What’s In Store For Small Business? - And In Washington
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What’s In Store For Small Business?


Article Date: 01-01-2007
Copyright(C) 2008 Associated Equipment Distributors. All Rights Reserved.

Rep. Velázquez is expected to become chair of the House Small Business Committee in 2007.

As the incoming chairwoman of the House Small Business Committee, I look forward to working to make sure the110th Congress is recognized as one that delivers in terms of helping our nation's small businesses. My goal is to work with my fellow members of Congress, Republicans and Democrats, to advance a small business agenda. I have an ambitious agenda to address issues that include health insurance, tax and regulatory simplification, access to capital, and increasing federal contracting opportunities for small businesses. The number one challenge facing small businesses in this country is the rising cost of health insurance. Since 2000, health insurance costs for small firms have gone up more than 70 percent; small business owners simply don't know where to turn. While it is clear we need reform, there has been no action in the last decade. We have a health care system that has one set of rules for small firms and a different one for large companies. That is part of the reason small business health insurance went up 8.8 percent while other companies saw increases of just 7 percent.

As a supporter of Association Health Plan legislation, I believe allowing small businesses to pool together to purchase health insurance is one way we can bring down costs. Any solution to the problem must recognize that small businesses have very few options when it comes to coverage and that insurance companies hold a near monopoly in the state small-group markets. I am willing to work with my colleagues who may have other ideas on how to address this problem, but I believe focusing on the needs of small businesses must be part of any legislation.

Small businesses not only are facing higher health care premiums, they are spending too much of their valuable time and resources trying to figure out the tax code and regulations. Tax policies coming out of Washington must not only provide tax relief for small businesses, they need to be crafted in a way that entrepreneurs can understand.

Measures like Section 179 expensing and S corporation reform should be top priorities in the next Congress. Additionally, more needs to be done to improve coordination between state and federal agencies to reduce unnecessary burdens imposed by regulations. The federal government must do more to alleviate the impact its regulations are having on small businesses.

The House Small Business Committee will also be looking at ways to expand available sources of capital for small businesses. For entrepreneurs, two of the biggest obstacles to success are securing start-up capital to get their venture off the ground and securing additional funding for expansion and growth. I believe more can be done to encourage financing by lending institutions.
The SBA and other government programs can have a role in providing this necessary capital.

I will continue to push for legislation to reduce the cost of capital available to small businesses. Last year, AED played a vital role as part of the small business coalition working to draw attention to lower costs for Small Business Administration's 7(a) business loans. Unfortunately, Congress adjourned without fully addressing this issue. I will continue to work with AED to make sure these loan costs are lowered, as they represent an opportunity to provide affordable capital to small businesses.

It is clear there is a lot of work to be done as we approach the next Congress. As the incoming chairwoman, I believe we need to be doing more to create a positive business environment for small businesses. Small businesses play a vital role in today's economy - creating up to 80 percent of all new jobs, and making up over half of our GDP - and in order to be successful they must be able to access the tools they need most.

I look forward to working with the small businesses of this country, including the members of AED, to make sure Congress makes their concerns a top priority.

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Article Categories:  Public Policy