I finished my first week in the Capitol testifying on a pair of bills I’ve co-sponsored to help small businesses create jobs.
“So often in Oregon we talk about big bills for big companies. But what we know is that across the state, most jobs are being created by the smallest entrepreneurs. These are people who use their initiative, their creativity and their economic courage to make something out of nothing. INTEL started on a kitchen table. NIKE started in a garage. And we need to make sure that the next generation of success stories have the opportunity to thrive and grow as well.”
Earlier this year, I approached local county government about the zoning of home based businesses. I urged them to remove disincentives and arbitrary rules that made it harder to get a small business started – as long as it didn’t create noise, traffic or smells in a neighborhood.
I’ve also talked about enterprise zones. Those are the areas where we provide some tax incentives for creating jobs. But the old maps bear little connection to where we now have empty lots, empty buildings and empty storefronts. Let’s update those maps and focus efforts where we really need them!
I concluded my testimony Friday, saying, “Too many small companies are flying under the radar – intimidated or discouraged by a plethora of fees and forms. So they don’t properly register. And when they do, the first thing they get is a bill for a license, a requirement for conditional zoning or a personal property tax form for the business. What we really want is for their first letter to be from the local Small Business Development Center offering to help them succeed.”
I’m a huge supporter of the Small Business Centers in our Community Colleges. They offer essential tools, classes and advice to new and growing businesses. But funding has been declining in recent years and my job is to make sure they get the money they need to do their job well.
I intend to keep talking about small business. Whether you own a restaurant, a fishing boat, a small farm or sell crafts on EBay, we need to make it easier for you to succeed. So I’m going to talk about licenses, permits and fees; I’m going to talk about focusing help programs and resources; I’m going to talk about the transportation networks that brings us customers or takes our products to market; I’m going to talk about Community Colleges that are crucial to our economic health areas outside the valley population centers; and I’m going to talk about buying local to support each other and help sustain local jobs.
I don’t have the answer to all these questions. But I do believe that working together we can make things better.
Rep. David Gomberg
To contact Representative Gomberg with further questions, concerns or issues, please e-mail: Rep.DavidGomberg@state.or.us.