Q&A: Supporting Small Business
With U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley
Q: Why do you make it a priority to support small business?
A: Small business is the backbone of America’s economic eco-system, serving as primary job creators and civic boosters in local communities across the country. According to the Small Business Administration (SBA), small businesses have created more than two-thirds of all net new jobs since the 1970s. They also account for more than half of all U.S. sales. What’s more, franchised small businesses account for 40 percent of all retail sales where eight million workers also earn their wages. Iowa small businesses employ 633,270 workers. Make no mistake. Small businesses provide more than paychecks and employment security. Small business owners are our friends, neighbors and civic leaders who pay it forward in their neighborhoods and local communities by supporting youth sports, food pantries, school auctions and blood drives in their hometowns. And the relationship goes both ways. Consider the groundswell of support this Fall that small businesses in Cedar Rapids and other nearby towns received from residents and volunteers to mitigate flood damage and protect local shops and livelihoods. When small businesses are thriving, they are able to hire more workers, grow wages and expand opportunity and prosperity for their workforce. I see it first hand during my 99 county meetings across Iowa. Main Street store fronts not only provide the convenience to buy merchandise locally, they offer personalized, neighborly services, from independently-owned restaurants and coffee shops to hardware stores, home décor, gifts and antique retailers. Small businesses grow hometown pride, foster vitality and contribute to a strong sense of community. The bottom line is that brick and mortar businesses rely on foot traffic and customer loyalty to own and operate their business and expand their bottom line.
Q: What is Small Business Saturday?
A: A coalition of small business advocates has worked to capture greater market share during the all-important holiday shopping season by promoting Small Business Saturday. It’s the Saturday following Thanksgiving Day. The idea behind the campaign is to encourage shoppers to visit locally-owned merchants at the start of the holiday shopping season and to keep them in mind throughout the year. By “shopping small” Iowans can make a big difference for local shopkeepers, from designers, to jewelers, bakers, clothiers, artists, brewers, and others who serve up delicious wares and unique products that are found right under our noses in our local communities. Organizers say the six-year campaign has reached more than 95 million Americans who have spent more than $16 billion on Small Business Saturday. Iowans gathering around the Thanksgiving table with family and friends can exchange recipes as well as favorite Main Street store fronts, from Iowa’s college towns to county seats. If we want these community treasures to stay open for business, shopping small can help keep local charm and commerce in our neighborhoods and town squares.
Q: At the federal level, what policies are you working on to help small businesses grow?
A: Ask any small business owner about what it takes to go from the drawing board to earning their first dollar, and it’s likely you’ll get an earful about licensing, lending and legal hoops they had to navigate to even open up for business. Navigating regulatory burdens and red tape, from health care to immigration, make it harder for businesses to get started in the first place. The complexity of the tax code causes headaches for small businesses year in and year out, stifling innovation, competition and productivity. That’s why I work to reduce the tax burden and reform misguided rules and regulations that harm the ability of small businesses to get ahead and stay ahead. For example, Obamacare has burdened individual policy holders and small business owners alike. In the new Congress, we will work to make health care more affordable and accessible for everybody. In addition, lawmakers have joined my bipartisan request asking the President-elect to rescind the Waters of the U.S., an example of unprecedented federal overreach that gives the EPA free rein over 97 percent of the land in Iowa putting farmers, property owners and many small business owners in the eye of federal bureaucrats for no reason. Addressing abusive and frivolous lawsuits, policing enforcement of anti-competitive business practices and restoring the ability of local community banks and lenders to jump-start economic activity on Main Street are additional priorities I will carry into the new session of the 115th Congress. During this season of Thanksgiving, let’s be grateful for the freedoms we enjoy every day in America, from one sun rise to the next. We cannot afford to take individual liberty and economic freedoms, such as the ability to open a business and own private property, for granted. We are blessed to live in a free society in which a free-market system allows ideas, products and services to compete for market share. As Americans, we benefit from free enterprise that allows consumers to shop for the best quality at the best value. So let’s give thanks for America’s small businesses. Whenever you have the opportunity to "shop small" and "dine small," know that you’re making a big difference for the local economy.