Jacksonville Small Businesses Join Advocacy to Express Concerns

By Jamie Saloom, Assistant Chief Counsel

On June 7th,  Advocacy heard from Jacksonville, Florida area small businesses. Participants shared many of the same concerns we heard from small businesses in Tampa and Orlando earlier in the week, including rising health care costs and a skilled workforce shortage, but we also covered new ground.

Homebuilders expressed their concerns about the impact of soft-wood lumber tariffs on new construction,  the lack of a legal path for guest workers, and the difficulty involved in offering apprenticeships under the Department of Labor’s existing guidance. One participant from the homebuilding industry also shared frustration regarding the Army Corps of Engineer’s list of wetland plans, which is at odds with local and state regulations.  This last issue was also raised at a site visit with a local builder.

Restaurant industry advocates came to talk about burdensome menu labeling rules and workforce shortages, and representatives from the golf industry shared their concern that existing caps on seasonal worker visas under DOL’s H2-B program are too low.  We also heard concerns about the impact that Dodd-Frank legislation continues to have on small lenders, as well as some difficulties local hotel industry representatives have had in securing SBA loans.

As we wrapped up our week in Florida, it was clear that there are a number of issues that plague almost every small business, but also unique regulatory challenges for Florida businesses.  We left with new contacts and insights into those issues, and we will continue to share what we’ve learned with policy makers now that we are back in Washington, D.C.

Jamie Saloom is the Assistant Chief Counsel for Intellectual Property and Telecommunications. She can be reached at Jamie.Saloom@sba.gov.

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