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Kristie Arslan

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An Open Letter to the Budget Super Committee

Posted: 08/15/11 02:20 PM ET

The nation's smallest businesses would like to send our encouragement as you roll up your sleeves to address our nation's debt challenges, including finding $1.5 trillion to cut from the federal budget. That's a big number and no small task - we are writing to ask that you keep the 22 million self-employed and micro-businesses in mind when you take out the red pen.

Who are we? We are self-employed and micro-businesses owners and we represent over 95 percent of the small business community. We are businesses with 10 or fewer employees and we directly contribute $1 trillion to the economy every year. Most people don't realize that the vast majority of businesses in the United States are very small enterprises.

Each of us who pursues self-employment not only has the luxury of being our own boss, but we are also keeping one more person off the unemployment rolls, supporting ourselves and our families, and contributing to the economic vitality of our communities. We are doing our part to help the nation reduce its debt by paying taxes. Frankly, if some of the nine million unemployed Americans were given some incentive to join our ranks, we'd be paying down that debt a lot faster.

We have concerns about the outcome of the debt-ceiling debate and the nation's flagging credit rating. Being so small means we often rely on credit or micro-loans to keep our businesses afloat whether the economy is booming or busting. We have watched with envy as large businesses and corporations have benefitted from stimulus spending and lucrative bailouts! There was little to nothing in those efforts to jump start the economy for us - the small business community.

What can you do for us? You can make the tough decisions.

The tax code is a good place to start. Self-employed business owners need to be CEO, COO, head of sales as well as their own accountants. We don't have the luxury of big business accounting departments that can manage the complicated and ever changing tax system. Undertake meaningful reform of the tax code by moving towards a simpler and more equitable system, giving all businesses, regardless of size, the same tax benefits so there is a level playing field. Furthermore, reform should also enable America's businesses, big and small, to compete in the global economy.

Protect programs that incentivize entrepreneurship to jumpstart our economy. Remember, today's small business could be tomorrow's big business and even if they choose to stay small, increased entrepreneurship will help foster innovation, create jobs and bring in additional revenue to our federal coffers. Help us jumpstart the economy with long term policies not short term "fixes."

Finally, go where few have gone before - Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and Defense spending. Most self-employed Americans are willing to make some sacrifices if it means that our policymakers will proactively address our federal deficit and our nation's economy would improve.

We know you have a lot on your plate, but we ask that you keep a simple question in mind as you work: will this change help small business owners keep their doors open and grow? Will it encourage others to go after their American dream? If you're not sure, ask us. If it will make it harder for us to thrive, then it's not good public policy for America.

Sincerely,

America's smallest businesses -- the self-employed and micro-businesses

 

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