“Washington’s one-size-fits-all approach to regulation means small businesses have to spend their time figuring out how to comply with burdensome government regulations, instead of focusing on their businesses.”
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Ranking Member of the Senate Small Business Committee, led a hearing on America’s outdoor recreation economy. Ernst heard directly from Iowans Rebecca Peters, Okoboji Tourism Director at Vacation Okoboji, and Chris Fox, State Chairman of Iowa Ducks Unlimited, about inflation and increased regulatory burdens on Iowa small businesses.
In less than three years, the Biden administration has imposed almost $400 billion in regulatory costs on American businesses. During the hearing, Ernst discussed her Prove It Act which would force federal agencies to demonstrate that any new regulation complies with existing laws and considers both the direct and indirect costs placed on small businesses. It would also provide small businesses a seat at the table when government regulators are weighing whether a proposed rule would have a negative impact on entrepreneurs.
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Ranking Member Ernst’s opening remarks:
“Good morning. Thank you, I want to welcome our new Chair to the Small Business Committee. I am looking forward to working with you, Chair Shaheen, on behalf of America’s small business. Thank you to our witnesses for being here today.
“I want to welcome my fellow Iowans: Ms. Rebecca Peters, Okoboji Tourism Director at Vacation Okoboji, and Mr. Chris Fox, State Chairman of Iowa Ducks Unlimited, for coming to Washington to share their insight with us. Like many of us, they worked to preserve and enjoy our state’s great outdoors. I want to take a moment to recognize and thank Mr. Fox for his service to our country. He served 27 years in the U.S. Army, retiring as the Command Sergeant Major of the 248th Aviation Support Battalion.
“Today, we will examine the role of small businesses in America’s outdoor recreation economy. The United States is blessed to have a great range of natural resources and diverse terrain for outdoor recreation.
“My own state of Iowa has extensive waterways, lakes, and trails that provide recreation opportunities year-round. Our hikers, campers, sportsmen, and boaters regularly partner with local farmers, small business owners, and state leaders to ensure Iowa’s natural resources are stewarded to leave nature better than we found it.
“In 2021 alone, the outdoor recreation economy accounted for nearly 2 percent of gross U.S. GDP. The goods and services related to outdoor recreation – including outdoor equipment outfitters, outdoor vehicle rentals, lodging, and transportation – are part of this $454 billion slice of the economy.
“In Iowa, the value added by the outdoor recreation economy accounted for 2 percent of our state’s GDP, with nearly 45,000 Iowans employed by the outdoor recreation industry.
“Iowa’s small businesses form the backbone of the outdoor recreation economy. Whether it’s stocking up on fishing supplies, renting a snowmobile, or enjoying a home-cooked meal at the end of a long day of hiking, you’ll find a small business operating in every sector of the outdoor economy. Initiatives like Visit Okoboji, spearheaded by the Iowa Great Lakes Area Chamber, bring together small businesses to foster economic development in their community.
“Iowans from all walks of life regularly enjoy our state’s waterways, trails, and wetlands. The outstanding service provided by Iowa’s small businesses, especially their kindness and hospitality, are a large part of why visitors from across the United States – and the world – continue enjoying our state’s great outdoors.
“I’m proud to note that Iowans who are part of our outdoor recreation economy are leading the charge on commonsense, locally-tailored conservation efforts. They understand better than anyone that stewarding our natural resources – especially Iowa’s water – helps keep our communities healthy, our crops growing, and our state economically sound for generations to come. Organizations like Iowa Ducks Unlimited bring together farmers, business owners, and state and local leaders to protect and restore our natural habitats.
“Despite all their hard work, small businesses in the outdoor economy are pummeled by inflation and rising gas prices. Under Bidenomics, Americans have less money in their pockets and are staying closer to home. And our small business owners face higher expenses, even as they have less money coming in.
“Washington’s one-size-fits-all approach to regulation means small businesses have to spend their time figuring out how to comply with burdensome government regulations, instead of focusing on their businesses. In an effort to address this, I’m continuing to work on my PROVE It Act to ensure small businesses have a voice in the federal rulemaking process.
“I’m looking forward to hearing from our witnesses about the challenges small businesses in the outdoor recreation economy are facing, including any downstream impact on conservation efforts.
“Small businesses form the cornerstone of our nation’s outdoor recreation economy and play a critical role in conservation efforts. I want to thank you all for being here today, and I look forward to the discussion on how we can better serve and meet their needs.”