Whether it’s the uncertainty of the new health care provisions, the plethora of proposed regulations included in Dodd-Frank, or the current budget and debt debate — one thing is for sure: small business owners are faced with an unprecedented amount of uncertainty.
This is why the Budget Control Act of 2011, signed into law by the President on Tuesday, is good for small businesses.
While not perfect, it prevents default and addresses our out-of-control debt without any job-killing tax increases, which will help provide some much-needed certainty for our nation’s most robust job creators. Speaker John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell fought hard and were successful in negotiating a bi-partisan plan to pay our bills without any tax increases, despite demands by President Obama and Majority Leader Harry Reid to do so.
Tax increases are a significant threat to jobs.
Just the mere threat of tax hikes forces business owners to put on hold any plans for hiring more workers. At a time when our economy remains stagnant, with a 9.2% unemployment rate and over 14 million Americans out of work, we should be doing everything possible to make it easier to do business in this country, not harder.
Passing responsible, bi-partisan legislation that addresses our debt crisis by cutting spending will create a better environment for small business job creators, because a commitment to responsible spending helps provide some certainty for the nation. Our record $14.3 trillion debt continues to be a dark cloud over our economy; it is a barrier for job creation that can only be removed by restoring fiscal discipline in the federal budget.
Not only does the Budget Control Act help address our nation’s spending problem by saving $917 billion right away, it also sets up a Joint Committee to identify an additional $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction in the coming months. The work of this Joint Committee will be another significant step in getting our fiscal house in order and providing more certainty in a turbulent economy.
In a recent House Small Business Committee hearing, Terry Frank, Owner of Nature’s Marketplace in Oak Ridge, TN, said, “Economic uncertainty inhibits growth and risk. My husband and I have personally worked longer hours instead of hiring another employee because of our fear of the economic future. Most of our uncertainty is about what government is going to do next to hurt business prospects. Indicators look to more government programs, meaning more money out of our operating capital. Social Security looks to a looming insolvency, government spending and debt continue to increase, inflation is a fear, so we have sought to pay off any and all debt and initiate very little new spending in this current environment.”
Frank also said during the hearing what we hear time and time again from small business owners about the government: “[Get] out of the way, let us keep more of our money and you'll see that we can invest it with a better return than Congress can.”
Business owners should be free to prosper without constantly having to wonder what new taxes or regulations will be thrown at them by the government. With small businesses responsible for creating about seven of every ten new jobs and employing just over half of the country’s private sector workforce, raising taxes in order to sustain Washington’s largesse is not the answer—real and significant spending cuts are.
The Budget Control Act is just the first step, but it’s a step in the right direction.
Congressman Sam Graves represents Missouri's Sixth Congressional District. In Congress, Rep. Graves serves as the Chairman of the Small Business Committee.