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Paving the way for small business success

By Brad Jewitt
web posted July 12, 2004

According to recent Census and Small Business Association figures, there are approximately 22 million small businesses in the United States. Believe it or not, these small businesses account for more than 44 percent of total U.S. private payroll, 50 percent of our Gross Domestic Product, and 60 to 80 percent of the new jobs created annually. Not a small contributor to our economy!

Further, did you know that small businesses employ more than half of all private sector employees and are more likely to employ younger workers, older workers, former welfare recipients, and women? Small businesses also account for incredible innovation and are responsible for innumerable 20th century inventions such as the personal computer, the helicopter, and the zipper, and important advances in the medical world such as insulin, the artificial heart valve, and the pacemaker.

The truth is, we have all been affected in one way or another by small businesses, whether it be by our neighborhood bakery, cleaner, café, auto repair shop, or travel agent. Each represents the hopes, dreams, and livelihood of the individual business owner and the strength and vibrancy of the American economy – the backbone of our nation’s economic strength as well as that of Maryland’s Fifth District.

Unfortunately, small businesses are also highly influenced by government policy. Too often, government installs legislation that overwhelms small business owners, stifling their ability to compete financially with larger companies or taxpayer-funded municipal agencies. Smaller firms, such as those with fewer than 20 employees, must spend 60 percent more per employee than larger firms to comply with federal regulations. Small firms often spend twice as much on tax compliance as their larger counterparts, and frequently pay large payroll taxes.

Clearly, there are better ways to conduct affairs in government -- ways that reduce the regulatory and taxation burden on small businesses to encourage growth. The president and Congress have taken significant steps to remove barriers to business development by reducing taxes on several occasions. However, these tax cuts will expire soon without congressional action. Making these tax cuts permanent will keep more money where it belongs -- in the hands of hardworking Americans and their businesses -- in addition to encouraging small business investment.

Reducing taxes isn’t the only way to support small business, of course. Congress considers measures to encourage small business investment and job creation many times each legislative session. In fact, according to the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB), there have been at least twenty-one bills voted on by Congress in the last two years that have sought to minimize restrictions placed on our nation’s small businesses. Of these twenty-one bills considered highly important by the NFIB, my Democratic opponent, Steny Hoyer, voted against small business interests every time. I am surprised by the traditional lack of support for small business in my district.

For example, last May Congress considered the Jobs and Growth Tax Relief package. The bill was designed to help stimulate the economy, largely through assisting small businesses. It would accelerate certain tax cuts, reduce capital gains taxes, and increase small-business expensing limits. Despite all this, Rep. Hoyer voted No. But this is the kind of legislation this country -- and our district -- needs if we hope to keep our economy vibrant.

Economist Bruce Bartlett recently noted that while small businesses are responsible for nearly 75 percent of new jobs, they are also responsible for a vast amount of job losses. For this reason alone, we must be careful when considering legislation that unnecessarily burdens America’s small businesses -- legislation that can very easily mean the difference between a business’s continued success or imminent failure. Maryland’s Fifth District needs a representative who will vote with the men and women struggling, fighting, and sweating to make their businesses work.

According to current economic reports, there is clearly cause for optimism. More people are finding and keeping work. Southern Maryland is projected to be the number one economic engine in Maryland throughout the next 10 years. I am excited and hopeful, but I am also cautious. I realize that a favorable business climate doesn’t just happen on its own. Businesses and jobs don’t simply appear. Government must first create an environment that is business-friendly and pro-growth.

As Maryland’s Fifth District candidate for Congress, I will work to create and nurture such an environment. I will work to ease the regulatory and taxation burden on small businesses, promote investment by individuals and businesses, and encourage free and fair trade. We must have smart, fresh leadership that understands that supporting small business lays the foundation for a more prosperous future, not only in Maryland, but also throughout the country. 

Brad Jewitt is the Republican nominee for U.S. Congress in Maryland’s Fifth Congressional District. To learn more about the Jewitt for Congress campaign, please visit our website at www.jewitt2004.com, or call (301) 486-0089.

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