Local Economy and Business
Several years after our country was thrust into the worst economic crisis in generation, the outlook in Washington State and many areas throughout the United States is gradually improving. Congress responded to the crisis with multiple initiatives to prevent a much deeper economic disaster, but we are not out of the woods yet. There is still much work to do to create good jobs, lower the employment rate, and create the conditions that encourage Washington State businesses to grow.
Government cannot create the spark of ingenuity for a new product nor the drive to turn a good idea into a flourishing business venture. However, it is critical that government create an environment that encourages new enterprises to be launched and the conditions for businesses of all sizes to succeed.
It is essential that government work to support the education of a world-class workforce for the challenges of today and opportunities of tomorrow, reward innovation, get our deficit under control, and improve our aging infrastructure to meet the needs of the modern economy. We must set the stage for successful entrepreneurship and growth today and in the future.
Congress also has a responsibility to address our fiscal issues in a balanced and effective way that strengthens the fundamentals of our economy. We need to take steps to address our long-term budget challenges while making the smart investments in the future that workers and industry need.
There is a tremendous amount of work to be done to implement sound, forward-thinking policies focused on job creation, growing the economy, supporting businesses, and strengthening the middle class. Policy and business leaders must work together to advance the competitiveness of U.S. products, spur innovation, and provide global leadership now and into the future.
Successful small businesses are the backbone of a healthy economy. In 2016, small businesses made up 98% of Washington State’s employers, accounting for nearly 52% of private-sector jobs in the state. We look to the small business community for innovative technologies and practices, job creation for the new economy, and the advancement of American competitiveness in the 21st century. In tough economic times, it is more important than ever that we provide the assistance that our small businesses need. An effective relationship and dialogue with the federal government is critical to the success and growth of small business. I strongly believe in economic policies that spur small business growth, including sound tax policies and programs that make it easier to wade through the various regulations and paperwork often required to do business with the federal government.
I have met with local businesses throughout the 9th Congressional District in order to stay informed about the needs and concerns of small business. I have hosted regular Small Business Forums, which have focused on small business access to capital, credit and loan guarantee programs, and capacity building in areas such as social media. My office also coordinates Grants and Procurement workshops, through which we have helped to educate hundreds of local business leaders about all of the steps necessary to become competitive for federal contracts, and these events have helped to level the playing field between small business and large corporations.
Throughout my career in Congress, I have supported legislation that encourages small business growth. In March 2012, I supported the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act, which was signed into law by the President. The bill included important provisions designed to help small, innovative startup companies get access to the capital they need to succeed. I am also supportive of my colleague Rep. Suzan DelBene’s Women’s Small Business Ownership Act of 2015 which directs the Office of Women's Business Ownership within the Small Business Administration (SBA) to provide annual training geared towards helping women-owned businesses to start, operate, and grow, their small business.
Our region is home to one of the leading innovation based economies in the country and it is critical that small, innovative startup companies have needed flexibility to grow.
For more information on this issue, sign up to receive Congressman Smith’s email updates.
More on Local Economy and Business
“President Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement is a disastrous move that undermines the most significant global climate change agreement to date. Either the President does not understand or simply does not care about the devastating impact global climate change will bring about.
“Instead of proposing a budget that makes available the tools Americans and this country need to succeed, the Trump Administration has proposed a disastrous and ideologically-driven budget that demonstrates this President’s complete lack of interest in or understanding of the realities of governing. The President has doubled down on his earlier campaign promises, and makes clear he wants to limit the government’s ability to improve the lives of working Americans and diminish our country’s role in the world.
“This month’s tunnel breach at the Hanford Nuclear Site underscores the importance of policies that prioritize worker health and safety. While the complete collapse of the tunnel was averted, I remain concerned. The Department of Energy (DOE) is relying more on luck than on certainty that all measures have been taken to avoid a potential incident that could release radiation and contamination. Such an incident would cause unacceptable harm, endanger lives and require long-term evacuations of the area and huge remediation costs.
“House Republicans voted today to eliminate essential health benefits and protections for Americans. No one—especially not those Republicans who voted to pass it—bothered to consider the costs or the actual impacts of the American Health Care Act (AHCA) on working Americans, those with pre-existing conditions, and people who rely on Medicare and Medicaid. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) was by no means a cure to all of our healthcare challenges, but today’s bill ignores any opportunity for meaningful changes, and instead represents a dangerous leap backwards.
“Our current tax code is overly-complex; there is no question it needs reexamination and overhaul. The tax proposal released today by President Trump would be disastrous. Its almost singular focus on cutting taxes for wealthy people and companies will harm working people and undermine a healthy economy.
“Today is Equal Pay Day, 94 days after the new year, and the day when women’s wages finally catch up to what men were paid in the previous year. It is unacceptable that 53 years after passing the Equal Pay Act, women still make 79 cents for every dollar earned by their male counterparts. We cannot afford to wait any longer. Congress must act now to make equal pay for equal work a reality and close the gender pay gap.
The Mountains to Sound Greenway National Heritage Area Act would recognize a scenic byway and historic transportation corridor through 2,400 square miles that includes the Cascade peaks, wilderness lakes and forests, as well as a network of roads, rails and trails. It includes farms and forests, historic sites, lakes, campgrounds, rivers and wildlife habitat. The area is home to 1.4 million residents in 28 cities and 1,600 miles of trails.
For years, the Budget Control Act of 2011 (BCA) and its continued threat of sequestration have negatively impacted our economy, government, and harmed our nation. The Relief from Sequestration Act of 2017 is designed to repeal the sequestration mechanism in its entirety. This bill would end the threat of automatic, draconian cuts to important national priorities.
“Repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is a mistake and would throw away the meaningful progress we have made towards increasing the quality and accessibility of affordable health care. There is undoubtedly much work still to be done to improve our nation’s health care system but I strongly disagree with Republicans’ continued efforts to repeal the law, and their attempt to eliminate essential health benefits for Americans and their families.
“I am strongly opposed to the Republican plan to replace the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as ‘Obamacare.’ This legislation, known as the American Health Care Act (AHCA), introduced earlier this month, would take health insurance away from millions of people, hurt low-income and older Americans, and create considerable uncertainty about health care and insurance.