Scott Tipton: Small businesses key to progress
April 30 through May 6 marks National Small Business Week, a time when we recognize the significant role small businesses play in the United States. According to the Small Business Administration’s 2016 statistics, 97.6 percent of businesses in Colorado are small businesses, and small businesses employ more than 572,000 people, making up 49 percent of the private workforce.
Small businesses are truly the backbone of our state’s economy, and we must do everything we can to support entrepreneurs and job creators. Unfortunately, federal regulations have stifled small business growth. A 2014 study by the Brookings Institute showed an alarming trend: In recent years, the number of small businesses that have shut down exceeds the number that have opened their doors. This is a troubling fact, especially in rural America, where small businesses create approximately two-thirds of all jobs.
I was a small business owner for 30 years, and I know firsthand the impact federal regulations can have on the ability to access capital, expand facilities and hire more workers. I have approached my work in the House Financial Services Committee through this lens of experience, and my focus has been on advancing policies that will create an environment in which we see more businesses opening than closing each year.
We have held several business roundtables in our district the past few years, and I continue to hear from community bankers and business owners that they are spending more of their resources on complying with federal regulations than serving their communities. For local businesses, this means they can’t expand their operations, hire more employees or put extra cash toward sponsoring a local athletic team. For community bankers, it means they can’t make the loans that will keep a business from closing its doors.
So far this year, Congress has passed and the president has signed 13 congressional resolutions of disapproval that rollback unnecessary, overly burdensome federal regulations, and the House has passed the REINS Act (H.R. 26), which would require congressional approval of any regulation that would have an economic impact of $100 million or more.
I am hopeful that, after passing out of the Financial Services Committee twice in the 114th Congress, my bill — the Taking Account of Institutions with Low Operation Risk, or TAILOR Act — will be signed into law this year. Right now, community banks in Colorado are regulated in the same way as the big banks on Wall Street. The business model and risk profiles of Colorado community banks and Wall Street banks are completely different, and they should be regulated accordingly.
The TAILOR Act ensures banking regulations are more effective and appropriate by requiring federal agencies to tailor regulations to fit the unique business model and risk profile of financial institutions. Providing community banks with reasonable relief from onerous federal regulations will get more capital moving to the businesses that support communities across the 3rd District.
To create greater opportunities for Coloradans, Washington needs to get out of the way of small businesses. My experience as a small business owner will continue to guide my work in Congress, and I’ll keep fighting for policies that allow small businesses to do what they do best: create jobs.
U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton represents Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District. He serves on the House Committee on Financial Services and the House Committee on Natural Resources and is vice chairman of the Financial Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations. He also serves as executive vice chairman of the Congressional Western Caucus and co-chairman of the Congressional Small Business Caucus.
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