The Moore American

December 4, 2013

We must protect the land of opportunity

By Congressman Tom Cole
The Moore American

MOORE — Throughout our great history spanning more than 237 years, the United States has been recognized as a land of opportunity, where success can be achieved regardless of where you’ve come from. This American dream never fails to inspire old and young alike, and it will continue to motivate future generations to pursue big dreams, think creatively and foster new ideas.

As former President George W. Bush once said, “America is successful because of the hard work and creativity and enterprise of our people.” Because of the opportunity and encouragement provided in America, many individuals have embraced that American mentality of hard work by starting or running a small business. Without question, we owe much of our country’s success, past and present, to small businesses, entrepreneurs and inventors.

According to the United States Small Business Administration, more than half of Americans either own or work for a small business. Currently, there are nearly 28 million small businesses in the United States, and an estimated two out of three new jobs in the economy are created by small businesses. In 2010, our state of Oklahoma had 332,998 small businesses that employed 673,373 people.

Small businesses are truly the backbone of our economy, and our future success depends on their continued success. In order for small businesses to be established, create jobs and remain open, the environment must encourage and allow them to thrive. For many new business owners, it is difficult to enter and stay in the marketplace due to burdensome regulations and high taxes. Other business owners are forced to slow down innovation or expansion because of an uncertain regulatory environment.

Job creators shouldn’t be punished when they are trying to create jobs and opportunity.  

This week, I am pleased that the House Rules Committee will review two pieces of legislation that foster a thriving environment for innovation and job creation. The Innovation Act (H.R. 3309) and the Small Business Capital Access and Job Preservation Act (H.R. 1105) aim to do just that by lessening some of the regulatory and litigation burdens associated with maintaining a successful business.

Each year, both small and large businesses are faced with the threat of patent lawsuits, leading to tens of billions of dollars spent on settlements and litigation expenses. While some litigation might be honest or with lawful cause, there are an ever-growing number of bogus patent cases brought up each year that are draining small businesses of precious capital—funds that could have been invested in new research and innovation or created more jobs.

The Innovation Act seeks to improve the current patent system by identifying those who are trying to take advantage of gaps in the system, so small businesses can stay needlessly out of court and focus on growing and innovating.

In addition, the Small Business Capital Access and Job Preservation Act (H.R. 1105) reduces new, complicated and unnecessary registration requirements that unfairly burden small business investors and increases access to capital for small businesses.

Small businesses are the foundation of our economy. While this legislation is encouraging, we must continue finding ways to help them succeed. When we clear red tape for them, they provide job opportunities, encourage commerce and help the economy.