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Mr. HELLER. Madam President, I don't believe any State has felt the brunt of this recession more than the State of Nevada. We are a State that leads the Nation in unemployment, leads in foreclosure, and leads the country in bankruptcy.
There is not an evening that goes by or a day that goes by that I am not thinking about what can we do to create jobs and get our economy moving. In order to help small businesses thrive again, we must tear down the barriers to growth and opportunity and launch this Nation into its next great chapter.
Small businesses are our Nation's economic backbone and they were built on the very same values of hard work and determination our Nation was founded upon. This issue is very personal to me. I spent most of my childhood working at my father's automotive shop in Carson City--Heller's Engine and Transmission. At this small business my dad taught me how to fix engines and transmissions but, more importantly, I learned about hard work, I learned about personal responsibility, and I learned how to provide an important service to our community.
Although my father's shop has been closed for some time, I have asked him what he would do as a small business owner in today's environment. First of all, he said, you couldn't open that same shop, not with the regulations, the taxes, the overhead that would be involved from what this government has produced. But his simple answer is he would have to close his shop because of the uncertainty and the costs due to all the Federal regulations and mandates.
Contrary to what some in Washington may believe, my father built his business and he worked long hours to make it successful. It was through this business that he provided for my mother and my five brothers and sisters. I can't thank my father enough for the values he instilled in me. It is humbling to think that all around our country sons and daughters are still learning from their parents who are making a living at their small businesses. These businesses are often struggling to make payroll, pay suppliers and, in some instances, can't even afford to pay themselves. These Americans are fighting every day to achieve the American dream, but what they get from Washington is more attacks on their livelihood in the form of new regulations, new mandates, and, of course, every day the talk of new taxes. Just last week, the majority party offered a tax plan that would kill 6,000 jobs in Nevada and more than 700,000 jobs nationwide. In a stagnant economy suffering from chronic unemployment, we should be looking for ways to strengthen job growth, not pushing destructive tax increases that serve as nothing more than political talking points.
Every week I hold telephone townhall meetings with Nevadans from across the State. Lately, a lot of Nevadans have discussed how some in the majority party are willing to take our economy off a fiscal cliff if Republicans will not vote for tax increases on small businesses.
For the past 2 weeks, I have asked all those participating in these townhall meetings if they believe this type of partisan politics is good for the economy. We shouldn't be surprised to know that a vast majority believe partisanship at the expense of the economy needs to end, and with that I agree.
Last Friday, I visited Joe Dutra, who owns Kimmie Candy in Reno, at his factory. He talked about how he is fighting to grow his business with his kids, John and Kathryn. Unfortunately, instead of supporting small businesses throughout our country, Washington has been making a difficult situation even worse. Joe has been getting a lot of heat lately from the press because he is standing up against politicians who belittle his efforts and has had the courage to fight the destructive policies coming out of Washington.
Let me assure my colleagues that Joe built his business and works hard to keep it going. That is what many small businesses across this country want to do. They want nothing more than to expand their businesses, hire more people, and pass on a legacy to their children and grandchildren that shows with hard work and dedication, anything is possible in America. Instead of encouraging this, Washington has increased their burden with miles of regulatory redtape. They passed a health care law that is costing jobs and continues with a top-down, Washington-knows-best mentality that has led to an anemic economy.
Small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy and will be a key component to our recovery. It is far past time Washington recognized this by encouraging their growth and getting our Nation on the right track.
Thank you. I yield the floor. I suggest the absence of a quorum.
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