Small Business Advocacy: Hitting the ground running in 2024

Robust engagement by the small business community paved the way for big legislative victories last year.

Among the wins scored by small business advocates was the enactment of legislation focused on stabilizing the cost of health insurance for small businesses and their employees. Policies to increase transparency for government contracts also crossed the finish line in 2023.

As the SBAC continues to forge partnerships, foster collaboration, and engage policymakers, our agenda has become even more ambitious. This year our initiatives will cover a wide range of issues, with the goal of advancing policies that support small businesses, their employees and neighborhood business districts. These policies also will foster economic growth and improve our economy.

We will be championing a tax credit for small businesses struggling under the weight of high property taxes and exploring structural changes aimed at reducing this burden. Specifically, voters should have the chance to weigh in on government consolidation given our state’s exorbitant number of governmental units and its impact on local property taxes.

Passing legislation that allocates 50% of state economic incentives for small businesses also is on the list this year. So long as our state relies on incentives to spur economic development, the small businesses that drive our economy should be able to access them.

We also are exploring additional policies to stabilize the cost of health insurance premiums, such as measures to combat excessively high drug prices. Small businesses pay far too much to provide quality and affordable health insurance for their employees. Unreasonably high drug prices increase the amount small businesses must pay for insurance.

Our agenda includes policies which improve the prospect that small businesses can hire the employees needed to operate and thrive in 2024.

Hiring has proven a significant and persistent problem for all types of small businesses.

We will continue fighting for legislation that provides economic incentives to small businesses that hire formerly incarcerated individuals because this will support small businesses, provide opportunities for returning citizens, improve public safety, and reduce the costs of recidivism. After years of working on this legislation, it is time for policymakers to get this done.

Other policies which can supplement the workforce with trained employees also will be pursued so that businesses can hire the employees they need.

Legislators are heading back to Springfield and SBAC-inspired legislation must be submitted this month. Shortly thereafter, we will begin working to secure co-sponsors, build strong coalitions and rally grassroots support. The sprint is on.

This is an election year. While at first blush that may seem to make advancing good public policy more challenging, it actually provides us an opportunity to make huge strides for small businesses.

The small business community, which is robust and diverse, has the critical mass to have an impact during an election year. Indeed, a unified and engaged small business community can cut through partisan politics and advance policies laser-focused on supporting small businesses and neighborhood business districts.

• Elliot Richardson is co-founder and president of the Small Business Advocacy Council.

Article Comments
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the "flag" link in the lower-right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.