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Small Business Owners to Sens. Alexander and Corker: Don’t Support a Budget that Jeopardizes TN’s Public Health and Economic Growth

[Chattanooga, Tenn] — Ahead of tomorrow’s Jan. 19th deadline for Congress to pass a budget and keep the federal government, the Tennessee Small Business Alliance (TNSBA) and a group of small business owners called on U.S. Senators Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker to support a budget that puts the health and safety of Tennesseans first and does not hinder the progress and economic growth this state has seen over the past few years.

“There is too much at stake for the Tennessee small business community to support a federal budget that puts the health of communities and our economic future in jeopardy,” said Lenda Sherrell, Director of TNSBA. “The drastic cuts proposed for the Environmental Protection Agency’s budget mean fewer resources to monitor our air for pollution, keep our water free from harmful chemicals, and cleanup hazardous toxic waste sites. Trump’s assault on the EPA directly threatens the health of our families and our workforce and makes it harder for the state to attract entrepreneurs and open the doors to new business. We urge Senators Alexander and Corker to do the right thing and reject any budget that would contaminate our clean air, land and water and risk the wellbeing of our state, economic growth and health.”

Among the members of Tennessee’s small business community speaking out against the proposed EPA budget cuts are Jess Wilson, owner of In Town Organics and Summer Fields Farm; Jonathan D. Nessle, a landscape maintenance coach and owner of The Ornamentor; and Peter Calvet, owner of Fantasy Flora.

“In order for rural communities to thrive economically, they need to be clean communities with a healthy workforce. It is immensely frustrating that the Trump Administration claims to care about building rural prosperity while neglecting to fund infrastructure or access to services in rural areas, and slashing environmental protections that keep industries from causing harm to rural residents,” said Jess Wilson, owner of In Town Organics and Summer Fields Farm. “Senators Alexander and Corker must oppose cuts to the EPA which threaten the well-being of our rural communities and our great state.”

“When manufacturers dump waste into the Tennessee river because it’s less expensive than processing that waste to reduce the pollutants, we all pay the price for their negligent behavior. When Trump and his allies in Congress talk about EPA cuts, that means reducing funding for these exact enforcement mechanisms that keep us safe,” said Jonathan D. Nessle, a landscape maintenance coach and owner of The Ornamentor. “Making it easier for industrial corporations to evade our bedrock environmental laws and pollute in our communities means dirtier air and more chemicals in our water and even worse health outcomes for everyone. We cannot afford to cut EPA funding to a point where the agency becomes toothless and a lack of enforcement risks public safety.”

“Small business owners like myself are alarmed at the prospect of an increase in polluted air and dirtier water down the road, and the impact that will have in the local economy. For example, our state depends on federal EPA grants to support 30 percent of all air quality and monitoring programs that keep dangerous toxins out of our air and protect many adults and children who suffer from asthma across the state,” said Peter Calvet, owner of Fantasy Flora. “Significant cuts at the EPA mean fewer resources for states like ours and that is a direct threat to our health here in Memphis and communities across the country. One has to ask, why can’t  small business owners count on Senators Alexander and Corker to stand up for moderate, common sense policy like protecting clean air, land and water from harmful pollution that harms health and economic growth?”

The Trump Administration’s budget proposes to reduce the EPA’s budget by 30 percent. According to a recent analysis, such significant cuts could turn back the clock on the progress Tennessee has made to improve the health of its communities, its environment, and its economy.

Congress has until tomorrow, January 19th to pass a budget or another Continuing Resolution to keep the government funded and open.

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About the Tennessee Small Business Alliance

The Tennessee Small Business Alliance promotes small business growth and prosperity by advocating for policy solutions that create a strong vibrant economy.  The Tennessee Small Business Alliance is a statewide nonpartisan, nonprofit advocacy organization, founded and run by entrepreneurs to ensure Tennessee small businesses are a key part of an inclusive, equitable and diverse economy. For more details visit BusinessTN.org or text BIZ to 91990.