Congressman Scott Peters

Representing the 52nd District of California

Entrepreneurs: Engines of Our Economic Growth

Nov 18, 2014

Entrepreneurs: Engines of Our Economic Growth - Huffington Post 11/18/14 ( )

By: Reps. Scott Peters (CA-52), Patrick Murphy (FL-18), & Ron Kind (WI-03)

The bedrock of America's economy is the ability of entrepreneurs and innovators to start new ventures and build them through hard work and perseverance. That's why we, and many of our colleagues in the pro-growth New Democrat Coalition, introduced a resolution celebrating America's entrepreneurs with "National Entrepreneurs' Day" on the third Tuesday of each November.

We did it to honor the contributions of people like Shana Gonzales of Atlanta, a hardworking entrepreneur profiled in an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal earlier this year. Ms. Gonzales rose from a part-time cashier's job at a Taco Bell in the 1990s to ownership of four restaurants that generate $3.5 million in annual revenue.

If you listen to Ms. Gonzales speak, you'll hear echoes of a more optimistic, can-do era in American history. Speaking about her constant efforts to grow her business, she says, "Every time I think about getting out of the business, something exciting happens -- a promotion or a new direction that keeps me engaged."

A promotion. A new direction. Millions of Americans have been longing to hear those words for years. They may have been bruised by the impact of the Great Recession, but they're still fighting for a shot to strike out on their own and build their own success in America.

There's no question that the flame of entrepreneurship still burns brightly for millions of Americans: According to the Kauffman Foundation, 70 percent of our young people still dream of owning their own business one day. And new business owners are still putting their own resources on the line to kickstart their ventures: Eighty-two percent of entrepreneurs in 2012 used their own savings for startup cash. That level of commitment and determination makes it clear that entrepreneurs and small-business owners will continue to power our economic growth.

But on National Entrepreneurs' Day, we also have a responsibility to ensure that our policies help give every would-be business owner a fair shot in this economy. That means supporting two key bipartisan priorities: comprehensive tax reform and common-sense regulatory reform.

Our tax code, last updated at a time when America was a preeminent, unchallenged power atop the global economy, needs to be made simpler, fairer and more competitive. The office of the Taxpayer Advocate estimates that individuals and businesses spent an average of 6.1 billion hours a year on tax preparation or compliance, the same as hiring 3 million full-time employees. And compliance costs hit small businesses the hardest: It's more important than ever to give our businesses a tax code that provides stability and predictability. If we don't, our businesses will continue to flee offshore in search of tax havens, and our entrepreneurs will be forced to look elsewhere as they launch the next great products.

Likewise, our regulatory code must be streamlined for the 21st-century economy. While we have a responsibility to protect consumers and ensure that American workplaces are safe, we can do that without harming economic growth. The Federal Code of Regulations numbers nearly 170,000 pages, and more pages are added to the code almost every single day. An analysis by the Progressive Policy Institute shows that the number of pages in the code more than doubled since 1975. We have a choice: We can either grow the mounds of paper that our entrepreneurs have to sift through to launch new ventures, or we can make the code simpler and easier to navigate, allowing our economy to grow and create new jobs.

With smarter, more responsible tax policies and a leaner, more effective regulatory regime, we can ensure that our entrepreneurs have the tools they need to open the doors and hire and renew Americans' faith in the strength of our economic engine.

That would be the best National Entrepreneurs' Day gift of all.

Reps. Scott Peters of California and Patrick Murphy of Florida, both members of the pro-growth House New Democrat Coalition, introduced a resolution to create a "National Entrepreneurs' Day" in 2013. Rep. Ron Kind of Wisconsin, Chairman of the New Democrat Coalition, is a co-sponsor.