Ron Kind Hosts Small Business Panel at UWRF Hudson Center
By Erik Altmann
Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI) held a small business panel on Tuesday, April 26, to discuss the various resources available to small business owners and entrepreneur's in the western Wisconsin area.
Speakers in the panel included Sunny Kessel of the U.S. Export Assistance Office in the U.S. Department of Commerce, John Miranda of the U.S. Small Business Association, Kim Kindschi, executive director of entrepreneurship and economic development at UW-Extension, Steve DeWald, director of UW-River Falls small business development center, and Alan Gregerson, an Internal Revenue Service regional stakeholder liaison.
Each speaker was given about five minutes to talk, and were also available for questions after the discussion.
Kind has held several small business panels in recent weeks through out the western Wisconsin region.
He said that small businesses "really are the backbone of our regional economy, and they will be the locomotive to help us pull through this great recession that we're starting to emerge from."
Kind added that "they have their challenges and difficulties like any other business of any size, and that's why assembling the panel of experts from various agencies, to give them a better idea of where they can go to ask questions and seek the information necessary."
Hudson resident Dianne Adams was one of the many locals in attendance; she has been "working on a small business plan for some time" and wanted more information on resources available to her.
She plans to open a restaurant in downtown Hudson in the near future.
Kathy Benson, owner of Twin Rivers Distribution in Hudson, voiced her concern with the NAFTA agreement and how it is affecting small businesses nationwide.
Benson commented that "I keep losing clients to China and Mexico, we cannot continue to compete with their low wage rates."
Rep. Kind also briefly touched on the economic recovery and future actions in the upcoming legislative session.
Kind stated that "there is a lot of common ground that can be had as far as where we can go to for significant costs savings."
He added that "we need a plan to deal with the disease, not the symptoms."
Kind commented that "in order to get these deficits under control, we have to be serious about addressing these health care costs, there are some cost savings to be had with our defense budget as well."
However, he also noted that deficit reduction cannot be attained immediately.
"The catch is you don't change the way you pay for 1/5 of the U.S. economy overnight," Kind said.
In addition to reining in the deficit, Kind noted that the economy has been thrown some curve balls in recent years.
"Last year it was the European financial crisis that slowed recovery down, this year it's been spiking energy prices."
The U.S. Congress is not currently in session, session will resume on May 2.