Home / news / Opinion Pieces

Opinion Pieces

Small Business Week 2014

Washington, May 16, 2014 | comments
f t # e

Here's how we can help small businesses
By Rep. Steve Chabot
May 16, 2014

Small businesses are the backbone of our economy, employing more than half of the U.S. workforce. As research by the Kauffman Foundation indicates, new businesses, specifically those less than five years old, create seven out of every 10 new jobs.

So, as we celebrate National Small Business Week, it’s a good time to assess how Congress can help small businesses grow and prosper.

While the government cannot create jobs, it shouldn’t hinder those businesses that do. Instead, Congress should pursue policies that encourage entrepreneurial activity, while removing obstacles to job creation faced by businesses of all sizes.

First, we should help small businesses access capital. I introduced legislation that would strengthen Small Business Investment Companies. The SBIC Program, a public-private partnership that provides small businesses access to equity and debt financing, has been extremely successful over the years, providing billions in private capital to help promising startups grow into household names. Pandora, Whole Foods, Apple and even Nike were all small businesses that received early financing from the program.

My legislation, which passed the House in 2012 with overwhelming bipartisan support, would give experienced, successful investment fund managers the ability to provide businesses additional capital. This would, at no cost to taxpayers, increase the flow of private funds into small businesses, thereby providing them the capital needed to grow, expand and create jobs.

Next, we should help ease the regulatory burden on small businesses. Given their limited resources, it is particularly difficult for small businesses to navigate the labyrinth of burdensome regulations coming out of Washington these days. Currently, there are more than 175,000 pages of federal regulations. That’s enough that, if you laid each page side-by-side, it would stretch from Great American Ball Park to Kings Island. And worse, there are more than 3,000 new rules currently in the pipeline—a third of which will directly affect small businesses.

To address this growing burden, the House has passed several bipartisan reforms to the rulemaking process. One proposal, the REINS Act, would prevent agencies from enacting major regulations without congressional approval. Another, the ALERRT Act, would require federal agencies to consider the impact of regulations on small businesses, and would force these agencies to genuinely seek alternatives that are less burdensome and less costly.

Also, we should work to expand trade opportunities. Due to the complex maze of trade rules and regulations both foreign and domestic, less than 1 percent of small businesses actively export their products – even though 96 percent of the world’s consumers are located outside of our borders. Imagine the impact if that doubled to just 2 percent. To streamline the complicated export process, I have introduced legislation to coordinate state trade promotion resources with those of the federal government, so more small businesses have access to the tools they need to navigate trade rules and sell their products abroad.

By enacting these common-sense, bipartisan reforms, Congress can boost small businesses and help foster the innovative and entrepreneurial economy that has made America the envy of the world.

f t # e