by Joshua Shin
A small business advocacy group has partnered with former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich to announce a plan on Wednesday to boost small businesses, fix the economy and provide opportunities for all Americans. The group announced the plan at Washington, D.C.’s Capitol Hill Club with a variety of speakers, including Gingrich who appeared live from a virtual location.
The Job Creators Network says the purpose of their American Small Business Prosperity Plan is to give members of Congress and their midterm challengers specific policies that would move America toward a positive, pro-growth economic agenda.
“Small businesses across the country are suffering as they endure 40-year high inflation, the lingering consequences of the pandemic lockdowns, labor shortages and a policy agenda that consistently puts entrepreneurs last,” said JCN President and CEO Alfredo Ortiz in a statement.
“The American Small Business Prosperity Plan will help reset the agenda in Washington in favor of Main Street by tackling the challenges small business owners face with common sense polices that everyone can get behind.”
Key points in the plan are to make the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act permanent to prevent tax relief for small businesses from expiring, exempt small business from any new federal regulations that are easier for large corporations to absorb and expand access to capital for small businesses.
It also contains recommendations to fight inflation and excessive government spending, boost domestic energy production to bring prices down and examine how to best unsnarl supply chains.
“Rapid inflation disproportionately hurt small businesses, which don’t have the economies of scale or preferential purchasing agreements of their big business competitors,” said Ortiz while speaking to an audience at the Washington, D.C. Capitol Hill Club.
He drew a connection between JCN’s Prosperity Plan and the 1994 Contract with America, a conservative legislative agenda spearheaded by then-Congressman Gingrich that resulted in Republicans gaining 54 U.S. House and nine Senate seats in that year’s elections, flipping both chambers.
That shift that led to the Georgia representative being elected as one of the most influential House Speakers in American history, and led to an era the media called the “Republican Revolution.”
“Small businesses are both the creators of jobs and the center of entrepreneurship from which future big businesses grow so having the American Small Business Prosperity Plan is very, very important,” Gingrich said via video link.
“And I think that getting the next Congress to focus on those steps in tax policy, regulatory policy and welfare reform that enables us to once again launch a generation of prosperity is really, really central to the future of the country.”
Two small business owners described their struggles against pandemic lockdowns, snarled supply chains, and now, soaring inflation.
“With inflation the way it is, I’ve had employees who’ve actually had to quit on me because they couldn’t afford to come to work because of gas prices,” said Nicole Wolter, president of Chicago-based HM Manufacturing.
Wolter noted that the Fed’s decision to raise interest rates by 75 basis points hurts her ability to grow her business.
“When you’re trying to get a piece of equipment that’s a million dollars, those basis points really to mean a lot, especially over an extended period of time,” said Wolter. “It’s clear that the climate for small business has soured, which is why we need Congress’ support for the American Small Businesses Prosperity Plan.”
As for successful policy proposals legislators should examine, Wolter credited the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act with unleashing a “tsunami of expansion” at her company.
“We were able to purchase $750,000 worth of new capital equipment. I was about to give raises and bonuses. I now pay 100% of healthcare,” Wolter said. “So just a little bit of relief that a small manufacturer, small business can get by not being taxed… it’s amazing what we can do for our team and for our community.”
Corina Morga, president of Baltimore-based CR Construction Services and an advocate for Hispanic and Native American entrepreneurs, highlighted how access to capital was key to providing opportunities to “minorities or people who have never had the chance before.” She spoke about how she went from cleaning toilets to owning her construction company – before COVID-19, that is.
“COVID almost wiped me out. 70% of my business was gone. I had to close my office down, I had to fire all my staff and I really had to get create and pivot and if I wanted to stay alive,” Morga recalled. “Now here we are working on another set of variables with inflation and the questionable access to capital… all of this is going to be the biggest strain on people like myself.”
She highlighted how many Native Americans have few economic opportunities because they are often deprived of capital or land ownership.
Morga said: “Because tribes are on federal land, as a tribal member, you don’t have access to own your own land. If you cannot build that wealth for yourself, you are not going to progress not even as a human being but as a culture or as a tribe as a whole. So I cannot express the importance of being part of an organization that really supports the spirit of entrepreneurship.”
Ortiz told ADN America that it was “mind-boggling” how the Biden administration had ignored small business through the pandemic.
“One of the biggest reasons is you don’t really have centralized lobbying for small business,” he said, referring to the sway larger companies have in Washington and the mainstream media.
“Enter the Job Creators Network. We’re not lobbyists but we’re advocates.”
“I don’t care if you’re a Republican, Democrat, Independent, Black, Asian, green, blue… I don’t care. If you’re a small business, we’re an advocate for you,” he continued.
JCN invited legislators and congressional candidates, regardless of party, to commit to supporting the plan.
“[Small businesses] are in dire straits and now they’re talking about more audits, higher taxes, more regs. Literally the opposite of what every small business needs,” he explained.
That’s why we had to put this plan out and we’re going to challenge the Democratic side because if they say they’re supporting small business, well then go ahead and sign because this is what they need.”
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Joshua Shin is a reporter for ADN America.
Photo “Job Creators Network Press Conference” by Job Creators Network.