The Texas economy has been one of the strongest in the country for years. In fact, we were able to weather one of the worst financial crises the world has ever seen, and we have bounced back faster than most of the rest of the country. Now, with oil and gas prices sinking, our state must leverage all our available resources. According to the City of Houston, 99% of the businesses in Harris County are small businesses. These small businesses are the life-blood of our local economy. As State Representative for District 126, I pledge to make small business development one of my top priorities this coming legislative session.
Arguably one of the most burdensome problems for small business owners is the growing list of government regulations. According to a new study by the National Federation of Independent Business, unreasonable government regulations ranked second only behind cost of health insurance as the most severe issue facing small-business owners in 2016. Over-regulation is particularly challenging for small businesses because they can’t afford to retain staff dedicated to ensuring regulatory compliance. Large corporations accept this as a cost of doing business, but small businesses simply can’t afford it.
Texas limits small business regulations better than many other states, but the Federal Government and even some local governments have created a burdensome regulatory landscape. Business owners worry that accidental regulatory violations may be costly for their businesses. We cannot allow over-regulation in Texas. Over time, this drag on the economy discourages small business owners from taking risks that could grow their businesses, create jobs, and produce new innovations.
Another hurdle for small businesses, especially in our area, is access to capital. Financing the launch of a business or the expansion of an existing business requires a great deal of capital, but it can often be difficult for entrepreneurs to obtain the money they need. There is an enormous amount of capital in our district and the surrounding area, but it’s a matter of connecting investors, banks and venture capitalists to the entrepreneurs. I plan to work with small business owners and grass roots business organizations like the Women’s Business Forum and our communities Chamber of Commerce’s to create more avenues for investors and entrepreneurs to connect.
District 126 offers a strong infrastructure along with a highly trained and skilled workforce. We have many economic assets available to entrepreneurs and an existing economic climate that allows for consistent small business growth. I will work to help our small businesses in District 126 by preserving our current business climate while eliminating barriers to small business growth. I will champion initiatives to incentivize the start-up and growth of small businesses and give small business owners access to the tools they need to succeed.