Speaking to the House Small Business and Information Technology Committee Thursday, small businesses told lawmakers about their experiences over the last year and policies that could help those struggling to get back on track.
Kaelyn Query, Founder and President of Lexington Event Company, emphasized the struggles her industry has seen over the last year with huge revenue losses and still not being able to get back to normal any time soon.
She pointed to concerns small business owners currently face surrounding liability and the need for protections, citing the Kentucky Chamber’s support of Senate Bill 5 to address this issue. The increase in unemployment insurance costs for businesses, which could be around $100 per employee per year, is another issue Query asked the legislature to take action on and thanked the House for work on bills they moved to the Senate this week dealing with freezing the rate schedule for those unemployment insurance payments and making certain expenses with forgiven Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans non-taxable.
Condrad Daniels, President of Louisville business HJI Supply Chain Solutions, pointed to the spotlight the pandemic has placed on the need for Kentucky to invest in broadband and infrastructure to help businesses compete.
Pointing to the Kentucky Chamber’s recent report on racial inequality, Daniels also encouraged Kentucky lawmakers to take important steps to ensure equity of opportunity and access for all businesses and pass legislation to unearth and root out policies that exist and put many at a disadvantage.
Kentucky Chamber Director of Political Affairs Travis Burton emphasized that small businesses are the backbone of Kentucky’s economy and stressed the importance of strengthening Kentucky’s workforce. Burton pointed to Chamber-supported policies including House Bill 25 to remove barriers to those reentering society after a felony conviction by allowing them access to KEES scholarship funds, House Bill 253 to help more students understand the financial resources available to them for higher education, and more.
Greater Louisville Inc. President and CEO Sarah Davasher Wisdom echoed the importance of helping Kentucky businesses avoid another major cost increase by putting money back into the state’s unemployment insurance fund, make PPP loan expenses deductible, and invest in areas like education and infrastructure. She also stressed the importance of criminal justice reforms that help with successful reentry and strengthen the state’s workforce.