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Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Open Letter to the 112th Congress

The new Congress convenes today, and SBE Council delivered the following "Open Letter" to every member of the House and Senate asking that they help us make America the best place in the world for business and entrepreneurship.

Open Letter to the 112th Congress

Help Us Make America the Best Place in the World to be an Entrepreneur

January 5, 2010

Dear Member of the 112th Congress:

The Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council (SBE Council) is dedicated to protecting small business and promoting entrepreneurship. As the leading voice for entrepreneurs, SBE Council and its 100,000 members look forward to working with the 112th Congress to advance legislation that encourages investment, business growth, job creation and entrepreneurship.

Small business owners and entrepreneurs are looking for signals and incentives to innovate, invest and add to their payrolls. To that end, our goal is to pare back government intrusions that are complex, costly and unnecessary while advancing pro-growth measures that free up the time and resources of hard-working business owners. “Uncertainty” remained the buzz word of 2010, and this year we hope to bury this widely-shared sentiment among entrepreneurs. If our political leaders in Washington commit themselves to doing all they can to help American business early in 2011, we strongly believe that confidence will be restored and healthy economic growth will follow.

SBE Council looks forward to working with you on the following issues and priorities:

Tax Reform: The tax system is a mess. SBE Council will work to secure a stable and competitive pro-growth, pro-entrepreneur tax system.

Affordable Health Care: Paring back the most costly and damaging aspects of the new health care law (tax hikes, employer and individual mandates, anti-competitive regulatory measures, expanded 1099 reporting, etc.) is a top priority. SBE Council will support repeal of the law and push for measures that will actually lower health care costs and increase competitive choices. We will not only work to preserve health savings accounts (HSAs), but increase their availability and use.

Regulatory Restraint and Accountability: Federal government agencies and departments are out-of-control. Quite simply, there is no accountability. Regulatory activists have lost touch with reality. From the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to the U.S. Labor Department to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and beyond, SBE Council will support efforts in the Congress that overrule harsh regulatory actions. We will also make sure Congress is conducting aggressive oversight, which will help to curtail regulatory extremism in general.

Government Spending: SBE Council members have spoken loud and clear on the need to cut government spending and get our fiscal house in order. We will support measures that reduce spending, and reform entitlements.

Energy Development and Production: The U.S. needs to produce more energy -- period. Gas prices are rising and with diminished production we are on an unsustainable course, which will require us to import greater levels of oil and gas. Extreme anti-energy forces in government are hurting consumers, small business owners and U.S. competitiveness. SBE Council will support measures that encourage domestic energy production. High energy costs have the potential to undermine economic recovery. Reversing the anti-energy trend is critical to bringing about stable and affordable energy prices.

Trade: SBE Council remains a supporter of the South Korea trade deal, and is urging the White House to complete existing trade accords. The U.S. needs to get back in the game on trade as we are losing ground to competitors. Opening additional global markets will provide small business owners with growth opportunities. The bulk of U.S. exporters are small to mid-size firms – increased market access means more business for our entrepreneurs.

Broadband Investment and Expansion: Broadband remains a critical tool for entrepreneurial competitiveness and business growth opportunities. While SBE Council will continue to work with the FCC on its national plan to ensure all business owners have access to broadband, we will watch for regulatory intrusions that undermine investment and innovation. Private sector investment is central to broadband deployment and increased capacity. The federal government must maintain a light regulatory touch with regard to the Internet.

Access to Capital and Credit: Existing government rules are undercutting access to capital. At the same time, new regulations being pursued under the auspices of the financial overhaul bill passed last year have the potential to further restrict access to capital and credit. Proposed Federal Reserve rules and forthcoming Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) regulations could make a currently challenging problem much worse for small business owners. SBE Council will stave off intrusive rules, and make sure the new CFPB is following a congressionally-imposed mandate requiring the entity to determine whether proposed regulations will negatively impact entrepreneurs' ability to access affordable capital and credit.

IP Protection: Placing a priority on IP protection and enforcement - at home and abroad - is a timely economic and legal strategy that will help stimulate the economy through job creation, enabling innovation, increasing tax revenues as well as ensuring the U.S. maintains its global leadership. Enhancing IP will encourage more entrepreneurs to pursue overseas markets as many do not engage internationally for fear of theft, or lack of resources to fight infringement battles. The Administration has several efforts underway that SBE Council is supporting, and we will continue to advocate for initiatives that secure IP protections.

American entrepreneurs are critical to economic recovery. To boost confidence among entrepreneurs and investors, America’s political leaders need to be sending positive signals through pro-growth -- not anti-business -- legislation and regulation. SBE Council will KEY VOTE specific pieces of legislation for our Ratings of the 112th Congress, and we will alert you to the votes that we plan to score.

SBE Council looks forward to working with you in the 112th, and we encourage you to contact us if we can be of help in crafting or advancing legislative initiatives that will serve our mission of protecting small business and promoting entrepreneurship.

Thank you for your leadership, and your support of America’s entrepreneurs.


Karen Kerrigan
President & CEO

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