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December 20, 2021 – Small businesses across West Virginia strongly support the Build Back Better Act and will not rest until the Senate passes these needed critical investments in our economy.

The Build Back Better Act and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will make critical investments we need to boost our economy and rebuild our communities. One without the other is a job half done. 

The long-overdue inclusion of paid family and medical leave is a win for small businesses and an opportunity to build back better with equity. The status quo remains a challenge for small businesses, with 88% citing business challenges due to a lack of child care or paid leave programs in a recent Main Street Alliance member survey. The support for care, tax fairness, lowered drug costs and more are not only popular with the public, but it will improve millions of lives, and finally enable many more people to have a fair shot at prosperity, security, and mobility. 

Taxes on the wealthy and corporations mean they start to pay their fair share. And the needed investments in the bill will not come at an additional cost to taxpayers. According to economists, it is anti-inflationary. The Build Back Better Act takes on the false narrative of trickle-down economics by prioritizing investment in our main streets and middle class instead of corporate subsidies. It is no surprise that large business lobby groups are fighting tooth and nail against it. As Senator Manchin continues to delay, West Virginia small business owners are speaking out to ensure a small business economy that works for everyone.

Quotes from Main Street Alliance members in West Virginia on the Build Back Better Programs:

Sara McDowell, The Media Squirrel, Charleston, WV:  “I don’t mind paying taxes. I don’t mind paying my fair share of taxes because I know where it goes. Local schools. Local hospitals. First responders. And more. All critical components to building healthy and strong communities. But if we want to build healthy, strong, and economically thriving communities, well, we’ve got to address the current taxation system. The Biden-Harris administration’s Build Back Better American recovery package does just that.”

Tiffany Gale, Miss Tiffany’s Early Childhood Education House, Weirton, WV:  “To level the playing field between big corporations and small businesses on retention and recruitment, and to allow our employees and ourselves the freedom to take the time to care when a medical surgery, new child, or elder parent needs it, we need to pass a federal program. We need to pass the Build Back Better plan, with all of its care investments. I am so grateful to be able to keep my business thriving through the support of a child care stabilization grant. But we are not done yet. We cannot let our foot off the gas if we want to have a resilient economic recovery.”

Mark Hatcher, Superior Pocahontas Construction, Logan, WV:  “I offer health insurance at my company of 40 or so employees, but sometimes it’s not enough. Once, I had an employee who developed gangrene and had to take extended time off work to heal. I didn’t want to lose the employee so paid him out of pocket when he was unable to be at work. A national paid leave program would be critical for situations we cannot predict.”

Kate Pacelli, Farmer’s Daughter Market and Butcher, Capon Bridge, WV:  “Paid leave support would help WV’s economy. In fact the investments in the care economy, paid leave and child care outlined by the Build Back Better Plan, would mean new jobs in West Virginia, and increase care wages – meaning more spending at small businesses like mine.”

Jodi Hollingshead, As You Are Boudoir, Morgantown, WV:  “In West Virginia, over 113,000 small businesses like myself employ over 49% of West Virginia’s workforce — higher than the national average. That means employees and business owners across our state are more likely not to have access to a private paid leave program through an employer. The private insurance market has priced us out. To level the playing field between big corporations and small businesses on retention and recruitment, and to allow our employees and ourselves the freedom to take the time to care when a medical surgery, new child, or elder parent needs it, we need to pass a federal program.”

Leah Messer, Charleston, WV:  “Paid leave would be a game-changer for West Virginia families, too many of whom are facing the challenges of substance abuse disorder. West Virginia has the highest rate of opioid deaths in the country. I am imploring Senator Joe Manchin to put his support behind this critical program. Now might be the only time we can get it done, and any delay is more lives lost. What’s more, this program would support business owners like me.”

Cindy Lavendar-Bowe, Barnwood Living, West Sulphur Springs, WV: “We had an employee who was pregnant and we did not want to lose her. We talked to our employee and ended up paying her her salary so we wouldn’t lose her, while we picked up the extra work. It was tough on our business, but without a strong national paid leave policy, we had no other option. A federal policy would mean our employees could still receive their salaries on leave, and we could use the extra funds to hire temporary workers or pay overtime for other staff rather than doubling up on salaries.”

Stephanie Woody, The Vandalia Co, Charleston, WV:  “Small businesses and our employees need the care supports that are in Build Back Better now more than ever, especially in this pandemic.”

Main Street Alliance is a national network of small businesses and their supporters working to build a new voice for small businesses on important public policy issues. Alliance small business owners share a vision of public policies that work for business owners, our employees, and the communities we serve. www.mainstreetalliance.org