Hurd on the Hill: Small Businesses Have Major Impact

May 4, 2015
Hurd on the Hill: Local Columns

Every day, your life is in some way impacted by a small business. Maybe it’s where you buy your coffee in the morning on the way to work or drop off your dry cleaning before taking the kids to school. The food you purchase from the local grocery store might have been produced by a local business, and a neighbor likely owns the gas station you frequent.

Since small businesses employ more than half of American workers, you might work for one. Or maybe you’re one of the brave souls who have chosen, at great risk, to start a venture of your own. 

My parents went through the process several years ago when they started their beauty supply store. My brother and I spent many an hour working beside them, watching them calculate payroll, keep track of tax withholdings, balance their ledger and stay compliant with a sea of federal red tape.  They made the sacrifices necessary to keep the business running through some pretty lean times.

I experienced this firsthand after I left the CIA and helped build a cybersecurity firm. My colleagues and I tried to spend most of our time engaging new clients so we could generate enough income to make payroll, but an inordinate amount of time was spent making sure the taxman got his due and keeping an eye on regulatory code put in place by faceless bureaucrats who have no clue as to what kind of burden their red tape creates. 

Despite the obstacles before them, small businesses are the driving force behind the American economy, responsible for about 70 percent of job creation every year. These folks put everything on the line, often going without paychecks and working day and night in hopes of achieving the American Dream. They provide goods and services that consumers want and need, while putting tens of millions of Americans to work every day.

Logic would dictate that the federal government would do all they can to empower small business owners and encourage more entrepreneurship. But a punishing, ever-changing tax code and an ever-increasing morass of red tape forces small businesses to spend countless hours, dollars and resources on compliance, instead of doing what they do best – build their business. This means fewer jobs for American workers and slower growth for our economy.

I’m working in Congress to do what small business owners in the 23rd Congressional District of Texas really want Washington to do – get out of their way. I joined colleagues from both sides of the aisle to vote for a repeal of the Death Tax, which keeps so many small businesses from being passed down to the next generation. I also voted to stop funding for the new EPA rules that would create more burdensome and unnecessary regulations for the dry creek beds and ditches located on family owned farms and ranches. Repealing Obamacare, with job-killing rules such as changing the 40-hour work week and taxes like the Medical Device Tax, is a vote I’ll keep making until it’s completely gone.

I will continue to fight for a simpler, fairer, flatter tax code, as well as for legislation that forces federal agencies to count the cost before issuing new red tape and requires Congress to vote on any expensive new regulations.

Our nation doesn’t need more stimulus packages. We don’t need more government interference. What we need is for the full force of American small business owners and entrepreneurs to be unleashed. And the best thing that Washington can do to help is remove the obstacles we’ve created and then let it happen.


A former undercover CIA officer, small business owner and cybersecurity expert, Will Hurd is the U.S. Representative for the 23rd Congressional District of Texas. In Washington, he serves as Vice Chair of the Maritime and Border Security Subcommittee on the Committee for Homeland Security, and as the Chairman of the Information Technology Subcommittee on the Oversight and Government Reform Committee.