Business Owner Talks Straight with Lawmakers

While many small business owners are rallying against the president’s Health Care Reform Act, Joe Olivo, owner of Perfect Printing in Morrestown, N.J., is taking his fight straight to Pennsylvania Avenue. On Wednesday Olivo, a National Federation of Independent Business member, testified before the House Ways and Means Committee and today he spoke before the Senate HELP Committee on the deterrents of health care reform on his, and other small businesses in America.

Olivo has 45 employees and has been in business for 23 years. Due to his size and experience, Olivo said he felt he could speak directly to what small business owners in this country are up against with the threat of this bill and its potential impacts.

“I talk to a lot of small business owners, and hear a lot of complaints,” he said. “I can articulate, and speak in so many ways to how this law will harm my company.”

For so many small business owners, the cost of this reform is what stands to cause the most harm. Olivo said he feels many small business owners don’t recognize how many underlying costs are in the bill itself, aside from the 1099 and its obvious ramifications.

“It’s the stress of these costs,” he said. “They will have a lot of negative consequences to the small business community, and (lawmakers) they need to know that.”

Many economists are quick to point out that small business owners are eligible for tax credits, Olivo said, which is not the case. To actually get a credit means fitting into a narrow margin of credentials that are not practical for many.

“It is very, very misleading,” he said.

President Obama has shown some movement to become more business-friendly in recent weeks, however, Olivo said. His State of the Union Address was a positive sign, although Olivo, like many small busiess owners, remains wary.

“The tone of the speech was definitely in the right direction,” he said. “However, having seen in the past two years how much more stringent the regulatory agencies have gotten, I witnessed it firsthand since he became president, I am skeptical that they will be able to reverse things that quickly.”

What’s most important for Olivo, is that he felt his argument was heard.

“I feel it is opening their eyes,” he said of testifying, “Senator Harkin (D-IA) said ‘This is not set in stone, and changes will have to be made.’ ”