House Passes Axne Bill to Support Rural Entrepreneurs
WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed Rep. Cindy Axne’s (IA-03) Expanding Access to Capital for Rural Job Creators Act, bipartisan legislation to support rural entrepreneurs and communities. The bipartisan Axne-led bill would ensure rural entrepreneurs and small business owners have a seat at the table as federal policymakers consider new rules that govern investment and capital.
“As a small business owner, I know how difficult it can be to access the capital you need to succeed. Having visited dozens of small businesses across rural Iowa, I have heard from rural entrepreneurs regarding the unique challenges they face when it comes to obtaining the support they need to grow their business and create good-paying jobs,” said Rep. Axne, a member of the House Financial Services Committee. “This doesn’t just hurt rural entrepreneurs, but our rural communities and economies.”
The economic development and prosperity of Iowa’s rural communities relies on the success of entrepreneurs and small businesses. Yet rural entrepreneurs and small business owners often lack the access to the capital they need to succeed. According to a recent Federal Reserve survey, rural small businesses are less likely to grow than their urban counterparts and nearly half of rural small businesses lack sufficient financing, despite the fact that more than 70% of rural small businesses are a low credit risk. That same survey found that only 35% of rural small businesses expected to increase employment in the next year, compared with 51% of urban small businesses. This restricts growth in rural areas and forces young people to move to urban areas to obtain good-paying jobs.
“Too many young people are leaving our rural towns because of a lack of job opportunities and economic development. By ensuring Washington listens to the voices of rural small business owners, this legislation will improve the entrepreneurial culture in rural Iowa and create jobs in every corner of the state,” Rep. Axne added.
Rep. Axne has pledged to visit each of the 16 counties in Iowa’s Third District each month during her first year in office. Rep. Axne has visited and met with dozens of small business owners who have discussed with her the unique challenges rural entrepreneurs face in accessing the capital and how that’s impacting their communities.
The Office of the Advocate for Small Business Capital Formation (OASB) at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) was established to promote the interests of small businesses, with a focus on supporting women and minority-owned businesses as well as those affected by natural disasters. The Advocate provides an annual report on the problems rural entrepreneurs face in accessing capital. Rep. Axne’s legislation would expand the focus areas of the Advocate to include rural-area small businesses. This data will help Congress and federal regulators make better informed decisions on how best to support economic growth in rural America.
Rep. Axne was joined by five of her colleagues, including U.S. Reps. Nydia Velazquez (D-NY), Chris Pappas (D-NH), Alex Mooney (R-WV), Denver Riggleman (R-VA), and John Rose (R-TN) in introducing this bill. The legislation passed out of the House Financial Services Committee unanimously on May 8. A Senate companion version of this bill has been introduced by U.S. Senators Doug Jones (D-AL) and John Kennedy (R-LA).
Text of the legislation is available here.