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Byrons Donalds speaks at small biz event at Zeal

By CHUCK BALLARO - | Oct 13, 2021

Congressman Byron Donalds

Having your own business is the American dream for many.

However, small businesses are having trouble staying open because of high taxes, overregulation and government mandates.

That was the message sent by U.S. Rep. Byron Donalds and small business owners on Monday as they gathered at Zeal Technical Institute in North Fort Myers for an event meant to draw attention to small business and the challenges they face.

Job Recruiters Network, a small business advocacy organization, held the event at the school to advocate for lower taxes and pro-growth policies from state and federal governments as part of a nationwide bus tour.

JCN called it a “war against small business,” with businesses having to cut through miles of red tape and pay enormous taxes to stay in business, which more than 50 percent fail to do in the first year.

“If you’re a small business owner and you’re facing an increase in taxes and regulations, whether you’re Democrat or Republican or black or white, those policies will impact you the same,” said Elaine Parker, spokesperson at JCN.

The JCN bus parked outside served as the backdrop as Donalds said between big business and small business, the economy works together and that things that impact the largest businesses are going to trickle down to the smallest.

“You can’t attack one part of the economy and think it doesn’t have impacts on the rest of our economy,” Donalds said. “Our small business owners struggle to get products in their stores because large businesses are struggling because of bad economic policy.”

Donalds, who was the main speaker at the event and received an award from JCN, said small business owners come in all shapes and sizes, whether it be someone in a trade or a freelancer who finds work wherever they can get it.

“Anybody who’s going to cut their teeth to build an enterprise that puts food on their table and other people’s tables is a small business owner,” Donalds said. “You may not be a cement contractor or electrician or own three or four gas stations, but you own a small business and policy impacts us all.”

For Sylvia Dorisme, founder of Zeal Institute and an entrepreneur, said pulling the event together was a challenge but JCB reached out to her for a location to host a stop on their nationwide bus tour.

“We were so fortunate to be selected. I was not going to say no to anything that benefits small business and we put this together in three weeks,” Dorisme said.

Dorisme said it has been especially hard for her to work day-to-day to make her school, which celebrates 12 years being open this month, the success it has been. Staffing issues, money issues, problems with their facility and many other things have taken up lots of time and treasure, she said.

“We struggle with the day-to-day operations of it with employees and taxes and payroll. Many small businesses don’t follow regulations to hire properly because of the high taxes,” Dorisme said. “This is why most small business fail within the first year.”