Small Businesses To Congress: “Keep the Momentum Going”

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Following the Great Recession and several years of a stagnant economy, the tides have turned and there is a strong wind in the sails of America’s small businesses. And as two out of every three new jobs created in the U.S. come from small businesses, America’s franchise owners and operators are some of the best markers to watch as our economy grows. Strong economic momentum over the last couple of years and worker optimism have finally replaced anxious feelings of uncertainty about how best to keep business doors open, and hardworking employees well-paid and happy.



There are approximately 733,000 franchise establishments in the U.S., employing some 7.6 million (yes, million) Americans of all backgrounds and skill levels. And fortunately for franchise owners and operators from across the country – those taking the risk to jump in and start their business – Congress has worked with the current Trump Administration to reduce regulatory burdens, lowered taxes on millions of Americans and small businesses, and helped to restore business and consumer confidence to levels not seen since the turn of the century.


That’s a fantastic start given that a rising tide lifts all boats. So, it’s encouraging to see Congress pursue even more pro-business, pro-growth policies to continue the upward trends.


In the past couple of weeks, franchise owners from all across the country participated in two major events in Washington, D.C. to make sure small business voices are heard and to ensure lawmakers understand the tools and policies that are the most effective and beneficial for even more job growth.


Last month, franchise owners flew into DC for a bi-yearly confab with lawmakers in the nation’s capital where they discussed important topics, including tax reform, regulatory reform, and cutting the red tape hindering job creation. And then just last week, several CEOs and business owners participated in an economic and jobs summit with high-ranking White House officials, including Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin, National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow, Council of Economic Advisers Chairman Kevin Hassett, and Small Business Administration Administrator Linda McMahon.



Along with those key areas of importance to the franchise and small business community, another major topic was discussed that is both critical and timely among franchise owners and employees – the “joint employer” rule and recent rulings coming down from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).


If you are unfamiliar with the joint employer rule, think of it like this: national parent corporations allow small business owners to pay a franchise fee to start their own local business, but use the corporation’s branding, supply-chain, training programs, etc. The local small business employees have typically been considered employees of the local franchise, not the national parent corporation. The new joint employer rule from 2015 stated that workers would now be considered employees of both the franchise and the parent corporation.


This matters significantly to small business and franchise owners across the country because this rule has caused uncertainty, confusion, and hesitancy among small business owners.


At these meetings in D.C., the voices of hundreds of small business owners and franchise operators were heard by Members of Congress and senior members of the Administration, urging them to continue supporting pro-business, pro-growth policies that would help small businesses grow and hire even more employees. They can also do this by supporting legislative priorities like the Save Local Business Act (more on this later), the Trademark Licensing Protection Act, and more – and also by ensuring the NLRB stays out of the way and lets America’s small businesses do what they do best.



Another good sign for American small businesses and franchises is that the Senate is likely to take up their version of the already-House-passed Save Local Business Act after the midterm elections. That legislation, plus a joint Senate-House letter urging the Department of Labor to clarify the joint employer rule in a business-friendly way are great steps Congress can take to ensure the Big Mo in our economy continues.


U.S. franchise owners and small businesses are doing well right now, providing much needed services, and employing millions of hardworking Americans with good paying jobs. The economy is flying high, and the good news is that Congress and the president can take immediate, commonsense steps right in front of them to make sure it stays that way.


Zach Almond is the former Chairman of the North Carolina Federation of College Republicans and the founder of Uwharrie Consulting.


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