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Georgia Senate passes bill to help small businesses
With House approval, will reduce regulations
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Forsyth County News

The Georgia Senate is looking to help small businesses, recently passing Senate Bill 2, a bill Forsyth County’s senator called “pro-business, pro-job creation legislation” to reduce regulations on Georgia’s small businesses.

On Friday, Feb. 17, the bill, titled “The Fast Act – Fairness, Accountability, Simplification, and Transparency – Empowering Our Small Businesses to Succeed,” was approved 53 to 0, marking a win for small businesses, said District 27 state Sen. Michael Williams, who represents the majority of Forsyth.

State Sen. Steve Gooch, whose District 51 creeps into the far northeast corner of the county, is a co-sponsor of the bill.

“As someone who made a living as the owner of a small business, I know how important it is to support Georgia’s businesses, big and small,” Williams said. “Our small businesses employ millions of people throughout the state and it’s important that we don’t hold them back from success with redundant bureaucratic practices.

“I’m proud of the work we have done on the Fast Act as we continue to look at avenues to remove pointless constraints for our greatest drivers of job creation.”

According to Williams, the bill will simplify licensing processes and eliminate nuisance taxes while also reducing regulatory burdens on businesses.

This, he said, is important because oftentimes small businesses are in more of a rush to open and start making money than larger, already established corporations.

“I know whenever I was opening up new businesses and new stores, if I got stuck with the red tape, it could take two weeks or six months and you have more costs and more debt because people are expecting to start on one date and they can’t start for three months,” he said.

“[The bill] will help control your costs and your expectations. It gives small businesses some level of certainty so they can plan their openings.”

According to the U.S. Small Business Association, small businesses make up the overwhelming majority of the nation’s total business – 99.7 percent. Recent data shows there are 28.8 million small businesses in the U.S.

Small business employees also account for 48 percent of the private workforce, with 56.8 million employees nationwide, which makes workers a cornerstone of the local and national economies.

“Small businesses are really the engine to our economy,” Williams said. “When you look at all the jobs that are created, most of the large companies stay net-neutral or decrease their labor force. It’s really these startup jobs, these new businesses that are starting and we want to make that it’s as easy and efficient as possible, especially with everything going on now at the federal level.

“Now that we’re getting rid of federal regulations, let’s make sure it’s not local regulations that are stopping small business and economic growth.”

The bill, Williams said, will now be sent to the House for discussion, review and possible approval.