By Richard E. Myers
I am proud to be a member of the Small Businesses for Obama Council. We are a group of small business owners and entrepreneurs from all walks of life and from every region of the state, who support the president and his vision for strengthening the middle class and ensuring that everyone from Main Street to Wall Street plays by the same rules.
When President Obama took office, small businesses were struggling under the credit crunch created by the Wall Street meltdown, runaway health care costs and the devastating effects of the recession. He is committed to investing in what it takes to give Iowans and their small businesses the best chance to succeed.
I’ve owned and operated four successful businesses — a 24-hour truck stop, a service station, a restaurant and a Harley-Davidson dealership. Throughout my career, I benefited from local, state and federal policies that provided loans and tax breaks that made new equipment purchases and business expansions possible. And I’m not alone. Many of my fellow council members have benefited as well.
Take Herb and Kathy Eckhouse. They own a meat processing plant in Norwalk. With the help of a Small Business Administration loan, they are able to deliver their world-class prosciutto to the finest restaurants in the country. Or consider Rene Orduna, who opened a new restaurant and gallery in Council Bluffs. Through local tax incentives and energy-efficiency initiatives, he and his partner Rob were able to relocate and almost double the size of their staff, while revitalizing their downtown neighborhood strip.
Similarly, Mike Draper and his Des Moines T-shirt business, Raygun, will get a boost from President Obama’s health care reform. With ObamaCare, Draper can finally bring the health care costs of his employees under control.
And finally, consider James Law, the founder of SolRWind Corp., Clinton County. He has seen his business launch cutting-edge wind and solar projects through the president’s strong support for clean-energy policies like the wind production tax credits.
We all recognize that it takes more than a free market and hard work to launch and sustain a small business. It also depends on our country’s ability to provide things such as tax incentives, access to credit, affordable health care, infrastructure and an educated workforce. These are the tools that we all depend on to succeed.
Given this reality, I find it ridiculous for Mitt Romney and his campaign to build a false campaign around Obama’s supposed disrespect for small business owners and entrepreneurs. The president was simply pointing out that we all succeed when we work together and invest in each other. I am proud of my business career and humble enough to know that I had help along the way.
For the past four years, President Obama has been working to create a stronger entrepreneurial environment. He advocated for 18 small business tax cuts to encourage businesses to invest in machinery and hire unemployed veterans. It’s why he pushed through the Small Business Jobs Act, which allows small businesses and individuals to write off new equipment purchases and get tax relief. And it is why he extended a record number of loans through the Small Business Administration.
The Romney campaign is advocating for the very same policies that brought on the crisis — tax cuts for the wealthy and the largest corporations, paid for by the middle class and small businesses. Why?
President Obama understands that an entrepreneur’s willingness to work hard to turn his or her idea into a profitable enterprise is what made our economy the envy of the world. Iowa’s 61,000 small businesses can help keep Iowa’s economy moving forward, and it starts by re-electing our president.
Richard E. Myers of Iowa City is a retired small business owner and former Iowa House Minority Leader. Comments: firstname.lastname@example.org