Opening Statements

Van Duyne: “Building Sustainable Businesses Through Employee Ownership at SBA”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the House Small Business Subcommittee on Oversight, Investigations, and Regulations held a hybrid hearing on “Building Sustainable Businesses Through Employee Ownership at SBA.”

Subcommittee Ranking Member Beth Van Duyne’s opening statement as prepared for delivery:

Thank you, Chairman Phillips, for holding this hearing. We can all agree a business’s structure and foundation are critically important to their success and longevity. However, amending requirements at the SBA should always be viewed with caution. It cannot be done without considering all possible ramifications and potential unintended consequences. I look forward to discussing the employee-ownership model this morning. However, we also must address that we are currently in the fourth quarter, and the small businesses I speak with in North Texas have been battling significant market conditions that threaten their success.  They continue to struggle with rampant inflation, labor shortages, ongoing supply chain disruptions, and a growing regulatory burden.  It is no wonder why small business optimism continues to decline in this country. The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) Small Business Optimism Index lists October as the 10th consecutive month below the 49-year average.

It’s also no surprise increasing costs continue to reain one of the most pressing issues facing small businesses. With 7.7 percent year over year inflation, how could it not be? The total energy index has risen a staggering 17.6 percent over the last 12 months and many small businesses simply can’t sustain in this environment. As a result of this inflationary time period, the Federal Reserve has moved to increase interest rates repeatedly, thus challenging small businesses even further.

Labor shortages continue to be a top concern for our constituents and their businesses. Not only does finding workers pose a major problem, but finding the right skilled workers is seemingly impossible. The latest NFIB Report shows 46 percent of owners reporting job openings were hard to fill.  90 percent of business owners searching for employees found few or zero qualified candidates to fill their open positions. How can we expect small businesses to succeed if 90 percent of owners are having a hard time finding quality candidates to fill their positions?

Unfortunately, when our community businesses do have workers, they often struggle with stocking their shelves.  Supply chain disruptions continue to impact many small businesses on a  daily basis. In October, 31 percent of business owners reported supply chain disruptions have had a significant impact on their business.

If inflation, which has caused rising interest rates, labor shortages, and supply chain disruptions weren’t enough, the regulatory burden imposed by the Biden Administration is also taking a toll.  According to the American Action Forum, during the first two years of the Biden Administration, 443 final rules were created with a cost of $309.1 billion, along with a staggering 193.1 million new paperwork hours. This is a stark difference compared to President Trump’s first two years in office. His administration created 500 final rules, but a final rule savings of $3.4 million, along with only 506,534 paperwork hours.

Small businesses continue to face these challenges daily and these are the issues this Committee should be focused on trying to solve.  Pro-growth policies that support deregulation and a reduction in spending levels, must be first and foremost on the Congressional agenda as they have a true real-world impact on the nation’s small businesses, entrepreneurs, and startups.

I look forward to today's conversation, and I would like to welcome all of today's witnesses.  Thank you, Mr. Chairman, I yield back.