South Dakota has a robust small business culture. In fact, the 83,000-plus operations employ about 60 percent of our workforce, and I’m proud that for years, I was part of it. Most people know that I began farming and ranching full-time after my dad died. But over the years, we also started a hunting lodge, my mom had a restaurant I helped manage, and my husband and I ran an insurance company. It kept us all busy, but it was rewarding work that we got to do as a family. I’ll always be grateful for that.

April 29 through May 5 marks National Small Business Week. South Dakota makes it easier than most states to have small family businesses like this. Consistently, we’re ranked as a top state to do business, largely due to our favorable tax environment and limited regulatory system. I’ve fought to replicate our successful, limited-government model in the U.S. House, working closely with President Trump to cut taxes and red tape.

Last December, President Trump signed the largest overhaul of the federal tax code since Ronald Reagan was in the White House. That legislation offered small businesses a 20 percent tax deduction for the first time in history. Additionally, the death tax exemption levels are doubled and job creators will be allowed to immediately write off the cost of new equipment, leaving more money to grow their businesses, increase employee wages, and expand benefits.  As Jeff Eckhoff, State Director for the South Dakota Small Business Development Center, said: “Small business owners are looking forward to the benefits of a tax plan that provides a level playing field and more opportunity to keep their hard-earned dollars working in South Dakota.”

Because most business owners file as individuals, many will benefit from the lower individual rates and the doubling of the standard deduction too. This is a benefit their employees will see directly as well. In fact, the average South Dakota family of four will see a tax savings of more than $2,400 a year because of our historic tax cuts.

Outside of tax reform, I’ve also worked to delay Obamacare’s costly Health Insurance Tax, which puts a tremendous burden on South Dakota small business and often means higher premiums for their employees.

But tax policy isn’t the only area in which I’ve pushed to make the U.S. more small business friendly. Since President Trump took office, more than 1,600 unnecessary regulations have been eliminated, helping to accelerate the pace at which businesses can start and grow.

All of this has helped energize our economy. According to the National Federation of Independent Business, small businesses are the most optimistic they’ve been in more than three decades.

But more can be done. I hear about workforce concerns often as I travel the state. Many small businesses feel like they’re ready to grow, but they can’t find the workforce they need to do that. We’re working on that front too. I’ve been pushing legislation that encourages stronger partnerships between community educators and employers. The bill also gives more flexibility to state and local leaders to tailor the use of federal dollars to meet regional workforce needs.

I’m proud of the robust small business climate we have in South Dakota. Many community-based companies are successful, not only because of our tax and regulatory policies, but because many South Dakotans make it a priority to shop locally. Thank you for doing that. Your continued support of small businesses is the best way to make sure our area businesses can thrive.

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