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Chairman Smith: Under President Biden, Small Businesses Struggle to Keep the Doors Open, Lights On

April 13, 2023

WASHINGTON, DCWays and Means Committee Chairman Jason Smith (MO-08) released the following statement after the Producer Price Index showed wholesale prices rising by 2.7 percent from the previous year, which get passed down to consumers in the form of higher prices at the checkout counter:

“Small businesses can’t catch a break in Biden’s economy. Skyrocketing prices of supplies, materials, and goods from Democrats’ reckless Washington spending and inflation crisis have left businesses struggling to keep their doors open. Rising interest rates have compounded problems for small businesses who now need to borrow to make payroll while they permanently shelve plans to expand or grow. Now, President Biden wants to make things even worse for Main Street Businesses by socking them with another $1.8 trillion in new tax hikes in his FY24 Budget proposal – which will inevitably lead to higher prices for consumers – leaving many businesses wondering if they’ll even be around in a year.

“In field hearings around the country, small business owners are telling us how the Biden Administration has made it harder to stock goods for customers, hire workers, and earn enough to keep the lights on. Not one witness has told us that hiring 87,000 IRS agents or giving billions in welfare for the wealthy and big corporations are the solutions to their problems. What America’s job creators need is for Washington to stop making things worse. They need government spending reduced to stop aiding in the inflation crisis, they need interest rates to come back down to earth, they need regulatory relief, and they need a tax plan out of Washington that helps actually grow our economy versus take more out of it. House Republicans are focused on building a stronger economy that will achieve those goals.”

READ: President Biden’s $4.7 Trillion Tax Hike Proposal: Small Businesses Must Send a Bigger Check to Washington

Small Businesses Are Worried About the Future

According to NFIB’s Small Business Optimism Index, small businesses are losing confidence in their future:

  • For the 15th straight month small business optimism is at its lowest in nearly 50 years.
  • Fewer small businesses expect their sales to grow in the future.
  • Inflation remains the single largest problem facing small businesses.
  • Almost half (43 percent) of small businesses struggle to fill job openings.
  • More small businesses report the cost of borrowing money is more expensive.


In Their Own Words: Small Business Owners Trying to Make it in the Biden Economy

Witnesses at recent Ways and Means Committee field hearings shared their struggles in President Biden’s economy:

Ashley Bachman, mom of 3 and restaurant owner from Petersburg, West Virginia: 

“Unfortunately, after COVID we have been hit with another crisis. The crisis of rising costs of everything. This has proven to be a much tougher task than what we dealt with during the COVID regulations.

“We have had to change our menu prices countless times just to make sure that we don’t go out of business. We still are not charging enough for our menu items because we are afraid that we will price ourselves out of business…We have taken a hit in business so far, these past two quarters, having less customers coming in. Our kitchen cooking equipment runs off propane…

“During some months, the cost of propane has more than doubled the price that it was in the corresponding months of 2020. The rise in price in all other energy costs has caused our lease payment to be increased from $2000 to $4500 a month in only 5 years’ time. Our little restaurant has been bleeding money due to all the increased costs and I don’t know how much longer we’ll be able to continue with the prices the way they are…”

Kelli Payne, fifth-generation farmer and rancher from Mustang, Oklahoma, and North Central District Vice President for the Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association:

The struggles of drought are exacerbated by high input costs, including fuel, feed and other supplies. All these negative impacts have caused some ranchers to sell their entire herd and many have indicated that they won’t re-stock anytime soon, if at all.

We have enough challenges with Mother Nature; let’s not compound the problem with more regulations.”

Chuck Mills, owner and operator of his family’s machine manufacturing company that was founded in Oklahoma in 1908:

The lack of workforce and supply chain issues, combined with inflationary pressures, have made this economy the most difficult economy I have dealt with in over four decades.

In January 2021, our raw materials increased by 25%. The following month, the prices increased again by 15%, and the next month, the prices soared again by 20%. These substantial price increases of 10% – 25% continued for eight months. At that point, our suppliers told us just to call to get the current prices.

All I ask is for Congress to please allow me to continue running this family-owned business so that I am able to pass it to the next generation. Respectfully, please encourage able-bodied Americans to return to the workforce. Please do not raise tax rates that would further restrict our cashflow. Please do not make it any harder for me to stay in business here in Oklahoma.”