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Making Washington Work for America’s Small Businesses

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Washington, March 22, 2017 | comments

Small Business Owners Sound Off on Obamacare, Regulations, Taxes

WASHINGTON – Today small business owners told the House Small Business Committee that Obamacare’s mandates, as well as overregulation and the current tax code, are having a devastating effect on their businesses, employees and customers.

“These issues are important because too often, small businesses get the short end of the stick which is counterproductive to the economic health of our nation,” explained House Small Business Committee Chairman Chabot (R-Ohio). “This hearing is a little bit different than others we do. Instead of focusing on one topic, we simply asked the witnesses to give us advice on the policies and initiatives that we can do to help them the most. By getting input now, we can focus our efforts throughout the 115th Congress to serve our constituency as responsibly and effectively as possible.”

Take for instance, the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare,” said Chairman Chabot. “Small business witness after small business witness has come before us (and constituent after constituent back home) and stated how unworkable the whole thing is.”

“We hear stories of astronomical premium increases, severely limited choices, and little to no assistance for small businesses trying to help insure themselves and their employees. Yet, there are folks out there who think that Obamacare is working just fine. Well, it’s not, and small businesses are the ones left holding the bag,” added Chabot.

“Uncertainty and Lack of Clarity”

“I ask Congress to fix the broken ACA system,” said Skip Paal, the owner of Rutland Beard Floral Group, a small floral business based in Baltimore, Maryland. “It is detrimental to me and countless other main street businesses. If something is not done quickly, I fear that when I receive next year’s health insurance quote it will simply be unaffordable to the point where we would no longer be able to offer that benefit to our employees.”

“I applaud the recognition by Congress and the Administration that the Tax Code, which seems to be so large that not even my accountant can fully understand it, needs to be drastically simplified,” observed Paal, who testified on behalf of the Society of American Florists.“Tax relief to small business is incredibly important. The complexity of the Tax Code and its associated case law is not something that I can even begin to understand. Payroll taxes are simple, straightforward to calculate, and easy to plan for – we need something just as uncomplicated for corporate and pass-through taxes.”

“One of the greatest concerns that I and other members of my industry have is the sense of uncertainty and lack of clarity in legislation and regulations” said Paal. “It is impossible for small businesses to make decisions and plan when legislation and rules are constantly changing. I have discussed the challenges I face with several of my peers in different segments of the floral industry. Every single person told me their greatest concern was either uncertainty or lack of clarity.”

Red Tape Holding Back Women Entrepreneurs

“Federal regulations cost businesses just under $10,000 per employee annually, with the annual total cost burden on the typical U.S. business coming in at a $233,182,” said Anne Chambers, an entrepreneur from Cincinnati, Ohio who is the Co-Founder and CEO of Red212. “This problem is exacerbated by the government’s inability to provide long-term policies on which businesses can rely.”

In her testimony, Chambers praised H.J. Res 37, which nullifies the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) contractor blacklisting rule. She also expressed her strong support for The Regulatory Accountability Act (H.R. 5), which would strengthen the Small Business Administration (SBA) Office of Advocacy and allow for the issuance of smarter, less burdensome regulations that consider the direct economic effects on small businesses.

View from the Chamber’s Small Business Members

“The Chamber has heard loudly from its small business members about the problems with the torrent of federal regulations emanating from Washington, DC,” testified Maxine Turner, the Founder of Cuisine Unlimited, a small catering business based in Salt Lake City, Utah.

“Research conducted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation probes into the costs of red tape on small business and spells out how the $1.9 trillion annual cost of federal mandates is a drag on the American economy. The Foundation study includes a survey of leaders from local chambers of commerce who are alarmed by the slump in new business startups and insist that federal regulations are largely to blame,” stated Turner, who testified on behalf of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

“New opportunities for entrepreneurs, beginning with tax reform, regulatory reform, and other priorities, would result in an economic vigor that would benefit every family across this country. A health care program that meets the needs of our citizens with reasonable costs would spark new optimism,” she concluded.

You can view full video of today’s hearing HERE and read full written testimony HERE.

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