Op-EdAppeared in Business Magazine on November 1, 2016By Alfredo Ortiz

Employers Should Discuss Bad Government Policy With Employees

Alfredo Ortiz is the president and CEO of the Job Creators Network, where he has led the defense of small businesses from the onslaught of bad government policies. Ortiz has testified before legislative committees about the impact of bad government policy on job creation. He speaks frequently to business organizations across the nation about the need for job creators to seize responsibility for defending free enterprise.

In addition to voting for president and congressional leaders, voters in numerous states will consider numerous policy proposals on their Election Day ballot. In at least five states, voters will consider dramatic minimum wage increases. Colorado and Maine voters, for instance, will be asked whether they support a $12 entry-level wage.

Employers understand how such proposals would have significant negative consequences for both their businesses and employees. But employees, some of whom have fallen for the bill of goods sold by activist groups about the benefits of dramatic entry-level wage increases, have probably never heard how a minimum wage increase would negatively affect them. Popular culture certainly doesn’t convey it.

The Job Creators Network’s (JCN) Employer to Employee (E2E) program aims to fill this void. It encourages employers to talk with their employees about how bad government policies negatively affect them. It equips employers with the tools to educate their staff about the impact these policies have on paychecks and promotion opportunities.

This effort can make a huge difference in societal well-being. Employers are in a unique position — by being respected authority figures — to instruct their staff on the real-world implications of rose-colored rhetoric. In today’s age of cynicism and questioning of authority, employers are one of the few figures left — along with coaches, mentors, and spiritual advisers — who still have the power to make a difference in people’s thinking.

Armed with E2E materials, employers can point out the negative side-effects of activist movements like dramatic minimum wage increases. It may be the first time employees have ever heard the other side of the argument. The best defense against bad government policies is a well-informed public, starting with employees on up. This process may even inspire employees to become more informed and involved with legislation directly affecting their own welfare.

Employers also should educate their employees about how bad government policies can specifically hurt small businesses, especially their own. Small businesses drive the American economy, providing half of all jobs and two-thirds of net new jobs. Providing a stable and vibrant climate for small business growth is vital to everyone.

To highlight the outsized impact of small businesses, JCN recently launched the Bring Small Business Back (BSBB) campaign. This campaign is traveling the country identifying the challenges facing small businesses and identifying solutions to overcome them. Times are certainly challenging; only one in five small businesses plan to hire additional employees over the next year, and two-thirds think it is going to be more difficult to do business in than the last, according to a recent nationwide JCN poll.

Small businesses cite overregulation, overtaxation and a lack of access to credit as the biggest hurdles they face. Mandates for dramatic increases in the entry-level wage are a chief example of such a burdensome regulation, especially for small businesses operating on small margins and with big labor costs.

To address the over-taxation aspect, JCN is supporting the Bring Small Businesses Back Tax Reform Act (H.R. Bill 5374), recently introduced by Representative Randy Hultgren (R-IL), which would significantly reduce the burden levied on small businesses. This bill would reduce small businesses’ tax burden by about 40 percent, allowing them to hire more employees to expand their firms.

Small businesses are the backbone of the American economy. To keep them flourishing, the public must resist bad government policies that hurt them.

JCN’s E2E program seeks to do just this, by equipping employees with the information they need to make informed decisions about bad proposals like dramatic increases in the entry-level wage. Employers have nothing to lose and everything — perhaps even their businesses — to gain by implementing it.