With small businesses playing such a vital role on Staten Island, Congressman Dan Donovan spent his Tuesday morning sitting down with members of the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce and the small business community to provide updates that could prove to be beneficial to business owners.
The Republican, who will square off against former Congressman Michael Grimm in the June 26th primary, detailed “advancements for small businesses” recently accomplished in Washington D.C.
Donovan started his hour-long visit at the Chamber office by detailing three major bills and how they will be advantageous to small business owners.
“We passed the Reins Act, which requires Congress to approve any new regulation. So, any agency that wants to put in a regulation has to show us what two regulations they’re going to remove from their agency,” he said about the bill aimed at curtailing overregulation. “And then we have to approve that regulation which they want to impose on business.”
The members of the Chamber’s board of directors, Small Business Committee, and Young Professionals Group then listened to the former Staten Island District Attorney explain the Financial Choice Act.
“It’s going to correct some of the flaws in Dodd-Frank and increase small business’ access to capital,” he said. “I wasn’t there in 2010 when Dodd-Frank happened, but apparently after the ‘08 crash, Congress and the administration got overbearing and starting punishing – or overregulating – folks that didn’t cause the problem and made it much more difficult for smaller businesses to have access to capital. This act changed that.”
Health insurance has proven to be very expensive for many small business owners. Donovan described how the Small Business Health Fairness Act is a way to alleviate some of that cost.
“Buying it for three people is much more expensive than buying it for 5,000 people. What this is going to allow is small businesses to join a health insurance pool,” he explained. “When you create a pool, you’re buying health insurance for many more people which would give you better coverage and lower rates. That wasn’t possible before this.”
Donovan touched upon the Microloan Modernization Act which will “give small businesses greater access to loans up to $50,000” and the Small Business Investment Opportunity to “increase the amount of leverage made available to small business investment companies.”
Much to little surprise, when it comes to Staten Island, Donovan said the No. 1 issue remains traffic and transportation. He said he sees the need and is trying to do something about it.
Donovan explained it’s very difficult to get a “project specific appropriation.” Therefore, as part of a creative solution, Donovan has requested a pool of money for light rail or bus rapid transit that is available to anyone.
“So, it’s my hope that my appropriations request for transportation gets approved and that we start applying for that money. And maybe that’ll be the start of what many people in this room have been hoping for and working hard on for decades.”
Donovan then spent the remaining time answering several questions that touched upon such topics as emergency preparedness, cybersecurity, and how Donovan still maintains a positive relationship with President Trump despite their difference of opinions on certain key bills.