Legislative Update from State Senator Joey Hensley: 1-8-20

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    Office of Small Business Advocate is good for business in Tennessee

  Small business is the economic engine which powers Tennessee’s robust job growth.  Tennessee leads the nation in small business job growth, providing about 1.1 million citizens with employment. There is no questioning why small business is called the backbone of our economy and the cornerstone of the American dream. 

   Our small business owners are the risk takers and dreamers that spur growth, create jobs and expand opportunities for Tennesseans. It is very important that our state fosters the best environment possible to help them thrive and grow. The General Assembly has tried diligently to do that over the past decade with legislation to reduce their burdens and get out of the way of their creativity and growth. This includes legislation to create the Office of Small Business Advocate to make state government work better for small businesses. John Cressman currently serves as Tennessee’s Small Business Advocate under the office of the state’s Comptroller of the Treasury. Cressman has extensive business knowledge and a passion for helping our small business owners. 

   All small businesses, which are defined in Tennessee law as those with 50 or fewer employees, should know about the assistance that this office offers.

   The Office of Small Business Advocate assists small business owners with a wide variety of issues. For example, it provides assistance to those who are having trouble cutting through the red tape of state government by providing information to help small business owners comply with state regulations and licensure requirements. The Small Business Advocate may also informally mediate or assist with the resolution of issues concerning business owners and state department or agencies. In other words, if a small business owner does not know whom to contact or what procedure to use, the Office of the Small Business Advocate can help.  If small business owners are having difficulties resolving issues with a department or agency, this office can help.

   Each agency or department with regulatory authority over a business is required to appoint an individual to serve as a contact person for the Advocate’s office. The Office of Small Business Advocate works with the contacts to provide the most direct information and assistance possible.   

   In addition to serving as an information guide for small business owners, the Advocate has become another voice on behalf of small business owners in the legislative process. We want to know what problems are stifling these businesses’ ability to grow and create new jobs in Tennessee. 

   The law establishing the Small Business Advocate in Tennessee was passed to make state government more responsive to our small business owners. Since its passage, many Tennesseans have benefitted from the assistance that has been provided. The office can be reached at (615) 401-7806 or email osba@cot.tn.gov. In addition, you can visit the office’s website. I hope that new and expanding small businesses in our district who need help will utilize this office’s services in the future.

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