Small Business Has Big Voice at Day at the Capitol

John Kabateck
NFIB State Director in California

Last week, small business owners from across the state converged on the capital for NFIB/CA’s 7th Annual Day the Capitol event. One hundred small business owners from around the state spent a day in Sacramento and held nearly 50 meetings with legislators and staff. One thing is certain – the Voice of Small Business was heard!

The day began with attendees meeting with legislators and staff in the Capitol. On the agenda? How to make it easier for small businesses to thrive and expand in California. Regulatory reform, lower taxes and fewer mandates were all part of the discussion. Members shared their stories and how actions and decisions in Sacramento affect their businesses each day.

NFIB/CA Leadership Council Chair Ann Kinner welcomed members and shared how NFIB has helped her sharpen her focus on the issues that are most critical to her business in Point Loma. She reminded attendees that NFIB can make their individual voices bigger and help business owners get their message across to their legislators.

Members also had the opportunity to hear from several legislators during the lunch program. Senate Republican Leader-elect Jean Fuller started off with a discussion about balancing the environment and jobs. She reminded small business owners to tell their personal stories because they are the experts. She said that small business is well represented by NFIB as the Voice of Small Business in the Capitol.

Assemblyman Ken Cooley spoke next on the regulatory burdens that business faces in California. He believes that government can’t spend enough money to create jobs in California and that there is no silver bullet for regulatory reform. Incremental reform is needed – and small business owners need to let their elected leaders know how regulations affect their specific industries. He says that he is striving to understand where the law is a barrier to business and how he can help remove those barriers.

Assembly Republican Leader Kristin Olsen also spoke to members about how to modernize government so it works for and not against small business. She believes that government does have a role – but where it does, it needs to work well. She and her caucus are committed to engaging the public in the process and making government more transparent and accountable.

The program ended with a panel of small business owners talking about what NFIB means to them and their business. Jeff Pardini, owner of Hills Flat Lumber in Grass Valley, advised, “Let NFIB handle the big issues that affect lots of small businesses – NFIB is great at bringing businesses together.” Ann Kinner, owner of Seabreeze Nautical Books and Charts in Point Loma, reminded attendees that NFIB makes her voice bigger. Star Milling Company’s Paul Cramer encouraged members to put effort into being involved with NFIB in order to get a lot out of it. And member Manny Cosme, a Vacaville small business consultant and also Chair of the California Hispanic Chambers of Commerce, said that NFIB has been great at helping him help his clients on compliance issues.

The day concluded with a reception at Mayhuel, attended by small business members and friends, as well as newly appointed small business advocate Jesse Torres, Insurance commissioner Dave Jones and a bipartisan mix of legislators and staff’.

NFIB is so grateful for all those who took the time to participate in this year’s Day at the Capitol event. We look forward to working with every small business owner in the months ahead to make our voice even larger and louder.

For more than 70 years, the National Federation of Independent Business has been the Voice of Small Business, taking the message from Main Street to the halls of Congress and all 50 state legislatures. NFIB annually surveys its members on state and federal issues vital to their survival as America’s economic engine and biggest creator of jobs. NFIB’s educational mission is to remind policymakers that small businesses are not smaller versions of bigger businesses; they have very different challenges and priorities. Learn more at www.NFIB.com/ca.

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