Robert Hurt: Supporting small business is vital

robert hurtThis week, the Department of Commerce reported that the U.S. economy grew at its slowest pace in two years in the first quarter of 2016.  Our gross domestic product only grew by a 0.5 percent rate – an anemic level that will not generate and sustain the type of job and wage growth we so desperately need.  This comes on the heels of a new George Mason University study on the cumulative burden of regulations on our economy, which found that this they impose costs of over $4 trillion on the nation.

At a time when our economy is struggling, Congress must do everything possible to help small businesses achieve success, including startup companies and entrepreneurs.  These entities are our nation’s most dynamic job creators, and their success is essential to bringing new and better-paying jobs to our communities.  Facilitating capital formation is one vital component of the strategy to invigorate small business growth.

Earlier this year, Charlottesville was recognized as one of the nation’s fastest growing markets for venture capital investment as the amount of capital invested in Charlottesville has grown 157% in the last five years.  This type of investment can have a profound impact on a community, making it more attractive to other start-up companies and ultimately producing greater job growth.  In 2014 alone, angel investors deployed over $24 billion to over 73,000 startups across the country, with many of these investments going to companies in their communities and states.  Beyond capital, angels provide advice and guidance to help these companies succeed and create jobs.

We need policies that encourage, not discourage, this type of economic activity.  I was pleased to see the House of Representatives take a step this past week to alleviate burdens placed on these dynamic job creators in approving the HALOS Act – a bill I was proud to help author.  This bill is a simple, bipartisan, bicameral solution that will ensure that investors and companies can continue their interaction and work toward new projects, investments, and jobs.  The HALOS Act amends and clarifies securities laws relating to angel investing written within the JOBS ACT of 2012 so that startup enterprises are able to continue to promote their business at certain events, where there is no direct investment offering.  Startup companies rely on “demo days” and similar events to build relationships with angels and other investors and generate interest in their company.  But the SEC has put forth rules that make it much harder to conduct these events, discouraging the potential economic activity that comes with them.

At a time when Virginia’s Fifth District continues to face unacceptably high unemployment rates, I remain committed to removing overregulation of small businesses as a barrier to job creation.  We need more pro-growth policies like the HALOS Act if we want to end the economic stagnation we are facing and bring more dynamic job growth to our communities.  I look forward to working with our colleagues across the Capitol to get the bill through the Senate and on to the President’s desk.

If you need any additional information or if we may be of assistance to you, please visit my website at or call my Washington office: (202) 225-4711, Charlottesville office: (434) 973-9631, Danville office: (434) 791-2596, or Farmville office: (434) 395-0120.

Robert Hurt represents the Fifth District of Virginia in Congress.

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