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The role of business in legislative affairs

Posted: June 15, 2017 3:11 p.m.
Updated: June 16, 2017 1:00 a.m.

Recently, I’ve been thinking about the role of businesses in legislative affairs. My perception has been that larger businesses are the ones who get involved and have the most influence. They have seemingly unlimited funding and resources to make sure their voice is heard by local, state and national elected officials. This perspective ignored small business, who generate 54 percent of sales in the U.S. and provide 55 percent of all jobs (according to the Small Business Administration’s small business trends website: https://www.sba.gov/managing-business/running-business/energy-efficiency/sustainable-business-practices/small-business-trends). Where is the voice of the small business owner?!

Right here, at your local chamber of commerce. 

While some of our local businesses may be members of business-specific associations or trade groups who also speak for businesses, your local chamber knows this community and can provide a Kershaw County perspective that many of these associations or trade groups cannot. I believe that we, the Kershaw County Chamber of Commerce have a responsibility to work with our members and elected officials to create an environment where businesses can thrive. Thankfully, our governor agrees.

In April of this year, Gov. Henry McMaster signed Executive Order 2017-09. In this order, the governor outlines the importance of “reasonable, practical, productive and not unduly burdensome” government regulations and procedures. In doing so, he called upon all state cabinet agencies (and their boards and commissions) to use a specific framework to review and assess current and proposed regulations for their practicality and impact on businesses. (For details, go to http://governor.sc.gov/ExecutiveBranch/Pages/ExecutiveOrders.aspx.) 

In conjunction with this executive order, the governor has asked a number of the larger chamber of commerce organizations in the state to host him for a business roundtable discussion with their members. While Kershaw County was not on the governor’s list, we still want the voice of our local businesses to be heard. Therefore, on Wednesday, June 28, the Kershaw County Chamber of Commerce is hosting a roundtable for our members (invitations to follow). During the roundtable, we want to learn more about regulations and red tape that make it difficult to do business in the state. Consider these questions: What challenges are you having with government rules, regulations, policies or laws? How is this impacting your business? What alternatives or compromises, if any, would you consider? We plan to share the comments and feedback from this roundtable session directly with the governor’s office.

This local meeting is a great opportunity for Kershaw County’s small businesses, or “main street” businesses as the executive order states, to let their voice be heard. The Kershaw County Chamber of Commerce wants to be the bridge between businesses and elected officials, to create open lines of communication and improve understanding of challenging issues. 

So, join us! Don’t be left out of the conversation. Let us be your voice. We look forward to serving you.

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