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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

McConnell Amendment Protects Small Business from New Energy Tax

The Senate will soon take up a variety of amendments that will be offered as part of small business research legislation. Only one amendment will shield America’s small businesses from massive energy costs that will accompany the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) greenhouse gas (GHG) regulations. The McConnell amendment will protect small business owners from these higher costs.

On March 28, SBE Council sent a letter to all U.S. Senators explaining our concerns about improper and misguided regulatory initiatives being advanced by the EPA. Specifically, EPA’s costly and intrusive effort to regulate GHGs must be stopped as the consequences for U.S. small businesses and our economy will be severe.

If the EPA’s regulatory initiative moves forward, energy prices will continue to move higher undermining U.S. economic strength and competitiveness. Small businesses will be disproportionately impacted by EPA’s regulation of GHGs, as our ability to create jobs and compete will be permanently impaired. The entire U.S. economy would suffer due to higher costs, with jobs lost and U.S. firms made less competitive in the global economy.

The U.S. Senate has the opportunity to protect small business owners from the severe effects and higher costs resulting from EPA overreach by voting for the McConnell amendment to S. 493, the SBIR/STTR Reauthorization Act of 2011. Senator McConnell’s amendment is the only amendment addressing this issue that will shield small firms from higher costs, as it fully nullifies EPA’s unwise and costly GHG regulatory path.

An amendment being proposed by Senator Baucus only offers symbolic protection for small businesses. An exemption for agriculture and codification of the “tailoring” rule, as proposed by the Baucus amendment, does not mean small businesses will bear any less cost when energy prices skyrocket. The Baucus amendment offers no relief for small business owners.

An amendment offered by Senator Rockefeller proposes to delay implementation of the EPA rules for two years. The delay only creates additional uncertainty for businesses of all sizes. With a delay, businesses will merely begin to prepare for eventual implementation of the costly EPA rules, which means less investment, less job growth and more businesses looking overseas to expand. A mere delay of the regulation does nothing to address the core problems – higher energy costs and the fact that the EPA is not being held accountable on an issue that only Congress has the authority to address.

EPA’s regulations will have a significant impact on businesses. Small business owners must be given a fighting chance to stage an economic recovery and compete in the global marketplace. Higher energy prices disproportionately impact small business owners, and the EPA regulations will undermine U.S. competitiveness.

This vote on the McConnell amendment is a critical one for America’s small businesses. SBE Council will KEY VOTE the McConnell amendment in our forthcoming Ratings of the 112th Congress. A vote for the McConnell amendment is a vote for small business.

Karen Kerrigan, President & CEO

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