president, R.L. Steinman and Associates
To the editor:
As the economy begins to recover, pundits and policy makers have drawn a great deal of attention to the critical role that small businesses play in our economy. But you might not have heard much about a very important subset of small business owners: the independent contractor. Independent contractors make up the largest segment of the American entrepreneurial workforce.
For more than 30 years, these individuals have helped to create millions of jobs and generated a combined $626 billion in annual personal income. But they are also vital members of our communities – ER doctors, dentists, real estate agents, hair stylists, personal trainers and engineers. Chances are you have recently done business with one of the 10.3 million independent contractors throughout the country.
I work with independent contractors every day. My company has been helping businesses and organizations communicate with government entities for more than 20 years. When legislative issues arise, not all businesses have the necessary funds to hire full-time employees to advocate on their behalf. My independent contractors allow these businesses the ability to continue to keep their focus on the primary work at hand.
Although this model is beneficial to my business and many others, threatening action has been taken at both the state and federal levels that would ultimately push millions of these individuals out of work. Additionally, the Department of Labor and the IRS have pursued initiatives to prohibit companies from working with independent contractors.
We shouldn’t burden these small business owners with additional regulation; we should cut them loose to make investments in our communities, hire more workers, and help to drive our future prosperity. It is imperative that we support and protect our independent contractors.