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Jackson Cit Pat: Growing jobs and opportunity on Main Street

April 25, 2016
Opinion Editorial
Talk to nearly any small business owner or employee and they'll tell you how challenging it has become to grow and create jobs.

The combination of heavy-handed regulations, confusing paperwork requirements, and a complex and unfair tax code make it harder and harder to succeed.

The federal government should be asking small businesses how to help them thrive, not telling them how to run their companies.

So far this session, I've hosted roundtables and panel discussions in every county in the 7th District and toured more than 140 individual small businesses, farms, and manufacturers.

With input from workers and small business owners, I recently introduced the Main Street Jobs and Opportunity Act. The legislation will support new jobs by reducing regulatory burdens on small businesses and encouraging them to innovate, expand, and create more job opportunities in our community.

Complying with the maze of mandates and regulations in the president's health-care law is one continued obstacle to booming economic growth. The law misguidedly changed the generations-old definition of "full-time employment" down to 30-hours per week, resulting in a loss of hours and wages for workers. The bill would restore the traditional 40-hour work week definition, protecting workers and providing certainty for small businesses.

Excessive occupational licensing requirements before entering a new field are another barrier for individuals looking to find meaningful work. The Main Street Jobs and Opportunity Act seeks to reduce unnecessary red tape and create reciprocity over state lines, where licensing requirements and regulations can vary greatly depending on the state.

While the entire tax code is in need of a dramatic overhaul, one of the most unfair provisions is the Death Tax, which amounts to double or triple taxation upon the death of a loved one. Instead of punishing people for pursuing their dreams, the bill would permanently repeal the Death Tax and allow family-owned farms and small businesses to keep their hard-earned assets and pass it along to their loved ones.

The Main Street Jobs and Opportunity Act also establishes small business start-up accounts to make it easier for new entrepreneurs to get their company off the ground or expand their existing one. By creating tax-deductible savings accounts, we can open doors for would-be small business owners to access the capital they need to turn their idea into a new business with more jobs in the community.

Additional sections in the bill will provide much-needed paperwork relief, limit frivolous lawsuits, and increase accountability at the IRS.

The cumulative effect of excessive red tape and taxation is taking its toll. According to a recent survey by the National Federation of Independent Businesses, optimism among small business owners is at its lowest point in more than two years.

To restore confidence and create a more prosperous future for hard-working families, we need policies that help small businesses do what they do best—innovate, bring their products to market, and hire new workers.

The heart of our economy is the local diners, family farms, and small shops and manufacturers that are the staple of our neighborhoods. They put in an honest day's work, yet are still struggling to get ahead.

Let's focus on helping them by growing a healthy economy for Main Street, not just Washington's.

- U.S. Rep. Tim Walberg, R-Tipton, represents the 7th Congressional District.This op-ed originally appeared in the April 24 edition of the Jackson Citizen Patriot.