I have been consulting, assisting and most importantly, empowering, women-owned businesses and startups for several years. Starting a business is no easy feat — it takes incredible amounts of time, energy, dedication, and often, financial burdens. And it doesn’t help when Congress imposes a myriad of restrictions and taxes that make it harder to grow a small business.

One of these taxes that directly affect a small business’s ability to grow is the Health Insurance Tax, or HIT. The HIT is a tax that raises the cost of premiums on the health care that small-business owners purchase for themselves and their employees. Adding insult to injury, it doesn’t give small-business owners anything back in turn.

Congress suspended the tax for 2017, which allowed small businesses to use the funds they would have paid toward the HIT to instead spend it on growing their business. However, unless Congress acts, this tax is set to come back in 2018, and will constrain businesses from investing, developing and improving.

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp is a champion for small business. I saw this firsthand at a small gathering where she brought in the SBA national representative. During that time she highlighted key areas to help small businesses and delaying the HIT was one of them. That is why she’s proposed legislation to delay the HIT for another two years.

North Dakota small businesses are fortunate to have such a tireless fighter.

In my experience, a new small business thrives when there are fewer complications and confusing regulations. The HIT is an unneeded complication to small businesses that will ultimately limit the opportunities of the employers and their employees. There is a litany of fees and to-dos when it comes to running a small business, the HIT should not be one of them.

Tiffany Hodge, Bismarck

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