Feb. 14, 2016 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Johanns: Health Reform Makes Small Businesses Sick

A lumberyard owner from my home state of Nebraska recently wrote to me to describe the reality of this new mandate. “As you know, it is difficult to survive as a small business in the rural communities,” he writes. “Putting on additional burdens involving time, paperwork and money does not help. ... The building supply industry is struggling to survive the housing and economic crisis and employers like myself would be severely impacted by the additional costs and paperwork burdens such as the 1099 proposal.” Small-business owners across the country need support and relief from Congress, not more mandates.

This appears to be a classic case of addition by subtraction. The administration promised that health care reform would help American businesses stay viable, yet this provision actually disadvantages our job creators. It creates more hoops to jump through, more boxes to check, more papers to file and more regulations to meet.

At what cost? It would wrap our job creators up in more bureaucratic red tape. It would wilt the confidence of the business community to boldly grow without fear of future mandates being inflicted by their government. It would further complicate the efficiency and effectiveness of our already inefficient tax system. And it would cut right at the very livelihood of small businesses across the country.

Small businesses create 65 percent of our jobs and have been the foundation of job creation for years. In an economy starved for them, such new burdens are counterproductive and wrong-headed.

The Small Business Paperwork Mandate Elimination Act is simple. In fact, it would do just what it says: repeal this new unjust and unwarranted provision imposed upon American businesses. Proponents and opponents of the new health care law should be able to agree that stifling American business has no place in a health care law, or any law for that matter.

I look forward to advancing this legislation on the Senate floor, and I hope all my colleagues will see the merits in supporting American job creation and rejecting senseless mandates by passing this bill.

Sen. Mike Johanns is a Nebraska Republican.

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