Cantor Op-Ed: Encouraging Innovation And Entrepreneurship To Spur Job Growth

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Cantor: Encouraging Innovation And Entrepreneurship To Spur Job Growth
Richmond Times-Dispatch
Rep. Eric Cantor
November 16, 2011 

Small businesses, innovators and entrepreneurs are the lifeblood of our economy. According to the Kauffman Foundation, fast-growing young firms comprise less than 1 percent of all companies but generate roughly 10 percent of new jobs in any given year. Given that startups are the most dynamic source of new jobs, they also offer the economy's best hope for recovery.

Recently, I had the opportunity to meet with several of these small businesses and entrepreneurs at the Virginia BioTechnology Research Park to discuss ways that Washington can help to encourage innovation and entrepreneurship to spur job growth.

One of the businesses that really impressed me was Health Diagnostic Laboratory Inc., co-founded by Tonya Mallory. Mallory and her colleagues work each and every day to save lives by combating cardiovascular diseases through personalized patient care and advanced laboratory testing. Despite the challenging economic environment, their state-of-the-art lab is growing at an astonishing rate of 5 percent per week. In just two years, the lab has hired more than 350 employees, bringing together talented people from all over the country to live and work in our community.

HDL Inc. is just one example of the ingenuity and risk-taking it takes to become a successful small business in America today. Many small-business men and women choose the commonwealth as the ideal place to start and grow because of its pro-business environment and ability to attract and retain new investments. However, the more I listen, the more I hear from business owners small and large that federal regulations are stifling their ability to expand their business and hire more workers. This cloud of tax and regulatory uncertainty prohibits small-business people from taking a risk, accessing capital, and forging ahead with new ideas.

For example, Paul Rocheleau of Virginia Life Science Investments, a business development company located at the BioTech Park, highlighted how the regulatory process is confusing and often counterproductive to business people trying to plan ahead and determine if they can afford to invest additional capital or hire new employees. Eric Edwards of Intelliject Inc., another Richmond-based pharmaceutical company, explained how abuse of loopholes where Food and Drug Administration law intersects with patent law has delayed his company's ability to launch a life-saving product. These are concerns shared by business people in Virginia and throughout the country. That's why FDA reform was included in my plan for jobs, which was released in May. And, in good news for Intelliject and other companies on the front lines of innovation, the president signed the House-passed patent reform legislation into law in September.

Moving forward, we must remain focused on reducing regulatory burdens that are preventing businesses small and large from succeeding. More important than ever, we must set aside differences, move past the partisanship and come together to create a better environment for economic growth so the private sector can create jobs.

By focusing on areas of common ground, we have already been able to take several significant steps to improve the environment for job growth. Last month, the president signed the three free-trade agreements with Columbia, Panama and South Korea, which will help Virginia's manufacturers by opening foreign markets for Virginia's exports. Additionally, we successfully repealed an unnecessary rule that would have required federal, state and many local governments to withhold 3 percent of all payments made to contractors and suppliers — increasing costs on businesses, hospitals and local governments. Most recently, the House of Representatives passed four bills to ease regulations on small-business men and women so they can access much-needed capital to get off the ground and create jobs.

Piece by piece we are working to remove the impediments and red tape put in place by Washington, and to promote a culture of entrepreneurship where everyone has the opportunity to succeed. Virginia's thriving small-business owners and entrepreneurs represent the best of what is possible in America — they took a risk, they implemented a vision, and now they are running remarkable businesses and generating growth right here in Richmond. Let's ensure that all Americans have the same opportunity to achieve success and make it easier for small-business people to take risks, start new ventures and create more jobs along the way.

GOP Health Care Reforms