Project 21 News

(A publication of Project 21, a program of the National Center for Public Policy Research)

Date of Issue: June 7, 1995

Congressional Hearings to be Held June 7 on "Regulatory Barriers to Minority Entrepreneurs"

Project 21 Member Peter Kirsanow Among Those to Testify

Peter Kirsanow, a member of the African-American leadership group Project 21, will testify before the Small Business Subcommittee on Regulation and Paperwork on "Regulatory Barriers to Minority Entrepreneurs" Wednesday, June 7 at 11:00 am in Room 2359 of the Rayburn House Office Building. Rep. Jim Talent (R-MO), the co-chairman of the House Minority Issues Task Force, formed shortly after Project 21 proposed it earlier this year, has pledged to hold a series of hearings on issues of specific importance to black entrepreneurs. Project 21 members applaud the committee's willingness to focus on the disproportionate impact regulations have on minority businesses.

"Regulations affect all businesses but especially those that may be marginally capitalized, labor intensive and are perceived as being credit risks," asserts Peter Kirsanow, a labor attorney for Leaseway Transportation Corporation (Cleveland, OH). "A disproportionate number of businesses fitting that description are owned by black Americans. Just as the poll tax limited black voting in decades past, the mountains of regulations with which small black businesses must contend operate to limit entry into the marketplace or hasten departure therefrom. By their very nature, regulations are applied to business in an inflexible, cookie-cutter approach. Bureaucrats seem to presume that all businesses have the same overhead, market, and personnel."

Kirsanow continues, "Forty years ago, during Jim Crow ‹ during legally sanctioned racial discrimination in employment ‹ but before the regulation explosion, unemployment for white and black teens was virtually identical. Now, the unemployment rate for black teens dwarfs that of whites, reaching 67 percent in some areas."

In addition to Peter Kirsanow, Jack Kemp, former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, and Clint Bolick, Vice President and Director of Litigation at the Institute for Justice, will testify before the subcommittee followed by a second panel of witnesses who have challenged regulatory agencies at the federal, state and local level. These panelists include: Nona Brazier, a black entrepreneur whose construction company went out of business due to the Davis-Bacon labor law which mandates hourly wages that many small businesses can't afford; Leroy Jones, a taxicab driver who found that starting his own taxi company was nearly impossible due to excessive regulations; and, Taalib-Din Abdul Uqdah, an owner of a black hairstyling company who was told to shut down the hairstyling business or abide by licensing requirements that would cost thousands of dollars.

"These hearings will show that the very government that is supposed to be helping black businesses has been putting them at an economic disadvantage," says Raynard Jackson, an entrepreneur and Project 21 member. Economic policies that spur business creation are the best welfare reform for the black community. By holding these hearings, the Republicans are demonstrating that they understand creation not regulation is what will enable black businesses to succeed."

Project 21 is an African-American leadership group that seeks to provide common sense solutions to problems plaguing American communities. For more information, contact Project 21 at (202) 507-6398.

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