Supporting small business is vital

Published 3:42 pm Thursday, May 5, 2016

This week, the Department of Commerce reported that the U.S. economy grew at its slowest pace in two years in the first quarter of 2016. Our gross domestic product only grew 0.5 percent — an anemic level that will not generate and sustain the type of job and wage growth we so desperately need. This comes on the heels of a new George Mason University study on the cumulative burden of regulations on our economy. The study found that they impose costs of over $4 trillion on the nation.

At a time when our economy is struggling, Congress must do everything possible to help small businesses achieve success, including startup companies and entrepreneurs. These entities are our nation’s most dynamic job creators, and their success is essential to bringing new and better-paying jobs to our communities. Facilitating capital formation is one vital component of the strategy to invigorate small-business growth.

Earlier this year, Charlottesville was recognized as one of the nation’s fastest growing markets for venture capital investment as the amount of capital invested in Charlottesville has grown 157 percent in the last five years. This type of investment can have a profound impact on a community, making it more attractive to other start-up companies and ultimately producing greater job growth.

In 2014, investors deployed over $24 billion to more than 73,000 startups across the country, with many of these investments going to companies in their communities. Beyond capital, angels provide advice and guidance to help these companies succeed and create jobs.

We need policies that encourage, not discourage, this type of economic activity. I was pleased to see the House of Representatives take a step this past week to alleviate burdens placed on these dynamic job creators in approving the HALOS Act — a bill I was proud to help author.

Robert Hurt, a Republican, represents Lunenburg County in the U.S. House of Representatives. He can be reached at his Farmville office at (434) 395-0120.