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Posted by Randy | May 15, 2014

As we celebrate Small Business Week and recognize the value and importance of small businesses not just to our communities, but to the economic stability and prosperity of our nation, I wanted to share this article with you written by Congressman Sam Graves (R-MO), Chairman of the House Small Business Committee.  

Small Business Week
By Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.) - 05/14/14 09:00 AM EDT 

Every small business throughout the country is a story of someone’s hard work, a good idea, or a plan to make life better for their family. Many succeed, some don’t. We should respect the courage, risk and sacrifice required to build a business. One of the purposes of National Small Business Week is recognition of that effort, but there’s more to it. We should examine policies that are helping and hurting small business and make the appropriate changes to encourage their growth because our economy hinges on their success.

Small businesses are responsible for about half the nation’s economic output, and when it comes to jobs, small firms have an outsized impact. Small companies comprise about half of all private sector jobs in total, and lead the way in job creation with 60-to-80 percent of all new jobs, depending on the year. All told, small firms can take credit for 65 percent of jobs created over a recent 17-year span, according to the Small Business Administration.

It’s fair to say that if small businesses are thriving, then the economy is likely to be healthy. If small businesses are struggling, then the economy is not strong. 

Over the past month, the latest economic information has been a mix of good news and bad. The unemployment rate has fallen, but a closer look shows far too many Americans leaving the workforce. Moreover, the economy slowed to a mere 0.1 percent growth last quarter. Throughout the very slow recovery of the past several years, the economy has never really roared back or created jobs at the pace the country needs.

Small businesses are a major part of the solution for jobs and growth. When small firms grow, the benefits spread throughout the economy. The irony is that these businesses are often treated by Washington as though they are part of the problem. During the last five years, small businesses have faced numerous roadblocks to growth, including mounting federal regulations, higher taxes, economic uncertainty, and burdensome requirements from the health care law.

As one Connecticut small business owner, Dan De Clercq, commented to the Small Business Committee through our interactive website Small Biz Open Mic, “Since ObamaCare became a discussion in 2008, our yearly premium has doubled from 113k to 220k presently. Plus our deductibles and co-pays have increased to obscene levels. Eliminate or halve my corporate income taxes, help bring my company-sponsored health care back to normal levels and I'd hire four more people.”

Dan’s not alone in his experience. A recent NFIB study shows that ObamaCare’s Health Insurance Tax will cost the economy up to 286,000 jobs, and 57 percent of those jobs would be from small businesses. Over the past five years, the cost of new regulations on the American economy has spiked by $73 billion annually. The Administration has issued a burdensome 157 new major rules, each with economic costs of $100 million or more. This government power grab is predictably not leading to robust economic growth.

Despite the state of the economy, the U.S. Senate continues to ignore nearly 40 growth and jobs bills passed by the House. These bills range from reducing red tape to ensuring access to affordable energy.

Small businesses are widely supported by Americans, but they could use some more common-sense from Washington. The nation’s 28 million small businesses don’t need new bureaucracies or more government control; they need the administration to get out of the way so they can grow.

National Small Business Week is a great time to say “thank-you” to a small business in your neighborhood and “shop small.” I also believe this week is a great reminder that if Washington is going to talk-the-talk then Washington needs to get serious about a small business growth agenda that is going to back up that rhetoric. 

Graves has represented Missouri's 6th Congressional District since 2001. He is chairman of the Small Business Committee and also sits on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
Posted by Randy | May 02, 2014

On September 19, 2008, backers of the Keystone XL pipeline first submitted an application to the U.S. State Department to build this energy infrastructure project, designed to bring both jobs and greater energy security to the United States of America.

It’s been over five years since that day.
 
This past January, the State Department issued its Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for the permit application, confirming the project is safe and will have limited environmental impacts. Despite this, the Obama Administration recently announced that it is indefinitely extending its long-awaited review of the Keystone XL pipeline. 

It is unacceptable for politics to continue to delay a project that will spur economic growth and move us towards greater energy independence.  It’s been 5 long years. Americans are waiting. It is time to build. Click here to share on facebook.                                       

                     
 I have supported the Northern Route Approval Act (H.R. 3), which removes any need for presidential approval of the pipeline, and the Keystone For a Secure Tomorrow Act (H.R. 334), which would allow Congress to directly and immediately approve the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline.
Posted by Randy | February 06, 2014

I am pleased to let you know that on Friday, January 31, 2014, the State Department released its final environmental impact study regarding construction and operation of the Keystone XL pipeline.

It is my hope that the administration acts without delay on this project to spur economic growth and energy independence.

I have supported the Northern Route Approval Act (H.R. 3), which removes any need for presidential approval of the pipeline, and the Keystone For a Secure Tomorrow Act (H.R. 334), which would allow Congress to directly and immediately approve the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline.

 
Posted by Randy | January 31, 2014
On January 28, 2014, President Obama delivered his fifth official State of the Union Address before a joint session of Congress.  As part of the speech, the President announced that he will issue an executive order requiring federal contractors to pay their employees $10.10 an hour, and urged Congress to increase the overall federal minimum wage to the same rate.

Supporters believe that raising the minimum wage is necessary to reduce income inequality in our nation and grow the economy because workers will have more money to put back into their local communities.   Those who oppose the increase believe that more regulation from Washington will further burden small businesses - forcing employers to slow hiring and reduce hours - thereby stifling economic growth.

Question of the week:   Do you support an increase in the federal minimum wage

( ) Yes.
( ) No.
( ) I don’t know. 
( ) Other.


Take the Poll here.

Find the results of last week’s InstaPoll here.
Posted by Randy | November 15, 2013

Putting aside political posturing and partisan talking points, what is the healthcare law's real life impact on small businesses across America? A survey of companies representing 42 million jobs, released this month by the International Franchise Association and Chamber of Commerce, reveals that the law is forcing our nation’s job creators to cut employee hours and halt job creation. Here are some highlights:

  • 64% of franchise and 53% of non-franchise businesses believe the health care law will have a negative impact on their businesses.
  • 29% of franchise and 41% of non-franchise businesses are already seeing health care costs increase due to the law.  
  • Over 50% of franchise and non-franchise businesses are planning to make decisions, such as reducing employee hours, to comply with the law’s employer mandate and definition of full-time employment as those working 30-hours a week, rather than the traditional 40 hours.

To place this burden on the backs of our nation’s number one job creators is both unacceptable and short sighted. That is why I championed solutions to:

  • Fully defund the law (H.R. 2682).
  • Protect businesses from the penalties of the healthcare law (H.R. 2667).
  • Relieve small businesses from burdensome tax reporting requirements (H.R. 4).
  • Amend the definition of full-time employment to restore the traditional 40-hour week (H.R.2575).
 
 I want to hear from small business owners in the 4th District: how is the Affordable Care Act impacting you? Weigh in below.
Posted by Randy | August 06, 2013
I want to share an article with you, following the President’s latest speech about the need to grow the economy and create new jobs. His proposal would increase taxes and invest that additional revenue in infrastructure and manufacturing. 

I agree that we should lower the corporate tax rate to make it more competitive and strive to make our tax code simpler; however, a proposal that also increases taxes is not the way to spur economic growth and job creation. Read about my work on alternative solutions to revitalize our economy and create jobs here.
Posted by Randy | July 26, 2013
This week, the President delivered a speech about the need to refocus the attention of Washington on the economy, as bailouts, stimulus, sequestration, and an overhaul of the healthcare system have not worked to achieve economic prosperity. 

While the unemployment rate remains over 7 percent, federal employees have been furloughed, and each American’s share of the national debt is over $53,000, I have worked on and supported alternative solutions to revitalize our economy and create jobs.

Question of the week:  What do you believe the federal government should do to spur economic growth? (multiple answer)

( ) Reduce burdensome regulations
( ) Lower health care costs
( ) Reduce individual taxes
( ) Make the corporate tax rate more competitive
( ) Provide greater access to capital
( ) Raise the minimum wage
( ) Bring outsourced jobs back to the United States
( ) Support free trade
( ) I don’t know
( ) Other (leave your comments below).

Take the Poll here.

Find the results of last week’s InstaPoll here.
Posted by Randy | May 20, 2013
I thought you might be interested in a recent article I read in The Washington Post, which detailed a disturbing trend: The GSA has failed to fully pay 1,334 federal contractors, shorting small businesses by over $3 million. Today’s economic environment is uncertain enough, but when you add in federal agencies that cannot be trusted to fulfill their half of the bargain, small businesses become discouraged from competing and hesitant to invest, stunting our entire country’s economic growth.

As the backbone of the American economy, entrepreneurs and small businesses are crucial contributors to our nation’s economic success. I will continue to work to promote policies that create a healthy economic environment which encourages small businesses to do what they do best: grow, innovate, creat jobs, and lead our country forward.
Posted by Randy | May 17, 2013
Last Friday, Lois Lerner, Director of the Exempt Organizations Division at the IRS, apologized for the Agency requiring certain conservative groups to submit excessive paperwork regarding their 501(c)(4) tax exempt status. 

Her apology was issued just days before the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) was scheduled to release its oversight report of IRS activities.  This report not only confirmed that the IRS was in fact targeting conservative organizations, but that this has been going on since 2010. 

Groups with the word “patriot” in their names, and those with the mission of “educating on the Constitution and Bill of Rights” have been subjected to enhanced scrutiny in their applications for tax exempt status.  The TIGTA report indicated that 160 applications were open from 206 to 1,138 days, some more than three years and crossing two election cycles.               

The Department of Justice launched an investigation in conjunction with the FBI, and the House Ways and Means Committee is holding a hearing today to further investigate this matter and bring to light why these groups were targeted. 

While these investigations are pending, and Americans are calling into question the integrity of what should be a non-partisan, non-political government agency, I have introduced the Prevent IRS Overreach Act, H.R.1993, to prohibit the IRS from hiring any personnel for the purpose of implementing the healthcare law.  Read more about this bill here.

Question of the week:  Do you believe the Prevent IRS Overreach Act is a necessary step in ensuring protection for the American people?

(  ) Yes.
(  ) No.
(  ) I don’t know.
(  ) Other (leave your comments below).

Take the instaPoll here.

Find the results of last week’s instaPoll here.
Posted by Randy | May 09, 2013
This week, the Senate passed the Marketplace Fairness Act, S.743, to enable states to require online sellers with more than $1 million in annual revenue to collect sales tax on transactions outside their borders.  Under current law, sellers must have a physical presence in a state before the state can require retailers to collect sales taxes.    

Supporters of this bill believe that small businesses and brick-and-mortar stores are at a competitive disadvantage with online retailers, many of which do not have to collect sales taxes.  As such, proponents say that this bill is needed to level the playing field by enabling the collection of a sales tax that is already due.   

On the other hand, opponents of this bill argue that it would burden small businesses, forcing them to comply with state and local tax laws from around the nation. Additionally, they argue that the measure would violate state sovereignty, force businesses to be tax collectors for other states without benefitting them, and dissuade entrepreneurial and start-up businesses. 

Question of the week:  Do you believe that states should have the authority to require online sellers to collect sales tax from individuals living outside their borders?   

(  ) Yes.
(  ) No.
(  ) I don’t know.
(  ) Other (leave your comments below).


Take the instaPoll here.

Find the results of last week’s instaPoll here