A commitment to small business

Policies coming out of Washington should make it easier for NH entrepreneurs to launch and grow their companies

When my husband Joe returned from flying combat missions in Iraq, he decided to start a small landscaping and snow-plowing company. The thing that surprised me as we started – aside from the many sleepless nights I’d have to spend helping shovel snow – were the burdens we would face as we started and maintained our small business over the next several years.

Between all the red tape and government regulations, I gained a firsthand appreciation for what small business owners deal with every single day. And during National Small Business Week, I’m renewing my commitment to fighting for Main Street by promoting polices that make it easier for small businesses to succeed and grow.

Small businesses are the backbone of the American and New Hampshire economies. In fact, 96 percent of employers in New Hampshire are small businesses. To ensure that our economy stays strong and continues to grow, we have to pursue policies that set these small businesses up to succeed. As a member of the Small Business and Commerce Committees in the Senate, I’ve had the opportunity to do just that.

I worked with Sen. Jeanne Shaheen last year to ensure that small business owners have access to capital to invest in their operations. Specifically, I co-sponsored the Small Business Lending Reauthorization Act to ensure that small businesses continue to have access to a Small Business Administration loan program that allows entrepreneurs to get their businesses off the ground, create jobs, and grow at no cost to taxpayers.

This bill was signed into law in July 2015. And this year, we’re working on legislation to allow SBA to meet the demand for these loans without unnecessary disruptions, as well as other measures to permanently reauthorize the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer Program (STTR) programs.

These two programs would create a predictable environment so that small businesses can focus on innovation and growth instead of waiting on Washington to extend these programs at the last moment.

I’m working with a bipartisan group of colleagues to pass legislation to permanently reauthorize these programs out of the Senate Small Business Committee this month.

We also need to provide tax certainty for small businesses so that they can grow and create jobs. That’s why I cosponsored the Small Business Tax Certainty and Growth Act to allow small business owners to focus on long-term investment in their businesses, and ease some of the complex accounting rules and administrative burdens placed on our job creators. This bill would also reduce the tax burden on new small businesses. Part of this bill was also signed into law at the end of 2015.

But another important part of supporting small business owners in New Hampshire is making sure that Washington regulations aren’t burdening Main Street. I’ve heard from countless small business owners from Nashua to Colebrook that complying with an ever-increasing amount of federal regulations continue to make it harder for them to keep operating.

That’s why I introduced the Small Business Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act to close loopholes harming small businesses by requiring agencies to conduct more extensive analysis of proposed rules, solicit input from the small business community, and regularly review regulations already enacted for their economic impact. While we need to have some regulations, they need to be developed thoughtfully, with input from those people who would actually be affected.

These days, many small businesses also have an online presence. Unfortunately, some in Congress want to hamper small business growth with an online sales tax. There’s nothing fair about the misnamed “Marketplace Fairness Act” that would levy this new tax, turning New Hampshire’s online business owners into tax collectors for nearly 10,000 jurisdictions across the country. We need to keep Internet commerce free from burdensome taxes and restrictions, and I’ll continue my efforts to prevent that or any other legislation to create this tax from moving forward.

In addition, I’ve had the opportunity to meet with manufacturers across the state to talk about ways to solidify New Hampshire’s status as a leader in manufacturing. Working across the aisle, I’ve helped introduce several provisions aimed at boosting partnerships with local businesses and schools to encourage students to pursue a career in manufacturing.

This Small Business Week, we’re reminded of the need to make sure that policies coming out of Washington support job creation, and make it easier for entrepreneurs in New Hampshire to launch and grow their small businesses. I’ll keep up that fight for Granite State small business owners and employees.

Republican Kelly Ayotte is New Hampshire’s junior U.S. senator.

Categories: Opinion