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SPOTLIGHT
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D.C. should just get out of the way

Published on -6/19/2013, 9:42 AM

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Ronald Reagan once said one of the scariest phrases in the English language is "I'm from the government, and I'm here to help." Nowhere is that saying more true than for our nation's small businesses.

Listening to our local job creators is so important because small businesses provide more than one-half of the jobs in America, especially here in the Heartland. They spend countless hours and sleepless nights building a business, so they provide a little better life for their family. In turn, they are important citizens in our communities by employing their neighbors, paying the taxes that fund our local governments, and often sponsoring the local Little League teams.

While big businesses and liberal special interests in Washington negotiate deals on what new regulations will be "acceptable" to them, our small businesses struggle to keep up. They cannot afford to hire an army of lobbyists and lawyers to sift through the mountains of new mandates that are passed each year. Instead, they work extra hours at their office or at their kitchen table trying to demystify the government mandates, make payroll, pay off the loan, and maybe take that family vacation. And, there is no relief in sight.

This year in particular, our small businesses also face the uncertainties that come with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has already produced more than 20,000 pages of Obamacare regulations to be implemented on Jan. 1, and they are not done yet.

Under Obamacare, once a small business reaches 50 employees, it must either comply with the Obamacare mandates or face a stiff IRS penalty. As a result, many small businesses have been forced to reduce the hours of part-time and full-time workers in order to avoid the excesses of Obamacare. Or they have not hired new employees. Or they have laid off workers. Premiums have risen rather than fallen by $2,500, contrary to what the president promised.

In addition to the countless regulations they face, our small businesses are forced to comply with a massive, complicated IRS tax code that is nearly 74,000 pages long and changes year after year. It takes the average American 13 hours to file their taxes each year, while small business owners can spend as much as 20 times longer complying with a litany of tax provisions.

What do these small business owners ask for from Washington? Get out of their way. Give them certainty, simplicity and a reduced tax and regulatory burden. Small businesses want to know how to plan for the future.

And instead of spending time complying with complex tax codes and regulations, they'd like to get back to their job.

The week of June 17th has been designated as National Small Business Week. What a great time to honor them by giving them what they deserve -- not what a legion of Washington politicians and bureaucrats think they need.

Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Fowler and Hutchinson, represents the First District of Kansas in the U.S. House.

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