Access to Capital, Regulations Burden Small Business Community

Access to capital, affordable health care and tax reform were issues highlighted by politicians and business people this week in a Washington D.C. forum entitled, “Main Street Matters: Jobs, Wages, and the Small Business Economy.

Rep. Steve Chabot (R-Ohio), chairman of the House Small Business Committee, said the entire small business community is negatively impacted by the overreach of the federal government.

“The number one issue for small business is over regulation and the red tape that comes with it,” he said.

He said the priorities of the Republican conference are regulations governing health care and tax reform.

“Regulations have been a wet blanket on the economy,” he said. “Our goal is to get growth up to 3 percent which would help pay for tax reform.”

He said small business owners’ chief complaint about the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare, is the cost.

“Small business owners were promised rates would come down and it’s been the opposite,” he said.

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship, said Obamacare needs changes to improve it, rather than repeal and replace it.

“Most small businesses want to provide health care, but the challenge is the cost,” she said. “Things need to be fixed and the law needs changes to improve it.”

Both politicians agreed that access to capital is an issue for small business owners, especially for start-ups, and that the Small Business Administration (SBA) under Trump Administration appointee Linda McMahon is taking steps to help small businesses and startups.

“I am pleased with Linda McMahon,” Shaheen said. “She has been very responsive to the issues affecting lending programs and access to credit. It has gotten better but not as well as it could be on the issue of access to credit for small businesses.”

Chabot said McMahon will be a great administrator at SBA.

“She understands the process for small businesses to grow into larger, successful businesses.”

Citing the critical need for access to capital by small businesses, Chabot said: “The big problem is Dodd-Frank. It was a reaction to a meltdown and it is negatively affecting community banks and credit unions. It is tough for small businesses to get loans.”

Douglas Holtz Eakin, President of the American Action Forum, an economist and a small businessman who started his think tank and now employs 26 people, said there has been a steady decline of new businesses being created.

“The regulatory environment is the real issue,” he said. “Regional and community banks are not making loans.”

The forum was hosted by The Hill newspaper and sponsored by Paychex.