Our jobs-killing polsBy RAYMOND J. KEATING
New York Post
October 13, 2010
If our elected officials in New York love small businesses as much as they claim, then why do they keep voting to make life so difficult for entrepreneurs?
The overriding issue in the coming election is a poor economy devoid of job creation. If we're to get things back on track, small businesses must lead the way. After all, small firms with fewer than 500 workers represent 99.7 percent of US businesses, employ half the private-sector workforce and generate 65 percent of net new jobs.
From their rhetoric, you might get the idea that New York politicians understand these straightforward economic facts of life. But that is overwhelmingly not the case with our congressional delegation -- including some who are now facing tough re-election efforts.
The Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council (where I serve as chief economist) just released its Small Business Scorecard for the 111th Congress -- rating politicians on how they voted on key small-business issues. The scorecard rates senators and House members on a wide array of votes (27 in the Senate and 22 in the House), including workplace regulation, ObamaCare, government spending, tax policies, energy legislation and bailouts.
For example, one key House vote was on the "Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act" -- which vastly expanded workers' ability to sue over discrimination in compensation. That it became law was a huge win for the ambulance-chasing trial lawyers -- and a loss for employers, who can now be sued long after the alleged discrimination took place.
By contrast, a bill to keep the federal death tax at the 0 percent rate for 2011 was defeated. That the rate is headed back up to 55 percent on Jan. 1 is terrible news for countless small, family-owned firms.
Overall, New York's congressional delegation scored just 11 percent on the scorecard -- sixth-worst among the 50 states. Meanwhile, 19 states had scores of 50 percent or better, including four with 90 percent or more.
Only two members of the New York delegation scored well -- Rep. Christopher John Lee (R) at 95 percent, and Rep. Peter King (R) at 91 percent. Sadly, no one else in the delegation even managed to vote with small business a third of the time.
Consider those facing competitive races in November:
* In Long Island's 1st Congressional District, the Democratic incumbent, Tim Bishop, failed to vote even once with small business on big issues.
* In the 2nd CD, incumbent Steve Israel (D) also came in with a score of 0 percent.
* One more zero in the 19th CD -- from John Hall, the Democrat and former singer in the band Orleans.
* The 4th CD's Carolyn McCarthy (D) managed only two pro-small business votes, for a score of 10 percent.
* Staten Island's 13th ranks as the only Republican-leading district in New York City. Incumbent Michael McMahon, a Democrat, earned the third-best score among New York's congressional delegation. But at 32 percent, it's not exactly inspiring.
* Scott Murphy, Democrat in the 20th district, managed just one pro-small business vote -- a score of 7 percent.
* The 23rd CD's Bill Owens, a Democrat who won the seat in last November's special election, voted with small business only 23 percent of the time.
* Rep. Michael Arcuri, Democrat in the 24th CD, managed a score of 18 percent.
* Dan Maffei became the first Democrat to represent the 25th Congressional District in decades in 2008. He voted once with small business, scoring a mere 5 percent.
Several other New York representatives scored zero -- but they're not in competitive races.
Politicians from both sides of the aisle like to talk about how much they support small business -- especially during campaign season. But how many actually put their votes where their words are? In New York, the answer is far too few.
Raymond J. Keating is chief economist for the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council. His new book is "Warrior Monk: A Pastor Stephen Grant Novel."