By Rep. Ross Spano
Until recently, we enjoyed one of the most prosperous times in our nation’s history. Under the leadership of President Trump and Republicans in Congress, unemployment was at a 50-year low, wages were on the rise, and sales on main street were booming — and then the invisible enemy (COVID-19) hit our shores.
In just two months, much of this economic progress evaporated, devastating the small businesses that employ 47% of Americans. Yet, despite significant challenges at every level of government, I remain optimistic that, working together, our nation will overcome this unforeseen trial and our economy will come roaring back!
After listening to my constituents, small businesses, and neighbors across Florida’s 15th District, it is clear that there is light at the end of the tunnel. I know and have seen firsthand, that our small business community is fighting to keep the American dream alive. As a former small business owner, I know the kind of grit and determination it takes to succeed against significant odds. Helping these small businesses thrive is one of the reasons I ran for Congress. To that end, I have outlined an economic recovery plan, the ‘Great American Comeback. This 4-pillar plan provides the “guiding principles” to steer our country, and our community, through this crisis and back to prosperity.
The first pillar highlights the urgent need to get our economy back on track through several avenues. These include freeing businesses from burdensome government regulations, freeing up much-needed capital. In 2019 alone, the total cost to comply with federal regulations was estimated to be $1.9 trillion dollars. This equates to roughly $15,000 per employee. I am also proposing several things to encourage investment and infuse liquidity into our economy including 1) a 3-month payroll tax holiday, 2) targeted Small Business Administration loan assistance to businesses with less than 25 employees, 3) extension of the real property reinvestment exchange period, and 4) continued low prime lending rates.
The second pillar focuses on ensuring the programs Congress enacted to respond to COVID-19 are administered properly. As the sole Florida member on the House Small Business Committee, I will push to provide the oversight taxpayers rightly demand and deserve. The PPP Program was designed to save small businesses and their employees, not provide a windfall to healthy, financially viable companies. I will get to the bottom of any fraud or abuse.
The third pillar seeks to combat our reliance on China. This crisis revealed systemic vulnerabilities, including the sourcing of pharmaceuticals, personal protective equipment, and other critical supply chains and commodities from hostile nations like China. China has intentionally misled the world on COVID-19. The Chinese Socialist Party will stop at nothing to eclipse our power and influence around the world. We cannot be dependent upon them. President Trump, Congress and I will hold China accountable, and we will work diligently toward securing America’s independence and national security.
Finally, America must return to fiscally responsible principles and reduce our national debt and deficit. Both parties are responsible, to some extent, for the runaway spending leading us to this point. We cannot irresponsibly continue down this path, or we will saddle our children and grandchildren with a debt burden they cannot possibly carry. Failing to make responsible choices now also jeopardizes our long-term economic potential and poses a threat to our national security. Out of control government spending cannot continue. Once we get to the other side of COVID-19, we must use it as a wake-up call, a source of motivation to reform our spending habits and rein in government spending at all levels.
My plan provides a short and long term, sustainable roadmap to get our jobs and economy roaring again! I will continue working with President Trump to return prosperity to Americans, put America first, and secure a more prosperous tomorrow for future generations. Without a doubt, the best is yet to come for our district, state and nation!
Rep. Ross Spano is a Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives elected to office in 2018 and sits on the Small Business Committee and the Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure.