Business owners gathered Wednesday in a unique referendum-style discussion on President Donald Trump’s agenda. The House Small Business Committee met in Washington with a group of small business owners from across the country to discuss pain points and legislative priorities for small business.
The consensus among all the small business owners in attendance: Trump’s immigration policy is too restrictive. Two business owners reported “chronic stress” about potential deportations among their legal immigrant workers, and one business owner said, “they worry about this every single day.”
While the entrepreneurs were also mostly united on the need for a simplified tax code and better access to capital, the group was split on health care.
One business owner credited the Obama administration’s Affordable Care Act (ACA) for stabilizing the rising costs of health care premiums for employees, while another blamed the ACA for rising premiums and deductibles, making it difficult to offer competitive salaries to hire and retain employees.
The discussion also turned to concern over Trump’s proposed budget cuts which would affect the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) microloan program, a source of capital for many small, low-income businesses. The proposed budget allocates $28 million to microloan financing and technical assistance, a 20-percent decrease from last year.
When it comes to regulatory burdens on business, most of the business owners said they approve Trump’s plans to rein in things like wage and overtime rules. Federal regulations are estimated to cost the American economy as much as $1.9 trillion a year in direct costs, lost productivity and higher prices. The costs to smaller businesses with 50 employees or fewer are nearly 20% higher than the average for all firms, according to U.S. Chamber of Commerce data.
“I think we’ve finally got a Congress that can get its act together and work with President Trump and implement policies that will actually allow this economy to grow, create more jobs and allow people to keep more of their own money,” Rep. Steve Chabot (R-Ohio), chairman of the committee said.
The House Small Business Committee, created in 1941, is the legislative authority over the SBA. The group’s focus is to protect and assist small businesses in matters of financial aid, regulation and government policy.