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Congressman Tom Cole

Representing the 4th District of Oklahoma

Main Street Key to Economic Recovery

August 11, 2014
Weekly Columns

Throughout our nation’s history spanning more than 238 years, the United States has been recognized as a land of opportunity, where success can be achieved regardless of where you’ve come from. The American dream never fails to inspire old and young alike, and it will continue to motivate future generations to pursue big dreams, think creatively and foster new ideas. 

Our country’s ability to prosper depends heavily upon the success of small businesses, entrepreneurs and inventors. According to the United States Small Business Administration, an estimated two out of three new jobs in the economy are created by small businesses. Today, that includes nearly 60 million employees working for around 27 million small businesses nationwide. Looking specifically at Oklahoma’s contribution in 2010, the U.S. Department of Commerce recorded 332,998 small businesses that employed 673,373 people.

Oklahoma has an abundance of thriving small businesses that make us proud. Last week I hosted a Town Hall in Frederick.  I also spent time visiting with small businesses, such as Field’s Pies in Paul’s Valley. Known for its delicious pecan pies, Field’s has been baking and delivering pies since 1925 when it was just a single kitchen operation. Still family-owned, the company now serves a national market and is just one of many success stories from our state. The day after touring Field’s with owners Chris Field and Jenny Wallace, I was able to continue the important dialogue about the issues facing small business owners at an event hosted by members of the South OKC Chamber of Commerce. Each visit and conversation reminded me that there are very real challenges facing Main Street if the current regulatory, tax and healthcare environment is left unchanged. 

Small businesses are truly the backbone of our economy. In order for more companies like Field’s Pies to be established, create jobs and remain open, a healthy business environment must be in place in order for them to thrive. Unfortunately, many new business owners experience difficulty entering and staying in the marketplace due to burdensome regulations and high taxes. Now, with the implementation of Obamacare and the higher healthcare costs for businesses that accompany the new program,  business owners are forced to limit capital investments or slow expansion plans because of an uncertain regulatory environment and increased costs. 

Job creators should not be punished for trying to create jobs and opportunity. It’s critical that we find ways to clear red tape that’s preventing potential job opportunities that would encourage commerce and help the economy.