As a small business owner myself, I understand the role we play in our communities, and what we need to do to encourage small business growth.
As with so many other Architects, Homer & I both lost our jobs in 2008. All professions related to building trades and the construction industry were hit especially hard. We were immediately thrust into the world of small business ownership when we started Oatman Architects. For those first couple years, we struggled back to our feet, choosing to pay for business start-up expenses and make house payments, over paying for heat or UNaffordable COBRA health care…
Over the last 8 years, the economy has improved, affordable health care was passed, and after many years of hard, good work, Oatman Architects down on the Balboa Peninsula is thriving. We are doing very well now, but it was not easy to get here. Small business owners often work 7 days/week, and we are no exception. Even though we only have 7 employees and are not required by any law to do so, we give all of our employees complete health care benefits, because it is the right thing to do. It is also the only way we can attract the best talent in our industry, which is important for our success. But we do so at great cost, and we must level the playing field for small businesses, so we can compete against the mega-corporations with their billionaire CEOs and investors.
Here are 5 ways we can make it easier for small business owners:
- Access to financing. We must give small business owners access to low-interest financing they need to build, grow & hire. Let’s boost small-business lending by easing burdens for our local community banks and credit unions. Let’s allow young entrepreneurs, job creators of the future, to defer student-loan payments with no interest while they get their ventures off the ground.
- Tax code reform. America’s federal tax code is 73,954 pages long, and small businesses spend on average 150 hours and $1,100 per employee making sure they comply with federal tax laws (more than 20 times higher than larger firms). Let’s finally simplify the tax code so small businesses can track and file their taxes simply and easily. Let’s allow for start-up tax deductions at the federal level, then offer state and local governments incentives to cut red tape and streamline unnecessary licensing to make it less costly to start a small business.
- Health care benefits. Let’s expand the health care tax credit for employers with less than 50 employees who do choose to offer health care. Then, when we pass universal health care, small businesses will no longer need to incur health care costs at all, and will save money. Small business owners rely on keeping their small group of employees healthy and productive, and when we no longer have the worry about absent critical employees (and with small business, they are all critical employees), this will truly unleash the power & growth potential for all of us.
- Protecting small businesses. Unethical big businesses (like Donald Trump’s) build their fortunes by repeatedly stiffing the small businesses that do work for them, not paying for goods & services. Let’s stop large corporations from using expensive litigation to deny small businesses payment for services, and let’s give small businesses recourse to take on this predatory behavior. Let’s also stop unethical attorneys from filing frivolous litigation against small business owners.
- Supporting small-business owners & entrepreneurs. Let’s work together to support each other, to provide incubators, mentoring programs, and training to entrepreneurs and small-business owners for all residents in District 48, from Seal Beach to Laguna Beach, Aliso Viejo to Oak View Communidad in Huntington Beach.