Small businesses are the backbone of our economy, but they are too often overburdened by excessive regulation and taxation. Fundamental tax reform will provide a fairer and simpler system and will keep taxes at a reasonable rate. The tax relief packages of 2001 and 2003 created jobs and helped spur U.S. economic growth. I voted for the Tax Relief Act of 2005 to prevent many of these tax relief provisions from expiring, including small business expensing provisions and accelerated depreciation for leasehold properties and restaurants. I will continue to work diligently to ensure that these tax cuts are made permanent in the future. I will also continue to be a strong advocate for permanently repealing the death tax. Study after study shows that small businesses and family farms are hurt most by this unfair tax.
Unfortunately, Congressional Democrats have no problem with penalizing small businesses in their efforts to reward their friends in BIG LABOR. I have fought against the Democrat's Card Check legislation (H.R. 800) that would abolish the rights of employees to cast a secret ballot when deciding whether or not to unionize. I have also fought efforts to drastically expand the Depression era Davis-Bacon law to new government contracts. Many small businesses can't afford to pay government-mandated union wages and thus are unfairly disqualified from bidding on many lucrative government contracts. It is estimated that repealing Davis-Bacon would save taxpayers over $1 billion on construction costs and $100 million in administrative costs. In addition, the cost of compliance for the construction industry is over $200 million annually, and repeal of Davis-Bacon would lead to the creation of up to 31,000 new construction jobs.
Small businesses are also overburdened by the rising costs of health care. That's why I'm an active supporter of the Small Business Health Fairness Act to allow small businesses to join together through professional associations to purchase health insurance. Association health plans would give small businesses the same advantages Fortune 500 companies now hold; namely, greater bargaining power, economies of scale, and administrative efficiencies. I also supported the Help Efficient, Accessible, Low-Cost, and Timely Healthcare (HEALTH) Act which would reform the nation's broken medical liability system. The HEALTH Act would cap non-economic damages and curb frivolous lawsuits while still ensuring those who have been legitimately harmed are granted their day in court.
Small businesses are unfairly burdened by an overzealous legal system. I worked on three key pieces of legislation to try to reign in overzealous lawsuits. The Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act would establish mandatory sanctions for filing frivolous lawsuits and the Occupational Safety and Health Small Employer Access to Justice Act would allow small businesses to recover attorney's fees and costs incurred after successfully defending an OSHA citation. Finally, the Personal Responsibility in Food Consumption Act would prohibit lawsuits in federal or state courts against restaurants, food manufacturers and distributors based on claims the food contributed to the plaintiff's obesity or weight gain.
As the 110th Congress proceeds, I remain committed to helping keep and grow small businesses in Southwest Louisiana.
I am always eager to hear from my constituents. If you would like to speak with my staff about legislation impacting small businesses, please contact my Washington, D.C. office at 202-225-2031. For resources for small businesses, please visit http://www.sba.gov/la.