Small business owners warn lawmakers about burdens from rising costs and regulations

WASHINGTON — Small business owners are warning members of Congress about the economic burdens they’re facing due to rising costs and government regulations. It was the topic of a House Small Business Committee hearing on Wednesday.

Our Washington News Bureau spoke with Steve Martinez, President of Tradewinds General Contracting, Inc. It’s a family-owned business based in Idaho that builds homes.

“It’s really frustrating to see that at every turn we keep getting hammered with cost increases,” said Martinez.

Martinez shared these concerns with the House Committee. He argues some government regulations are barriers to increasing the housing supply at a time when communities around the country are facing housing shortages.

“We must remove barriers, regulatory barriers, labor barriers, and supply chain barriers that are preventing home builders from increasing housing production,” said Martinez in his testimony. “Regulatory barriers, which include complying with building codes, make up nearly 25 percent of the cost of a single-family home and more than 40 percent of an apartment.”

Small business owners also warned about labor shortages and rising costs in the supply chain, which can mean delays and higher prices for consumers.

“The average cost of a shipping container increasing over three times in the last 90 days alone,” said J.D. Ewing, Chairman & CEO of COE Distributing.

Both Democrats and Republicans agree rising costs are a huge barrier for small businesses, but they are divided over how to tackle the problem. Republicans blame the Biden administration’s economic policies, while Democrats argue big corporations are unfairly keeping costs up.

We asked Martinez what he feels the federal government should do to ease the burdens on small businesses.

“I really do think having a look at how they’re implementing regulation,” said Martinez. “Is this change for change’s sake? Is this saving lives? Is this reducing red tape? What is the true intent?”

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