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Acosta engages small business owners at round table discussion

Assemblyman Dante Acosta addressed issues of Santa Clarita residents at It's A Grind coffee shop in Castaic on Saturday, August 5, 2017. Christian Monterrosa/ The Signal

Santa Clarita’s small business owners are facing similar issues and they gathered to compare notes and share their concerns at a round table discussion on Wednesday afternoon.

Hosted by Assemblyman Dante Acosta and the National Federation of Independent Businesses, the session at city hall illuminated the problems may locals with their own businesses encounter.

“We want to make it easier to open and maintain our businesses and make sure we are working with small business owners so we know what challenges our neighbors are facing,” Acosta said.

Most attendees agreed that workers’ compensation insurance, CPA insurance and taxes levied on services were some of their greatest hardships, according to Acosta.

There are 3.8 million small businesses in California, NFIB California State Executive Director Tom Scott cited, and many of them are struggling with the same problems.

Across the state, many small business owners agree that health care costs, labor laws, cap and trade and the minimum wage increase are burdensome, Scott said.

Legislatively, Scott said he believes this was one of the hardest years for small businesses, especially with the gas tax and the vehicle licensing fee being passed.

In Sacramento, small businesses are treated differently than big corporations, he said.

With a politically-divided state and valley, it is important for small business owners to make sure their voices are heard, according to the state executive director.

“With the direction the state is going, you need to get involved,” Scott said. “Now is the time to get engaged.”

It is common for the NFIB to host round table discussion with elected officials after the legislative session ends, Scott said.

Acosta hopes to focus on helping small businesses in the next legislative year, serving as one of the key motivations for the event.

“Small business is one of the major drivers of our economy in the state,” Acosta said. “We have to make sure we are not making policy to their detriment.”

These independent businesses are the ones hiring young people to their first jobs, engaging in community activities and donating to nonprofit organizations, Acosta said.

To continue the conversation, Acosta said he hopes to hold similar events in the future.

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