Small business owners keep America running

The biggest challenges that small business owners face were created by national and local governments.  These challenges include our broken justice system, unsafe neighborhoods, the homeless crisis, a failed education system, an ill equipped health care system, a convoluted tax code, burdensome regulations, out-of-control inflation, and worker shortages.

Criminals prey upon small businesses without fear of prosecution.  Our firm has had over $100,000's worth of trucks and equipment stolen.  Despite some of the thieves being caught by the police with the stolen equipment, the district attorney never prosecuted the criminals.  Today, police are just the first step in filing an insurance loss form, not the first step in prosecuting the criminals.

Police have left small businesses to defend themselves.  Our firm, like many others, spends thousands of dollars on security monitoring systems with an armed response capability, security cameras, and tracking devices for equipment and vehicles.  This week, Albuquerque small business owner  Sihui Fang died alone in a hail of bullets defending her small business from armed criminals.

If small businesses want customers to walk in their front doors, they are stuck cleaning up needles and washing feces and urine from the sidewalks (our waterways are once again contaminated with human waste).

Our small business today hires as many individuals without a high school diploma as we did thirty years ago.  However, today we find there is little educational difference between those with and without a high school diploma. Like many small businesses, we encourage our employees to get their GED and assist our employees to improve their reading, writing, and math skills.

In 2010, Obamacare reshaped the health care industry, and small businesses paid the price.  Our health insurance premiums increased, and our non-compliant plan was canceled.  The health care industry profit model resulted in few hospital beds (I assume single-bed rooms were more profitable) despite the population increasing.  State governments shut down the economy due to a lack of hospital beds during the start of the COVID pandemic, resulting in a record number of small business failures.    

The federal tax code is too complex. Our construction company purchases equipment and trucks every year.  Some of this equipment is 100% deductible, and some equipment is depreciated over time.  But every year, our accountant calculates the alternative minimum tax to determine if we can deduct or depreciate any equipment or trucks.

Burdensome regulations hinder individuals from taking the first step to be independent small business owners.  One of many possible examples is that New Mexico requires manicurists/pedicurists to complete a 350-hour course, pass three examinations, and pay $175, while state legislators have no required training, take no exams, and pay no fees yet have a bigger impact on the state than any manicurist or pedicurist.

Small businesses walk the fine line of raising prices to keep up with price increases of material and labor without alienating customers.  For small businesses, inflation is not an opportunity for increased profits, but another way to go out of business.

To stop illegal immigration, the federal government mandated businesses to complete an I-9 on every new employee to ensure that employee's legal status.  Today, the federal government is encouraging a record number of illegal aliens into the country while still mandating the I-9 process with severe penalties for entrepreneurs who do not comply with the I-9 mandate.   

I am a small business owner who has succeeded despite challenges the national and local governments put in my way.  That success is not just measured in dollars and cents.  Success was seeing my family and those of our employees doing well.  We improved the communities of New Mexico.  I am not alone; there are countless other small business owners who have done the same across the country.

President Obama said to small business owners, "If you've got a business — you didn't build that.  Somebody else made that happen."  Those on the left nodded their heads in agreement, and I said to myself, "I will not stay on the sidelines any longer."  I then prepared to run for office.

I did not win my election, but you can win your election.  Whether you own a nail salon, a retail store, or a contractor business like me, your experience is needed in our state and national capitals.  As they say at Associated Builders and Contractors, "Get into politics or get out of business."

Image: ReubenGBrewer.

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