Meehan: Entrepreneurs Drive America’s Economy

Rep. Pat Meehan
Delaware County Times

The numbers say it all. Companies with fewer than 500 employees added seven million jobs between 2001 and 2007, while larger corporations cut nearly one million jobs during that time. It is clear that small businesses are critically important to our economy. Yet today, many entrepreneurs are sitting on the sidelines. New business startups have slowed to their lowest level in nearly a generation, and job creation remains anemic. Because our economy depends so heavily on small businesses, we need to focus on relief for existing small businesses and help entrepreneurs take the leap to open up shop.

The first step is to help entrepreneurs get off the sidelines. I recently introduced bipartisan legislation called the Jump Start for Job Creators Act. This bill — introduced along with two Democrats and one Republican — will allow small businesses to deduct their startup costs at a higher rate.

For any entrepreneur, accessing initial capital is difficult in this economy. We should offer new incentives to attract angel investors. We should also allow small businesses to access a wider pool of investors without having to register with the government as if they were a Wall Street investment bank. The House acted to do that just this week by passing the Access to Capital for Job Creators Act, which will give small businesses the help they need to raise capital efficiently.

Proposals like these will help turn entrepreneurs with a vision into job creators.

The second step is to help existing small businesses by creating an environment in which they can expand and hire new workers. We are making some improvements in that area. A bill passed by the House last week would repeal a rule that withholds three percent from small businesses that contract with the government. The president, Democrats and Republicans recognize that three percent, for many small firms, is the difference between staying in business or not. I hope the bipartisan repeal of this onerous provision will soon become law. This, along with the earlier repeal of the costly 1099 requirement, demonstrates real progress in working together to pass common-sense legislation to help small businesses.

There are a number of other pending proposals with bipartisan appeal. We should pass the proposed payroll tax reduction for employers and employees. This will allow small businesses to keep more of the money they earn so they can invest, expand, and hire new workers — and it increases employees take home pay. We should pass a bipartisan proposal allowing small businesses to write off the full cost of new equipment. These new investments will help them grow and create new jobs.

Americans are deservedly cynical about government. I share the deep frustrations about our high unemployment and stagnate job growth. It is no secret that Democrats and Republicans often disagree about the best way to create jobs, but we cannot let those disagreements prevent us from moving forward on the things with which we do agree. We can and should help small businesses and entrepreneurs — the drivers of our economy — thrive again.

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