After Blocking Small Business Jobs Bill, Congress Must Do Something to Help Entrepreneurs

The Huffington Post

Lawmakers passed up a golden opportunity recently to shake the recession’s effects and put American small businesses back on the hiring track. Congress has a lot more work to do this summer if they plan to support entrepreneurship. Small businesses across the nation are poised for growth, and now is the time to facilitate their expansion by passing smart jobs legislation and helping them access capital.

Unfortunately, legislators failed on the first of these counts Tuesday when lawmakers in the Senate blocked the Small Business Jobs and Tax Relief Act. The bill would have done two things to help small businesses boost their bottom lines and hire.

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Small Business Week Wrap-up: A Reminder to Keep Our Entrepreneurs Top of Mind All Year Long

Huffington Post

As 2012 progresses, the political heat in Washington is climbing faster than summertime temperatures, and small business is becoming increasingly central to policy debates in Congress. Entrepreneurs make up a core constituency in the United States. With National Small Business Week having recently ended, now is a better time than ever for legislators to reflect on these individuals’ needs and work to address them — one of which is tax relief. Luckily, Congress will have a chance to do just that when the Small Business Jobs and Tax Relief Act of 2012 comes up for a vote in June.

Before we get into the policy nitty-gritty, let’s talk about small business’s impact on our economy. In early May, Automatic Data Processing, Inc. (ADP) released data revealing our nation’s smallest businesses — those with 1-49 employees — continue to outperform large businesses in the job creation arena. They generated roughly half of all new jobs in April, while large businesses created just over 3 percent.

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New Greenhouse Gas Rules Can Create Opportunities for Small Businesses

John Arensmeyer

John Arensmeyer

Original statement issued on March 26, 2012:

Rules proposed today by the Environmental Protection Agency that would limit greenhouse gas emissions from new power plants will help spur innovation and provide opportunities for small businesses to grow. What’s more, rules such as these are supported by a majority of small businesses—our primary job creators.

National opinion polling we released in September found 76 percent of small business owners support the EPA regulating carbon emissions under the Clean Air Act. Another 87 percent believe improving innovation and energy efficiency are good ways to increase prosperity for small businesses.

The Clean Air Act, under the direction of the EPA, has had a successful 40-year record of safeguarding our economic interests, along with the public health. It has created an atmosphere conducive to entrepreneurism, spurred the innovation of new American technologies and supported a massive increase in our nation’s gross domestic product.

Small business owners know the future of small business depends on change and innovation, which is why they support bold policies that will provide new business opportunities for increased investment in low and no-carbon technologies, as well as those that promote energy efficiency. They realize change and innovation will help stimulate our flagging economy.

The Economics of Clean Air

John Arensmeyer

John Arensmeyer

Clean air, gas-sipping automobiles, green energy technology and the rules that promote them are good for public health and the economy. That was the message a diverse group of advocates delivered to lawmakers this week during a two-day conference in Washington, D.C.

United by a desire to keep politicians from weakening the Clean Air Act, which is under attack by some in Congress, small business owners, consumers, public health advocates, faith communities, women and people of color flew to the Capitol to praise the progress that has been made in our country as a result of the act.

On Monday, participants started the conference—put on by Small Business Majority and nine other organizations including Consumers Union and the American Lung Association—with a Clean Air Act history lesson, delivered by experts in various fields. Then Environmental Protection Agency Assistant Administrator Gina McCarthy educated them about what the EPA is currently doing to reduce pollution. Armed with that knowledge and their personal reasons for supporting the Clean Air Act, they visited their representatives on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, making sure lawmakers heard loud and clear that their constituents support the landmark law.

It’s easy to understand why those interested in public health would urge their Congress members to maintain the strength of a law that has cleared our skies of noxious pollutants, but why were small business owners eager to have their voice heard on this issue? It’s a good question many people may be wondering. These entrepreneurs know that, while some groups claiming to represent small business would have you believe otherwise, the passage four decades ago of the Clean Air Act has led to years of economic growth and prosperity.

Let’s look at the facts.

* A report by Small Business Majority found that the economic benefits of the Clean Air Act have far outweighed the costs. In the last two decades, emissions of the most common air pollutants have declined by 41 percent, while the Gross National Product (GDP) has increased by 64 percent.

* Existing clean air standards have boosted the economy by as much as $148 billion and pending standards could boost the economy by as much as $457 billion.

* The Clean Air Act drives technological innovation. Inventions like the catalytic converter have helped make the United States a world leader in exporting environmental-control technologies. These exports grew by 130 percent between 1993 and 2003, and were valued at $30 billion in 2004.

* The Clean Air Act was responsible for creating 1.3 million jobs between 1977 and 1991 alone.

* Air quality is significantly better across the country because of the Clean Air Act. The number of bad air days is down and the severity of unhealthy days has been significantly reduced. That means fewer people get sick and productivity increases.

* The Clean Air Act has ushered in more than 40 years of technological innovation, job creation and expanded U.S. exports—things that benefit small business owners and lay the foundation for long-term economic growth.

But the authority of the Environmental Protection Agency, responsible for enforcing the Clean Air Act, is being threatened by members of Congress who would limit its ability to do its job. The EPA is preparing to update clean air standards and reduce the amount of the toxic pollution in the air. But some lawmakers are working overtime to delay these new standards and to kill old ones by any means possible. That’s why small business owners were in D.C. this week with other clean air advocates. They know the Clean Air Act provides them with opportunities to make and save money. They know efforts to gut the act will lead to a drop in environmental innovation and create a stumbling block to the country’s fledgling green economy, which holds so much promise for new business. They know attempts in Congress to block the EPA’s ability to enforce the Clean Air Act jeopardize years of economic success.

Let’s hope the politicians in D.C. listen to this varied group of more than 60 concerned citizens and back off their plans to weaken the act. Instead, they should pursue a path to prosperity by implementing forward thinking standards that will protect our health and promote our businesses now and in the future.