What Washington can learn from real job creators

Across the country and here in Connecticut, millions recognized women in business in October. Connecticut businesses owned by women soared in the past decade. Since the late 1990s, growth in Connecticut businesses owned by women far outpaced their national counterparts in overall revenues and number of employees.

During my statewide CT Job Creators: Women in Business Tour, I met with more than 60 women-owned small businesses and held a series of roundtable discussions with some of the women responsible for employing more than 92,000 workers in our state.

From Enfield to Milford and everywhere in between, small business owners across the state shared with me their very real fears about the direction of our country and the state of our economy. And while the reasons for starting their own business were as diverse as the businesses themselves, a common thread links these women. Government must get out of the way in order for small business owners to put the more than 160,000 people without a job in Connecticut back to work.

I am more convinced than ever after meeting with these hardworking small business owners that the jobs our people so desperately need will not be created by government. During roundtables held on a factory floor in Southington, in a bagel shop in West Hartford, an early learning classroom in Columbia, a café in New Haven and in a retail warehouse in Fairfield we discussed the three things Washington’s failure to lead has done to choke the growth of small businesses in Connecticut: skyrocketing taxes, heavy regulations and out-of-control spending.

What real job creators know about taxes

Not knowing what their tax burden is going to be from year to year prevents small business owners from growing their businesses and creating jobs. Linda, who owns a trucking company in Unionville, shared her frustration over Washington’s complete lack of understanding when it comes to job-killing tax increases. “As a trucking company, we depend on diesel fuel. When the government raises taxes on diesel, it takes a big chunk out of my budget. I’m not sure the politicians get that,” she explained.

What real job creators know about regulations

Ever-expanding regulations coming out of Washington are forcing some small business owners to cut back on benefits, negatively impacting workers. Stacey owns a commercial shredding company in East Windsor and used to pay 100% of her employees’ health insurance. She had to reduce that to 80% because of the rising cost of health care and concerns of new taxes and mandates that will come with Obamacare. Excessive regulations have also led to small businesses’ inability to access capital and lines of credit necessary to grow.

What real job creators know about spending

While taxes and regulations have varied specific impacts on the small businesses I visited, Washington’s out of control spending was an across the board concern. For many of the entrepreneurs, the job-killing tax increases and burdensome regulations were a direct result of Washington’s reckless spending habits. Mona, a restaurant owner from Southington, cited Washington’s inability to live within its means and the need for job creators’ perspective in Washington. “I think business people need to start running the country. We understand budgets and we know we don’t have unlimited resources. There are nights I go to bed worried about how I’ll make payroll the next week. I do whatever it takes to make my budget work, and I’d like to see our government do the same,” she said.

As a proven job creator, I understand what these small business owners are going through, because I’ve been there. I know what it’s like to take a risk to build something from scratch and I know what it’s like to be a working mother struggling to find that balance. And I know that what these small businesses need to create new jobs for people who want so desperately to work are fewer taxes, regulations and less government spending, not more. I know because I’ve been in their shoes, and this is the perspective I will take to Washington.

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