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Public Statements

Solutions for Small Businesses

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. GRAVES of Georgia. Mr. Speaker, tonight we're going to have a conversation that I think impacts Americans all across this country, and it's about small businesses, and what has this Congress been doing, what has the President been doing or promoting, and how is it impacting small businesses.

I am going to be joined tonight by some great, great colleagues and champions of small business to talk about what are some of the solutions, what can we be doing here in Washington, not creating more government, not spending more money, but what can we be doing to create an environment that is conducive for business development and for our small business owners.

When I think about the greatness of America, we can list so many items and characteristics of this great Nation, and one of those would have to be small businesses--taking a simple idea in a free market system and taking it to the consumer and growing a business.

And we hear a lot from the administration. They say, businesses are too big. Yet, they need to be smaller. For small businesses, you guys are going too fast, too far. You need to slow down. When, in fact, it should be just the opposite. We should be encouraging small businesses to do more, to grow faster, to invest in their employees.

There is no big business in this Nation that did not first start out as a small business. And I would contend that tonight, Mr. Speaker, that there are small business owners all across this Nation, here even in the eastern time zone, that have yet to have gone home because they're still working. They get up each and every day, putting on their boots, chasing that dream, that idea that they have, and turning it into a business or a concept and chasing that American Dream, to realize that American Dream.

So, to all those small business owners across this great Nation, I want to say thank you. I want to say thank you for your hard work, for pushing against the burdens that come from the Federal Government, the high gas prices, the regulatory environment, this crazy Tax Code that we have, and say don't give up. We are here with you tonight, and we're going to be speaking on your behalf tonight.

I have been joined by some Members from all across this country who are going to talk about small business and concepts that we can be promoting here in Washington to help the small business owner to promote an environment in which small businesses can flourish, not creating more government.

Before I do that, Mr. Speaker, I'd like to read a letter. I think it's important to share correspondence from our constituents. This comes from Mark, who is in Cumming, Georgia. He says:

Congressman Graves, I just wanted to let you know that I am a business owner in Cumming, and I'm tired of all my hard work going to pay taxes which the Federal Government squanders--Federal income tax, State income tax, property tax, sales tax. We are all taxed to death, and apparently, the tax system we have in place now is not working or we wouldn't be so far in debt. So I am strongly in favor of passing the Fair Tax. I believe this system is not only much more equitable, but it eliminates loopholes. It is a much simpler and fairer way to raise revenue. That won't solve the mismanagement of our taxes by government, but at least it will allow us to keep more of the money that we earn. Please vote for it. Thank you.

Mark, I'm happy to tell you, not only will I vote for it, but I'm a cosponsor of it.

Next up to speak on the Fair Tax is the sponsor of the Fair Tax himself, and that's Congressman Woodall from the great State of Georgia.

Congressman Woodall, share with us a little bit about the Fair Tax, about how it impacts small businesses and how it would help them.


Mr. GRAVES of Georgia. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for sharing that with us.

You're right, you talk about small business owners. They're going to work extremely hard. They get up early every day. They work late every night. They're going to pay their fair share. They just want to know it's being handled properly and that it's being fairly collected.

Mr. Woodall, I hear criticisms every now and then about the Fair Tax. I'm a cosponsor of it. I hear criticisms here and there. They say, Well, this will impact one group more than another. How can something called the ``Fair Tax'' not be fair to everyone?

How do you refute that when they come up with the criticisms to the Fair Tax? Actually, I guess, when they're criticizing the Fair Tax, they're defending the current Tax Code and the 60,000 pages of mess that we currently have and the loopholes and the corporate welfare. They must be defending that. So how do you respond to the criticisms that you hear?


Mr. GRAVES of Georgia. Thank you. I hope you'll stick around. In a minute, I'm going to yield to the gentleman from Ohio.

Just to make clear, I mean, the Fair Tax is not an additional tax; it's not something that is added on, a layer. It's actually eliminating income tax, eliminating corporate income tax, eliminating capital gains tax, dividend tax, death tax. It's eliminating all of that. It's throwing it all out. I guess it's eliminating the Internal Revenue Service for some part and in a great way, and I think there would be a lot of Americans across the country applauding on that day if that were to ever occur.

Also with us tonight is the chairman of the Republican Study Committee, Congressman Jim Jordan from Ohio, a great leader on conservative principles, a great mind when it comes to policy, and I know a great advocate for tax reform. Regardless of fair or flat or whatever it is, it's about empowering the taxpayer and not empowering the government.


Mr. GRAVES of Georgia. Thank you, Chairman Jordan.

You're absolutely right about small business owners. They don't want equal outcomes; they just want equal opportunity. That's what it's all about. That is the American Dream. That's American exceptionalism. Just give me a chance and I will beat the next guy, the next Nation. We are more competitive. And when we have that more competitive advantage and it's a level playing field, we will win every time. That is the spirit of the small business owner.

Speaking of spirit and small business owner, we have joining us also tonight, Jeff Landry from Louisiana. I thank you for joining us, and I look forward to hearing your insight.


Mr. GRAVES of Georgia. I thank the gentleman from Louisiana for sharing his insight tonight, and you're absolutely right. You brought us some great points about small business owners. They do all the things they do that the government never does: They get up every day early; they work hard and long; they know how to balance budgets; they pay paychecks; they pay their taxes. They have to every day be held accountable by the consumer with their goods.

Is it meeting the demands of the consumer? Is the customer service there? Every day they're held accountable, and every day they get up with that desire and that drive to produce a better product, a better good and provide a better service. What a great tribute to the small business owners across America.

With that, I'd like to shift over to Mr. Hanna from New York, who is going to share with us about small businesses in his region. I want to thank you for joining us and appreciate your leadership on this issue.


Mr. GRAVES of Georgia. I thank the gentleman from New York.

I appreciate your plea there. Let's get government out of the way. Let's let small business owners do what they do best, and that is dream big and work hard.

Next to share with us is Mr. Bartlett from Maryland. Thank you.


Mr. GRAVES of Georgia. Thank you. I appreciate your words there.

As I wrap up this segment that we have here this evening, I just want to say thank you to the small business owners across America. You have heard great reports from Members of Congress who are with you, who are fighting with you and fighting for you. We just want to thank you, because every day you're getting up and you're going against some of the greatest pressures and the greatest burdens that a government could ever place on you, but you don't give up.

You get up each day. You put the boots on. You go out and you work hard. You take that dream, that idea, that concept, and you build it into reality, and you are building jobs and you are providing for other families. We want to thank you for that.

While the optimism index is getting lower, the misery index is getting higher. I'm here to tell you Americans have not given up. Small business owners have not given up. In fact, statistics show that if just one out of two businesses across this Nation hire one person in the next 12 months, unemployment would be near zero. That's how close we are, because small business owners haven't given up. I want to thank you for that. I want to applaud you for that. Keep up the great fight.

With that, Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.

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