Thursday, September 16, 2010

Farm Bureau Exec: Laws Affect Rural Business

From The State Chamber Of Commerce ~ Mike Spradling had one mission this week when he met with officials in Washington: let them know how federal law is affecting rural business.

“Rural businesses in our nation – and especially in Oklahoma – play a large role in the economy,” said Spradling, president of the Oklahoma Farm Bureau. “Our nation’s leaders need to know how federal legislation affects these businesses and the families they employ.”

Spradling was among more than 130 Oklahoma business leaders who visited the nation’s capital on Monday and Tuesday as part of The State Chamber of Oklahoma’s D.C. Fly-In.

The trip focused on the economy and energy policy and how the November elections will play a role in influencing both issues, among many others. The group heard from Oklahoma’s congressional delegation, as well as officials from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Business and Industry Political Action Committee and the American Petroleum Institute.

Spradling said he was encouraged by what the group heard, but remains cautious about the economy. He said elected officials should concentrate on low taxes and business-friendly policies to grow the nation’s struggling economy.

“We are fortunate to be employers in Oklahoma,” Spradling said. “We’ve fared better than our friends in other states, but we need to stay focused on job creation.”

Issues of main concern to rural businesses, and especially the agriculture industry, are the regulatory barriers created in the health care bill, cap-and-trade legislation and death tax exemptions, Spradling said.

Fred Morgan, president and CEO of The State Chamber, said federal officials need to keep rural business in mind when crafting policy. “Rural businesses are the lifeblood of their local economies,” Morgan said. “Without strong economic policy, our rural businesses are at risk of having to close their doors, which would have a profound impact on communities and towns around our state and our nation.”

Congressman Frank Lucas, R-Cheyenne, said the country needs to craft legislation favorable to rural business. “We are not elected to create laws that punish rural businesses, which provide quality jobs to families across our nation,” Lucas said. “Our nation needs to honor the men and women who grow rural economies, and that’s who I’m encouraging my colleagues in the House to fight for.”

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