As a board member of TLPAC, SYSPRO President Joey Benadretti joined COMPTIA executives on Capitol Hill earlier this month to meet directly with elected officials to advocate for public policies that are IT-friendly and can help this sector create jobs and reinvigorate the economy. While in Washington DC, Benadretti’s efforts were primarily focused on Small Businesses and what our legislation is doing to assist these organizations. The below posts are his reflections from his three days at our Nation’s Capitol.
Given the weak economy, poor job growth and a shortage of skills in the IT environment, we have to ask the question of whether our policy makers and legislators truly understand the situation and I would have to say only some do. It is unfortunate that some don’t seem to really care at a time when we have severe unemployment. What appears to matter more is reelection and this is tragic! Where is the focus and the importance of concentrating on the issues?
Obviously there are always a myriad of factors and excuses and what I found interesting on my advocacy trip under the auspices of CompTIA last week was the level of ignorance regarding the role of small and medium size businesses (SMBs) to our economy. Knowledge is power yet some of our Congress members seemed to fall far short.
Even though we were briefed by a number of influential persons, I felt the two that shone out were US Congress Member Loretta Sanchez from the 47th District in California who is a Blue dog Democrat and Congressman Peter Roskam of the 6th District in Illinois who is the Republican Chief deputy Whip. What I can say is that they both get it. Both are co-chairs of the Small Business Caucus and their work is invaluable to the bulk of businesses in this country.
Given that our Government typically defines small business as companies with sales of less than $500M (a rather large ceiling I would say), it does reflect the importance of SMBs to the infrastructure of the economy in the USA.
What we need in Government is responsibility, accountability and action. There have to be better guidelines and controls other than voting a politician out at the end of a term. What we need are engaged politicians, committed to getting people back to work in decent paying jobs and an economy that is robust and growing. There are too many distractions that dilute their role in the House of Representatives or the Senate in Washington DC…this goes from the top down. Every person has a role that should be evaluated on. The importance of our politicians is centerfold to the success of our future. As citizens, we have every right to comment and to pinpoint our elected officials if they are not doing the job we elected them to do.
I suggest a number of areas that will improve things moving forward:
– If legislators don’t vote then they don’t shouldn’t get paid. At this point in time, there is no requirement for legislators to vote
– Voting records should be more prominently available and there has to be a reasonable record of attendance so this nation is better served
– Legislation should be clearer and in plain English to ensure better understanding and the avoidance of “trickery”
– Election campaigning needs to be restricted both in terms of time spent and in dollars invested regardless of the source
– Budgets need to be addressed with wasteful expenditures redirected to more critical areas
– Technology needs to be adopted more quickly to avoid waste such as excessive printing
The essence of my reasoning is that our legislators and policy makers should be as accountable as if they are in the SMB business sector. For example, a CEO would be held responsible if a 100% focus was not being placed on a failing business. Right now the USA economy is failing. We have a shortage of skill sets as exemplified by the fact that there are over 450,000 IT jobs available in the USA but the skills are not there to fill them – this is unacceptable. Government policy and action has been ineffective in my opinion and there is a huge responsibility to the millions of unemployed that are desperate to find work.
It is time to cut corporate taxes to make spur this economy and to make the USA more competitive. Washington has to become more business friendly and to include SMB representation at all levels as this is still sadly lacking. Greater efforts have to be given to make more access to capital available for SMBs while at the same time fostering an environment that does not over regulate.
The future is bright if those in Washington take the corrective action necessary now and stop the politicking that has become endemic. Logical decision making, a total focus and accountability can provide the surge we need to make the difference.
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