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Rules hurt small businesses, Kind told

March 8, 2010
In The News

Added regulations on small businesses are not aiding economic growth, a member of the Northwest Wisconsin Manufacturing Outreach Center told U.S. Rep. Ron Kind on Monday.

"The climate is toxic to starting businesses," said Roger Gehring, a senior management engineer, of increased federal regulations for businesses with as few as 20 employees. "It's really crippling because most of the jobs in the U.S. are created by small business."

Kind, D-La Crosse, appeared at a meeting of the center, which provides companies with manufacturing strategies and is one of two manufacturing extension partnership programs in Wisconsin. The center provides services to small and midsize manufacturers in 33 counties in the northern and western parts of the state.

Kind noted that health care reform is crucial to reduce costs so companies can become more competitive.

In some cases, those interested in starting a new business can't leave a current job because of pre-existing health conditions that would exempt them from new health insurance, Kind said.

"The status quo is not sustainable," he said, noting small business and even larger companies cannot afford skyrocketing health care premiums, which is the fastest growing cost for public budgets.

Kind supported increased alternative energy sources and greater energy efficiency. China is investing heavily in wind and solar power, he said, and the U.S. needs to become more active in those sectors.

"They would just as soon we continue to sleep and dawdle on the outside of that," Kind said.

Kind said leading economic indicators show economic recovery is on the way but he understands that manufacturers remain cautious.

"I think it's perfectly natural being very cautious until they see some rebound in consumer demand," he noted. "We went from a consumer nation to a saving nation overnight. It was the type of structural change we were due for."