell us the most about small business.
But in those conversations, we don’t have C-SPAN cameras, we don’t have stenographers, and it doesn’t make it into the Congressional record. So we’re having this hearing today for our constituents. To have a conversation for the record that we have already had many times back home, so that we – as Members of the Small Business Committee -- can start the legislative work of getting government off the backs of the American people.
1 out of every 2 employed Americans works at a small business. 7 out of every 10 new job opportunities are created by small businesses. When the federal government issues new rules, or raises taxes, or threatens to raise taxes, or increases health care costs, or prolongs a sense of uncertainty – this doesn’t just impact the name on a store front. It impacts real people. It impacts every American worker that puts a roof over their head and food on the table by working at that small business.
We have heard some say that our economy has recovered. And it has somewhat. But when you look at the number of unemployed Americans and the number of those who may be “employed” but can’t find full time work, it is clear that we are not where we should be.
As testimony today will reinforce, it’s not another sweeping government program that will make life better for Americans who depend on small businesses. The answer is hidden in the thousands of pages of regulations and tax policies, that are crushing the small business community. Another change that must be made – and this may be the most important change we can make – is to alter the mindset of the federal government so that it is always thinking about how its actions will impact our small businesses.
The labor force participation rate is at its lowest point in our history.
The percentage of long term unemployed is still much higher than before the recession.
And maybe the most disturbing trend: every year of the Obama administration has seen more businesses close their doors than open them.
Economists describe this as the number of business deaths exceeding the number of business births. In plain language it means we have a problem.
Small businesses are the foundation of our economy. As a Committee, we are here to make life better for small businesses and the working families that rely on them. Today, we begin that important work.
I want to thank each of our witnesses for taking the time to be with us today. I look forward to hearing your testimony. I now yield to our ranking member, Ms. Velázquez, for her opening statement.