In The News
Op-Ed: Job Growth Starts at Home
After a busy district work period, Representatives return to Washington next week and along with House Republicans, I will focus on how we can help businesses grow jobs and remove the obstacles to economic growth.
During the district work period, I set out on an Entrepreneur and Innovation Tour to hear insight from local small businesses and inventors about the economy, get feedback on what government can do to remove barriers to success, and to celebrate Michigan’s entrepreneurial spirit.
Frankly, I was inspired by the ideas I heard. Right now, Michigan is poised for success. We're uniquely positioned to respond, and as we’ve found out here, adversity breeds innovation.
What I heard from these West Michigan entrepreneurs and innovators was, ‘We can grow our own companies, creating new jobs. All we need from our government is: Certainty.’ I frequently heard that Administration agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency, National Labor Relations Board, and Patent Office move the goal posts or delay decisions. Small business owners also asked how the government thinks they can get away with spending more than what it takes in and not budgeting for the long term when that would be a disaster for their own business.
Next week, the President will give a speech about his jobs plan. Ironically he is indicating that another out-of-control stimulus spending and raising taxes to pay for it are “bipartisan” ideas. Unfortunately, the President and I have a philosophical difference about how the economy works, and people in Michigan know throwing more money at government job creation isn't going to solve the problem. Sadly, nothing that he's previewed is in line with what these real job creators I met with say they need.
Let’s look at the facts: According to the Small Business Administration, more than 50 percent of businesses in Michigan are small companies that start from a good idea and grow into jobs right here. Newsweek/Daily Beast released a list of “Best States for Job Growth,” and Michigan finally, after many years, finds itself on the top of a positive employment list - 32 percent of employers here have an expanding workforce, the most of any state.
Many of these companies are here in West Michigan, and have expanded their business all over the world – for example, Noble Company in Grand Haven has tile in the tallest building in the world. Klever Innovation’s Klever Kutter was invented after an employee of a national chain store here thought of a safer way to open its boxes, and his invention is now in the hands of workers all over the country. Many business owners that employ just one or two people and started their companies in their garages or basements are enjoying growth because of demand for their innovative products.
One inventor mentioned he’s motivated to succeed so his grandchildren can stay here in Western Michigan, and as a third-generation local family business owner that’s what I want to see too, not just jobs now but a long-term mindset that shows that with a good idea, a lot of hard work, support from the local community and by keeping government regulations at all levels in check, we can keep generations working here in Michigan.
In fact, there a lot of resources right here to help you get your business started, too, whether you are innovator yourself who’s scribbled an idea on a napkin, a stay-at-home mom that says, ‘I wish they would invent …’, or an employee that thinks of a way to improve equipment.
That’s where it starts, so if you’re one of those who’s got a great idea and wants to start a business, or expand your current one, check out one of these local resources: the Muskegon or Grand Rapids Inventors Network, the GVSU Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation, Grand Angels, Michigan Small Business & Technology Center, e-merge Entrepreneur Network."
As our local entrepreneurs know, when your original idea fails, you don’t repeat the same failed methods over again. You try new, innovative ideas that move you forward. For job creation, that starts at home, by giving our local small businesses and inventors the room and support they need to thrive right here in Michigan.