The United States is experiencing the worst unemployment crisis since the Great Depression. Almost 13 million Americans remain unemployed, and the unemployment rate has been above 8% for 42 straight months. In order to get our economy turned around and creating jobs, we've got to get small businesses prospering once more. Small businesses represent 99.9% of the 27.5 million businesses in America, employ nearly half of all private sector employees in the country, and have generated 65% of job growth over the past 17 years.
Over the past year and half, I've traveled throughout the 23rd District of Texas and met with numerous small business owners to hear directly from them on what they need to grow their businesses and create jobs. While I heard about several things that could be done to help small business job creation, higher taxes was not on the list. As a former small business owner myself, I understand that every dollar Washington takes in taxes is a dollar that a small business owner could be putting back into their business to expand it or use to hire new workers or pay existing workers higher wages. I've consistently fought to not only keep taxes low for small businesses, but to cut them further. That's why I supported the Small Business Tax Cut Act, which would provide a tax cut equal to 20% of a small business' active business income and allow them to use the money saved to hire more workers and grow their businesses and the local economy.
Unfortunately, on January 1st, all Americans -- including many small businesses -- are set to be hit with a massive tax increase unless action is taken to prevent it. According to the Congressional Budget Office, failure to stop this tax hike will increase taxes on small businesses and working Americans by $4.6 trillion over ten years, which breaks down to over $38,000 per American household, on average. Even though this tax increase has not yet happened, businesses are already cutting back investments and waiting to hire more employees because of the looming tax increase. Now is not the time for more uncertainty and more taxes for our small business owners and struggling families. That's why I proudly supported the Job Protection and Recession Prevention Act - passed by the House of Representatives on August 1st - which would prevent the looming tax hike for all Americans. However, President Obama and his allies in Washington are holding this plan hostage, insisting that to prevent taxes on some Americans we must permanently raise taxes on those Americans they deride as "rich", but in reality are hardworking American families and small businesses. In fact, according to the non-partisan Joint Committee on Taxation, 53% of small business income would be affected by President Obama's proposed tax increases, and an Ernst & Young study has shown the President's tax plan will result in the loss of 710,000 jobs.
At a time when our economy is in the midst of an economic downturn and job growth is lackluster, increasing taxes on families and small businesses does not make sense. We're a tax increase away from an economic recession, not an economic recovery. That's why I will continue fighting to ensure that hardworking families and small businesses are not forced to send more of their hard-earned money to Washington.