Each year since 1963, Small Business Week is held to recognize the contributions of America’s small businesses. In America, 99.7 percent of all employers are small businesses and they employ more than half of America’s workforce. Responsible for more than half of our gross domestic product, small businesses are the backbone of our nation.
However, these hardworking job creators are under attack. Since the President took office in 2008, more small businesses have closed than opened. This is the first time business deaths have exceeded business openings since data has been recorded on the issue. Additionally, last year, the U.S. ranked 46th in ease of starting a business according to the World Bank. In 2007, we ranked third.
In Georgia alone, 1.5 million workers are employed by small businesses and the burdensome and costly regulatory framework this administration has created needs to be simplified to get the government out of their way.
Our tax system needs to be simplified. Our antiquated tax policies impose high compliance costs on small businesses and start-up firms. We need to cut regulatory red tape. The cost of complying with burdensome and complex regulations continues to increase. Finally, Obamacare must to be repealed. American Action Forum estimates that Obamacare regulations are reducing small business pay by at least $22.6 billion annually. In addition, Obamacare regulations and rising premiums have reduced employment by more than 350,000 jobs nationwide.
In the U.S. House of Representatives, we are working diligently on legislation to address these issues to change the trajectory for America’s job creators to build them up instead of bringing them down.
From our nation’s Capitol:
Monday, May 4: What a weekend! While I normally go home after votes are completed on Fridays, I delayed going home this weekend until Saturday afternoon so that I could greet the Honor Flight participants from Savannah and Brunswick who arrived Saturday morning. The Honor Flight network is a non-profit organization created to honor America’s Veterans for their sacrifices. It is made up of volunteers who bring World War II and Korean War veterans to Washington, DC, to view the WWII and Korean War memorials.
This was without question one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. We arrived at the WWII memorial at 8:30 a.m. with our hand-made signs reading “Thank you for your service” and “Welcome to Washington, D.C.” With a light breeze blowing the cherry blossoms through the air and perfect temperatures, the only thing more beautiful than the weather was the look on the veteran’s faces as they arrived to the cheers of grateful Americans. School groups, marching bands and an honor guard were on hand to greet our heroes. Former Senator Bob Dole (R-Kan.), himself a WWII veteran, sat in a swivel chair and greeted each veteran personally as they entered the memorial. I have never been involved in a more patriotic celebration before. What an honor!
Monday begins with a ribbon cutting for the new Military Resource and Veteran Services Center at Armstrong State University. ASU has always supported our veterans and this new center will provide support services to the over 1,000 military-affiliated students on campus. Next, we head over to the Armstrong Center where I am hosting my first Veterans Services Forum with experts from Veterans Affairs (VA) offices from across the region as well as Veterans Service Organizations and other non-profits dedicated to serving our heroes. The forum is a great success thanks to the hard work of our staff and provides veterans an opportunity to meet with health professionals and others who can help them navigate the VA.
Later in the afternoon, I head down to Brunswick to participate in the groundbreaking of the Mariner Village residence hall on the campus of the College of Coastal Georgia. This private-public partnership is another example of the fine work being done at our higher education facilities across the state and particularly in Brunswick.
Tuesday, May 5: I’m in Pierce County near Offerman this morning to participate in the grand opening ceremony of the Southern Ionics Mineral Sand Plant. This multi-million dollar investment will create over 140 jobs in the area and provide a great boost to the economies of Pierce and Wayne counties. Former Congressman Lindsay Thomas, who has been intricately involved in this project, serves as the emcee of the event and does a great job.
Afterwards, I head to Blackshear to tour Sundance Boats, a small boat manufacturer that employs over 50 people. The ingenuity and work ethic of many of these small businesses always amazes me and Sundance Boats is certainly a great example of both. Later, I head to Pierce Timber Company, another great Pierce County business, to meet with my friend Hugh Thompson and discuss issues affecting the timber industry.
After completing a radio interview with the Atlanta Journal Constitution, I head to Ludowici in Long County for their annual Law Day celebration where they are unveiling a portrait of long-time Sheriff Cecil Nobles. As family and friends share stories of one of the longest serving and most beloved sheriffs in Georgia history, it reminds me of the lasting impact one person can have on a community.
Wednesday, May 6: I stay closer to home today as I visit my alma mater, Robert W. Groves High School in Garden City to discuss school food programs and child nutrition reauthorization. I have the opportunity to meet with students and staff as well as some of the area farmers to discuss school lunches and learn what the challenges are in providing our students with nutritional lunches. As a member of the Committee on Education and the Workforce, it is important for me to experience this first hand as we will be reauthorizing this program in the near future.
Somewhat to my surprise, and certainly to my delight, I learn that for the most part the students are quite satisfied with their choices for lunch. After our meeting, I have the opportunity to join six students for lunch in the cafeteria and enjoy a meal of glazed chicken, mixed vegetables, and a trip through the well-stocked salad bar furnished by a public-private partnership. nteracting with these impressive young people and learning of their future plans and dreams reassures me that our country will continue to be in good hands.
While things have certainly changed at my alma mater since I was a student here many years ago, it still brings back fond memories of friends and teachers.
Next, we head to Shuman Elementary in Savannah where we observe the students during their lunch and speak to them about their experiences with their garden where they grow some of the vegetables that they have available for lunch. One of their many fine volunteers, former Harlem Globetrotter Larry “Gator” Rivers who is celebrating his birthday today, joins us in our tour of the garden and shares stories of the student’s experiences in the garden.
Afterwards, I head to our district office on Abercorn Street where I have a series of meetings with constituents before heading to a tour of the Strength of Nature facilities in Savannah. This phenomenal company produces beauty products to people of African descent that are sold around the world and employs over 250 people in our area.
Thursday, May 7: I’m in Riceboro today to tour the facilities of SNF Holdings and learn more about one of Liberty County’s largest employers and the products that they produce. Employing over 1,000 people and providing products such as water-soluble polymers for wastewater treatment plants throughout the world, this privately owned company is one of our area’s finest manufacturers. Next, I head to Jesup where I have the opportunity to speak to the local Rotary Club, after which I travel to Long County High School for a tour of their school and to speak to a government class.
Heading back to Savannah, I stop by Walthourville for a tour of Carpethia Paws, a volunteer organization that tries to save stray animals in Liberty County. Later, after attending the National Day of Prayer event in Pooler, I visit with a group of Vietnam veterans from across the country who are in Savannah and being hosted by former Mayor Herb Shaw from Jesup.
Friday, May 8: I’m in Waycross today and begin the day with a meeting with Paul Smith, the Ware County manager. Next, I meet with the new CEO of the Mayo Clinic in Waycross, Dr. John Presutti, before heading to the Waycross-Ware County Public Library, where I present them with a U.S. flag that we flew over the U.S. Capitol on their behalf. Before heading home, I have the honor of participating in the graduation ceremony at South Georgia State College, formerly known as Waycross College, which is one of the fine institutions of higher education in our district and state.