WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, today blamed policies she calls “anti-small business” for anemic economic growth data released today by the U.S. Department of Commerce.  The report indicated economic growth remains too weak to significantly reduce the nation’s record unemployment rates, which peaked at 10.1 percent in October 2009 and currently stands at 9.6 percent.

“The climate of economic uncertainty created by myriad new federal health care mandates and tax increases alone has created a toxic environment that has sidelined our nation’s small businesses and resulted in a consistently high unemployment rate,” said Senator Snowe.  “Indeed, the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston has calculated that the U.S. economy would require an annual real GDP growth rate of 4.2 percent to return to a 5 percent unemployment rate by the end of 2015.  As such, recent GDP growth of just 2 percent has been far too insipid to move our economy forward in a meaningful way.  As Ranking Member of the Senate’s Small Business Committee, it is unfortunate that several actions for which I have advocated that could have immediate and measurable effects on job creation nationwide have fallen on deaf ears.

“At this very moment our nation’s primary job creators – small businesses – are wrestling with a looming tax hike upon the expiration of the tax rates enacted in 2001 and 2003 and the onerous reporting requirements that will force employers to file ‘1099’ statements on all transactions over $600.  Coupled with a significant increase on Medicare payroll taxes, the circumstances could not be any less conducive for job creation.  Layered on top of all of this is the impending reinstatement of the confiscatory death tax at a 55 percent rate, which was the law in 2001.  Congress’s inability to address this tax hike will subject thousands of small employers and family farms to an onerous tax and will cause family members to disband businesses and break up farms.

“I will continue to fight alongside my colleagues from both sides of the aisle for decisive policies that simultaneously thwart tax increases and repeal the policies that devastate potential for job growth in the economy so that our nation’s small businesses have an opportunity to expand, thrive, and put Americans back to work.”