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Mr. HANNA. I thank the gentleman for yielding.
Mr. Speaker, small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy. They are the catalyst for job growth and job creation all across our Nation. They certainly are in upstate New York where I started my own small business some 30 years ago, which I ran successfully for that same period of time, employing hundreds of people from my community, friends and neighbors to this day.
Unemployment is still too high. It's over 8 percent in my home of New York. Our constituents want to go back to work. They just need the opportunity. That's what I heard from small business owners when I hosted a meeting of the Central New York Business Network earlier this month.
Government can help by advancing policies that enable our 27 million small businesses to do what they do best--compete and create jobs. There is no silver bullet, but there are solutions that we can work together on starting today. Here are a few:
Tax relief. Small businesses in America pay some of the highest taxes in the world, and the associated regulations are also an enormous barrier to growth. The average tax compliance cost for employees for small businesses is three times what it is for large businesses. We need to make taxes lower, fairer, more predictable and generally more understandable. We will be voting on a bill of this nature sometime this week.
Freedom from government competition. Too many of our small businesses find themselves pitted against their own government when it comes to doing commercial work like landscaping, construction, and engineering. We should require Federal agencies to use the private sector when providing goods and services that are available in the open marketplace. This gives small businesses in our community a chance to work efficiently and create jobs, and this has been shown to save taxpayers money.
Finally, and most importantly, a jobs-based
education policy. A major root cause of our long-term unemployment is the changing nature of the global marketplace. We are competing against developing countries like never before. Competition isn't bad, but we need to be better prepared. In order to maintain a high standard of living, we need cultivate the value-added, knowledge-based innovative sector of our economy. This can only be achieved through education and a new focus on the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math, also known as STEM. STEM jobs, on the average, pay 27 percent more than non-STEM jobs. The only effective long-term way to rebuild the middle class is through education. It's been this way since the dawn of time with better-paying, tax-generating jobs that provide at least those basics of the American Dream: a home, a college education for your children, and a dignified retirement.
Mr. Speaker, there are few tasks more important than helping small businesses put our neighbors and friends back to work in America. Let's join to work on pro-growth policies that will enable them to do just that.
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