Legislative leaders meet with small business owners over economic challenges - Ahwatukee Foothills News: News

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Legislative leaders meet with small business owners over economic challenges

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Posted: Friday, January 31, 2014 5:45 am

The government is making it difficult for small business owners to make money, said members of the National Federation of Independent Business and guests at the 2014 Arizona Small Business Day at the Arizona Capitol on Tuesday.

The event boasted a record number of 90 legislative leaders and 100 attendees from both the National Federation of Independent Business and guests, as compared to 50 attendees last year that came to show support and discuss the challenges that affect small businesses in Arizona.

“Probably twice as many people attended the event this year. We’ve had a pretty good turn out this year and we’re hoping to build on it because small business really is the backbone of our economy,” said Farrell Quinlan, state director of the National Federation of Independent Business.

Attendees were placed in a real-world setting, when Aimee Rigler, executive director and founder of the Small Business Alliance, spoke to them.

Rigler works for a small business that sells gifts in Gilbert. In her speech, she said that her small business became difficult to operate when Henry’s, a business in the same plaza as hers announced its closing. Shortly after, it became difficult to drive traffic to her business and the local government provided obstacles such as special events permits. She then assembled a team of professionals to assist her in promoting her business and was successful, but not without perseverance.

“With Henry’s gone and the plaza slowly starting to turn black, other challenges started to crop up,” Rigler said. “A once very nice center located in one of the highest medium incomes in the town was now experiencing unusual levels of criminal activity.”

She ended her speech with a lesson about the challenges that small businesses face.

“Small business is hard. You’re trying to juggle so many things such as cash flow, marketing, inventory, trying to hire the right people,” Rigler said.

Some attendees asked questions and expressed their concerns to their legislative leaders. It is difficult to reach those that hold legislative positions at the Arizona State Legislature and small business owners are upset about this, they said. Some have sent letters and their business cards to legislative leaders, but have yet to receive a response.

Rep. Justin Olsen, R-Mesa, said he has been working on a legislative bill that will focus on eliminating the regulatory and tax burden that small business owners face.

“One tax bill that I ran last year, that was vetoed by the governor, would be a bill that would benefit each one of us in the room” Olsen said.

This bill addressed an oversight in our tax policy and basically eliminates the automatic tax increase for those that make more income in their business.

• Angela Crusco is a junior at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. She is interning this semester for the AFN.

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