ATLANTA – State Rep. Lynne Riley, R-Johns Creek, said she is backing a new non-partisan grassroots organization that wants Washington to focus on helping small businesses get the economy going again instead of the usual party politics of brinksmanship and finger-pointing.
Riley said she recently attended the Main Street Growth and Opportunity Coalition launch event where she supported the group’s call for federal lawmakers to take action on just three areas: tax and immigration reform and expanded trade.
The Main Street Growth and Opportunity Coalition, which has launched a Georgia chapter, is an alliance of businesses, local trade associations and concerned individuals. They say they are committed to supporting “a common sense, pro-growth agenda for America.”
It is an agenda Riley can support.
“American businesses pay way too much in taxes, and are forced to dedicate far too many resources to navigating our overcomplicated tax code,” said Riley. “If we really want the economy to grow and create more jobs, we need to relieve both of these burdens on businesses by lowering their taxes and make the tax code simpler.”
The Main Street Coalition does not offer specific solutions. It is more about “broadening a conversation” to find real solutions.
“This coalition is not really driving to identify specifics. It is more about saying enough with the over regulations, enough with the red tape and roadblocks,” she said.
Riley is a small businesswoman herself who owns her own accounting firm. Government has become a stumbling block to productivity in her own field. The tax code is unwieldy, inefficient and has too many loopholes for special interest groups.
Immigration reform has been a big “hot button” issue in Washington, so much so it rarely tackles it. And when it does come up inside the Beltway, it doesn’t get far.
Riley said she would like to see ways for government to be “more welcoming to immigration opportunities.”
It should not be so difficult for people to navigate the immigration process or be so combative for people who are already here and worried about their status, Riley said.
“We want to be welcoming in allowing economic opportunity as well as immigration that might jumpstart new businesses,” she said.
“Employers also find roadblocks from government in trying to utilize their talents,” she said.
The Main Street Growth and Opportunity Coalition supports comprehensive tax and immigration reform and expanding trade opportunities. It seeks to educate federal lawmakers and state residents about the economic benefits of these policies and illustrates the consequences of inaction.
“We want Washington to employ more common sense and allow the little guy to be more productive in his daily work and not burdened by tax policies and compliance issues that [hinder the economy],” she said.
As the voices of grassroots groups grow, Riley says she thinks Washington will have to listen.
One of the biggest hindrances to reform at the national level is the high degree of partisan politics in which the two national parties seem to have the destruction of each other’s policies put above the interests of the nation.
“What we need is more open conversation and sharing of ideas. No single person or party has all the solutions,” Riley said.
This new coalition is the effort to begin that conversation, she said.
Main Street Growth and Opportunity goals*
Tax Reform that fixes an overly complex tax code will promote fairness and stimulate growth.
Expanding trade opportunities for American businesses to drive growth. When U.S. businesses have access to new markets, they ramp up production and create jobs.
Immigration reform that is balanced and sensible to help grow the economy and strengthening the nation’s finances and programs over the long term.