February 25, 2021 3:03pm
GLI advocates for small businesses in Frankfort
GLI advocated on behalf of regional small businesses in Frankfort this morning. Testifying before the House Small Business & Information Technology Committee, GLI President & CEO Sarah Davasher-Wisdom stressed the importance of small businesses to Greater Louisville’s economy and noted the critical role that small business owners and sole proprietors play in shaping GLI’s advocacy efforts. Davasher-Wisdom also highlighted several key priority bills GLI is leading on in 2021 to support small businesses throughout our economic recovery.
Read this morning’s full comments below.
Chairman Pratt and committee members – thank you for this opportunity to advocate on behalf of small businesses in the Greater Louisville region. I am Sarah Davasher-Wisdom, President and CEO of Greater Louisville Inc., The Metro Chamber of Commerce. I work closely with Bob Quick of Commerce Lexington and Brent Cooper of the Northern Kentucky Chamber to advocate for small businesses in metro regions.
Small businesses and sole proprietors represent a key part of our chamber’s membership. These employers, entrepreneurs, and business owners are actively engaged and generously volunteer their time and expertise to support our regional business community. This includes helping GLI shape our legislative priorities. I would like to mention just a few of these priorities today that are most critical to small businesses in our region.
First, I want to stress the importance of ensuring that small businesses are able to deduct from their state tax burden expenses paid with forgiven Paycheck Protection Program loans. 30 percent of the Paycheck Protection Program loans that came into Kentucky went to businesses in our region. Because of federal regulations and rules for forgiveness, many small businesses have been successful in having their loans forgiven. This means that Kentucky’s rules for deducting expenses could have an outsized impact on small businesses in Greater Louisville. We applaud the House for passing this bill yesterday almost unanimously, and we look forward to passage by the Senate soon.
Another threat faced by small businesses is rising unemployment insurance tax rates, brought on by the depletion of Kentucky’s UI Trust Fund. We appreciate steps to address this issue in House Bill 1, but additional actions are needed. Senator David Givens has filed Senate Bill 7, which addresses issues related to UI benefits that were provided by the state in error. Representative Russell Webber has filed House Bill 413, which passed the House yesterday and makes numerous important changes to Kentucky’s UI system to help support small businesses during these difficult times. One of the most important actions the General Assembly can take, however, is to allocate the necessary funds to restore the UI Trust Fund back to health. This measure, paired with bills such as Senate Bill 7 and House Bill 413, could provide the critical relief that employers need.
Finally, I want to mention how critical Kentucky’s Small Business Development Center has been to small businesses in our region throughout the pandemic. SBDC has locations throughout Kentucky, including one shared with GLI’s headquarters in downtown Louisville. Our local SBDC has been instrumental in helping Greater Louisville small businesses navigate funding and relief opportunities during the pandemic. SBDC is supported by a combination of federal and state dollars, and we strongly support full funding for SBDC in the state budget.
In addition to these priorities, I wanted to encourage lawmakers to continue pursuing legislation that supports workforce development and business attraction efforts. This includes policies such as funding for education and criminal justice reform to support workforce development. We are also highly supportive of infrastructure funding and tax reform to drive business attraction.
On behalf of Greater Louisville small businesses, thank you for this opportunity to advocate and speak today.