At a small business post-election briefing hosted by SBE Council on Capitol Hill today, a group of influential business leaders discussed Tuesday’s elections results and how they would impact America’s entrepreneurs. I pointed out that the voters’ overwhelming anxiety with the state of the economy and jobs means that the new Congress and President Barack Obama must focus on implementing policies that small business owners have steadfastly called for over the past two years.
Small business owners know what it takes to create jobs, and for the most part their solutions and concerns have been ignored. As I noted at the press event: "The results of the election will bring much needed political balance to Washington, and we are hoping the dramatic change directs President Obama away from a costly and ineffective approach to the economy, toward one that encourages investment, hiring and risk-taking.”
The new political balance in Washington should bring some stability to the shaky and uncertain environment that business owners have consistently expressed concern about. However, Congress must address outstanding tax issues and begin to pare back the new health care law and other government burdens if they want to restore confidence. In addition, new regulatory initiatives working their way through federal agencies and departments are discouraging investment and hiring, keeping the economy in a rut.
“Almost every industry is under regulatory siege, and the small businesses that depend on the health of various sectors – like telecommunications, energy, health care and others – are hurting due to pervasive uncertainty that is disrupting investment. There must be a check on this regulatory overload. Congress must begin vigorous oversight, and put an end to unwarranted intrusion,” I said at the event.
In addition to other items, here are some key things Congress must immediately address:
• Make permanent all the tax relief measures that are set to expire.
• Immediately repeal several measures in the new health care law that are disrupting the market, causing confusion and raising costs including: expanded 1099 reporting, the grandfather rule, the minimum loss ratio rule, and the individual and employer mandate. Congress should also make permanent and expand tax parity for the self-employed that was included in the Small Business Jobs Act.
• Repeal the 3 percent withholding mandate on federal government contractors that is set to take effect in 2011.
• Get federal spending under control. Cancel remaining stimulus funds, enact across-the-board cuts, freeze federal hiring, and repeal the new health care law – as a beginning.
At the start of the new Congress, SBE Council will urge the Congress to immediately develop a strategy and set of options to get federal government spending and entitlements under control. At the media briefing I said the American people want leadership and action on restoring America’s financial health, and Congress should dialog with the public over the course of the coming year to explain why it is so critical to reform spending, tax and entitlement programs.
Other business leaders joining us at the event included: Harry Alford, President & CEO, National Black Chamber of Commerce; Allen Gutierrez, Executive Director, The Latino Coalition; John Palatiello, President, Business Coalition for Fair Competition; and Kelly Scanlon, Chair, National Association of Women Business Owners.
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