Expanding The Power of U.S. Latinos

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  • 09/22/2017 2:42 PM | TLC Team (Administrator)

    By Leslie Collins – Reporter, Kansas City Business Journal

    Kansas City native Hector Barreto Jr. now lives in California, but on Oct. 12, the former head of the Small Business Administration coming back to his hometown for the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Greater Kansas City's 40th anniversary celebration.

    Barreto is the keynote speaker for event, which is expected to attract 1,000 attendees from throughout the U.S., including other chambers and elected officials, he said.

    Barreto, who led the SBA from 2001-2006, now is chairman of The Latino Coalition and also will lead an economic summit through his organization.

    The Kansas City Business Journal caught up with Barreto to get his insight on how Hispanic businesses are driving the economy and what's in store for the local entrepreneurial scene.

    The Hispanic population is growing in the U.S., and more Hispanics are becoming entrepreneurs. Can you talk about the growing importance of Hispanic businesses to the economy, both regionally and nationally?

    When I was at the Small Business Administration, we measured these numbers on a pretty regular basis, and the Department of Commerce also measured small business growth. Oftentimes what you see is that when those numbers are reported, they're a couple of years old, but we believe there are 4 million Hispanic businesses in the United States. They can generate about $700 billion in revenue every year. That is the fastest-growing segment of small business in the United States.

    Hispanics are 1.5 times more likely than the general population to start a small business, so they're very entrepreneurial. These businesses are growing 15 times faster than the national growth rate. A lot of these businesses are new and smaller, so you're going to see rapid growth in some of these businesses. Latinas, women-owned businesses, are growing five times faster than any other group, so there's a wave of growth. The demographers who look at these numbers tell us that those numbers could double every five years. ... This phenomenon is happening across the country. Those 4 million could turn into 16 million in the next 10 years.

    What can Kansas City expect to see as it relates to Hispanic businesses?

    I think Hispanic businesses are going to continue to grow. The Kansas City Hispanic Chamber made it for 40 years; it's been successful. It is one of the leading Hispanic chambers around the country, and a lot of leadership comes from here. I don't think it's an accident that not only did the local chamber start here, but the national (Hispanic) chamber started here.

    There's a lot of leaders that have come from this area and have gone on to do other things in business, in the organization and politics. I think you'll see that continue. I think that Hispanic businesses are becoming more and more part of the mainstream. I live in California, and in L.A., 50 percent of the population is Hispanic, and that state will be 50 percent Hispanic in the next 20, 30 years. In the United States, the Hispanic community will be 25 percent of the population in the next 30 or so years. So, you're going to a see a continuous evolution in this community, and empowerment of this community, but also an assimilation and acculturation.

    How would you describe the Hispanic entrepreneurial community in Kansas City?

    I think it's vibrant. It's very committed. When my father started the (Hispanic) chamber, some folks would say: "Why do you need to start a chamber? There's very few Hispanic businesses, and if they want to join a chamber, they can join the general chamber." But my father felt like, you know what, we need to have a group that focuses on our community, our issues and doesn't get lost in the shuffle. And he was kind of visionary because he felt like we may not have a lot of Hispanic businesses now, and that was 40 years ago, but we will. So he was prescient in that regard. ... He could see the future, and that's what has happened.

    Not only has the Hispanic business community grown here, but it's grown around the country. These businesses are very entrepreneurial. They're very innovative. They're very diligent and hard-working. And that's one of the reasons they're having the success that they're having. Again, that doesn't just benefit the Hispanic community. It benefits the greater Kansas City community, and for that matter, the nation.

    What do you think is driving the business growth?

    I think in the past it was the fact that people like my father came here – he came here in the '50s. The only jobs he could get were very basic jobs. He didn't have an education. He didn't speak the language very well. He didn't have money. He didn't have any political power. But he had his own ingenuity and his own work ethic. So he started off in the very basic jobs, as a lot of entrepreneurs do. My father picked potatoes for 50 cents an hour in rural Missouri, and then later on he was working on the meat-packing plant down here. Later on, he worked on the railroad, and then finally he was a janitor at my school. But my father always felt like, look that's just what I have to do right now. I'm an entrepreneur, and slowly but surely with my mother, they started restaurants and then later an import/export company and then later a little construction company.

    None of those businesses were really successful in terms of being million-dollar enterprises, but they were very important to our family and helped not only support us but educate us. So I think that you see that entrepreneurial spirit. When they don't have opportunities, they create their own opportunities. ... (In the U.S.), they saw a tremendous environment where nobody was going to prevent them from working as much as they wanted to. Nobody was going to prevent them from taking a risk. There were tools available to grow your business, so they took advantage of that positive environment. We shouldn't ever take that for granted. Cities, states and federal governments need to be working constantly to create that environment so those small businesses are willing to start their businesses, take risks, risk their capital. ...

    A lot of the businesses that have developed over the last eight years had a lot of headwinds and they were hitting a lot of walls. They are starting to feel optimistic, and that optimism is also what drives business growth. If you feel like you are going to have an opportunity to be successful, you'll make decisions that you don't usually make. You'll hire somebody, you'll buy more inventory, you'll take a risk, you'll expand, and you'll break into new markets. You will not do that if you feel that next year may not be as good or that something's coming down the pike that's going to hurt your business. The economy grew at 3 percent last quarter, and for the last eight years, it's been growing 1 to 2 percent. And some of that, I believe, is optimism. Businesses are starting to feel like this may be a good time to expand.

    What's the perception of Kansas City nationally, and is it changing?

    I think a lot of people don't understand that Kansas City is a very diverse and vibrant economy, great quality of life, good infrastructure, a good workforce, a good educational system. Little by little, people are starting to get wind of that, if you will. I think it helps when conventions come here and conferences come here. People come to Kansas City and have a good experience and they tell other people: "I've never been to Kansas City before, but I went there, had a great experience and my business has benefited from it."

    I think in some ways Kansas City is still a well-kept secret – less and less now. I think it's starting to appear on some lists that it's one of the better places to be in business and a great place to raise a family. I think folks are going to be looking for that. I live in California. ... There may be some good things happening, but there's a lot of things that are not so popular, especially for business because the cost of doing business in California is so high. I just think that more and more people are going to be looking for alternatives, and Kansas City can be a good alternative for a lot of folks who want to start a business, grow a business or pursue a different career.


    For original article, click here.

  • 09/12/2017 10:16 AM | TLC Team (Administrator)

    Small and Hispanic businesses deserve favorable treatment, too.

    ANALYSIS/OPINION:

    Corporate America’s interest in tax reform is obvious and understandable. Similarly, politicians’ interest in boosting our economy through incentives and breaks for large employers is not a mystery. But what about the importance of tax reform for groups who don’t make as many economic headlines (even if they should)? Our leaders should take a closer look at the economic and political advantages of reaching out to two overlapping, economically powerful groups — the Hispanic and small-business communities — when it comes to tax reform.

    Both Hispanics and small-business owners are overdue for some positive attention from their elected officials. Both groups end up, too often, in a political power category that feels like “other” — an afterthought or a talking point. This is both an economic and a political mistake; the right steps on tax reform could begin to rectify it.

    Take, first, the small-business sector. It is underrepresented and misunderstood by politicians, popular culture and the media, in large part because their moniker is tremendously misleading. The word “small” diminishes and mischaracterizes our nation’s entrepreneurs before the conversation can even begin. Yet, small firms create two-thirds of our country’s net new jobs and are responsible for almost half of gross domestic product.

    In spite of representing half the economy, small-business owners, historically, have not been able to compete in the influence business with corporate America. From in-person lobbying to political fundraising, big business persistently dwarfs small business in the corridors of power. It’s a logistical problem with real economic consequences — individual small-business owners don’t have the time or budget to compete in the Washington game, so their critical perspective is often missing from the public policy debate.

    When it comes to tax reform in particular, elected officials are easily distracted by news or speculation about stock market swings and tax inversions, which leads them to focus too heavily on corporate tax rates, not individual rates — the category where small-business owners pay their tax bill. This is dangerous. Tax reform that leaves small, independent businesses exposed to the highest tax rates and crippling complexity will fail to realize the economic benefits our leaders seek.

    Now take another misunderstood and underrepresented group — one that is, coincidentally, uniquely entrepreneurial. I wish more people understood that Latinos are not just their growing population numbers, not just the face of the immigration debate. They are Americans. They are patriots. They are a young, growing, industrious and highly productive part of the U.S. economy. The economic output of our population — right around 55 million people — would actually make the world’s seventh-largest economy. As a Hispanic American, I am most proud of the fact that Latinos are starting small businesses at a faster rate than any other group. Latino’s entrepreneurial spirit and muscle are incredibly important right now, because America’s essential business dynamism is declining.

    Tax reform that encourages and rewards the Hispanic community’s entrepreneurial DNA through lower individual tax rates would show this group that their politicians see them for who they are: a productive and economically powerful group.

    When it comes to tax reform in particular, elected officials are easily distracted by news or speculation about stock market swings and tax inversions, which leads them to focus too heavily on corporate tax rates, not individual rates — the category where small-business owners pay their tax bill. This is dangerous. Tax reform that leaves small, independent businesses exposed to the highest tax rates and crippling complexity will fail to realize the economic benefits our leaders seek.

    Now take another misunderstood and underrepresented group — one that is, coincidentally, uniquely entrepreneurial. I wish more people understood that Latinos are not just their growing population numbers, not just the face of the immigration debate. They are Americans. They are patriots. They are a young, growing, industrious and highly productive part of the U.S. economy. The economic output of our population — right around 55 million people — would actually make the world’s seventh-largest economy. As a Hispanic American, I am most proud of the fact that Latinos are starting small businesses at a faster rate than any other group. Latino’s entrepreneurial spirit and muscle are incredibly important right now, because America’s essential business dynamism is declining.

    Tax reform that encourages and rewards the Hispanic community’s entrepreneurial DNA through lower individual tax rates would show this group that their politicians see them for who they are: a productive and economically powerful group.

  • 09/07/2017 6:28 PM | TLC Team (Administrator)

    WASHINGTON, Sept. 5, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Latino Coalition (TLC), the leading, national non-partisan advocacy organization representing Hispanic businesses and consumers, issued the following statement regarding the phase out of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA):

    "Today, the Trump Administration provided Congress with the opportunity to make immigration law the right way: through legislation, not executive orders. Reaction to this decision is ranging from hyperbole to falsehood – which may score political points, but is detrimental in the genuine effort to develop good, compassionate public policy on immigration," said Hector Barreto, The Latino Coalition Chairman and former U.S. Small Business Administrator.

    "America needs comprehensive immigration reform that is developed through the legislative process, that meets the needs and interests of the American people and our national security. We urge Congress to use president Trump's decision to rescind DACA as an opportunity to make positive changes to our nation's broken immigration system. Leaders who really care will work together, across the aisle, instead of using immigration as a wedge issue for political gain – a tactic that is both irresponsible government and bad politics."

    ABOUT THE LATINO COALITION- The Latino Coalition (TLC) was founded in 1995 by a group of Hispanic business owners from across the country to research and develop policies solutions relevant to Latinos. TLC is a non-profit nationwide organization with offices in California, Washington, DC and Guadalajara, Mexico. Established to address and engage on key issues that that directly affect the well-being of Hispanics in the United States, TLC's agenda is to create and promote initiatives and partnerships that will foster economic equivalency and enhance and empower overall business, economic and social development for Latinos. Visit www.thelatinocoalition.com.


  • 09/06/2017 11:44 AM | TLC Team (Administrator)

    Here's why Trump is right to end DACA

    • Ending DACA will not lead to mass deportations. That is not what Trump wants.
    • Winding down the Obama-era program is the perfect time for Congress to develop effective, compassionate policy on immigration – something most Americans strongly agree we need.

    COMMENTARY

      Hector Barreto, chairman of The Latino Coalition

      This week, the Trump Administration provided Congress with an opportunity: to make immigration law the right way, through legislation, not executive orders. Will they seize the moment, or squander it on scoring political points?

      Hyperbolic reactions from the expected special interest groups, and from many politicians, to the Trump Administration's decision to rescind Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (an Obama-era executive order put in place to protect illegal youths from deportation known as DACA) have been predictable and counter-productive. It will continue to be tempting for Democrats in particular to exploit immigration as a political wedge issue – painting Trump and all Republicans as racist and anti-dreamer. (Dreamers are youths who were brought to the U.S. illegally by their parents.) This approach would be both bad government and bad politics.

      The winding down of DACA is the perfect time for Congress to develop effective, compassionate policy on immigration – something most Americans strongly agree we need. The best reforms will be developed through the legislative process, not executive orders – and that's something else both sides can agree on.

      In the meantime, leaders should stay away from inflammatory language and fear mongering. Mass deportations will not happen – it is simply not logistically possible, and it is not what the Trump Administration has called for. It is worth noting how Attorney General Sessions described the government's next steps:

      The Department of Justice has advised the President and the Department of Homeland Security that DHS should begin an orderly, lawful wind down, including the cancellation of the memo that authorized this program. … This [wind down process] will enable DHS to conduct an orderly change and fulfill the desire of this administration to create a time period for Congress to act—should it so choose. We firmly believe this is the responsible path.

      Sessions' words about a "wind down" were rational and calm, indicating an approach that is not drastic or dramatic, not gratuitously painful or overly political. The end of DACA and the beginning of lawful immigration reform can, and should, be handled with this level of maturity and respect – for dreamers for American citizens, and for our nation's tradition of the rule of law.

      There are no easy or simple answers on immigration, and it's okay for our leaders to acknowledge that fact. I believe they can find legislative solutions that strengthen America, recognize our proud immigrant tradition, keep the economy strong, and keep our citizens safe and our borders secure. The core elements of President George W. Bush's immigration reform proposals, for example, met those goals through effective border security, a functioning and humane guest worker program, and a pathway to earned legal status for the undocumented. Given the six-month time frame Congress will have before DACA ends, they would do well to start their work with Bush's already well-developed proposal.

      President Trump even Tweeted on Tuesday that he would revisit the issue if Congress cannot act.


      If the end of DACA is turned into a political screaming match, an opportunity to move forward on immigration reform will be lost. DACA will end roughly and badly. If President Trump's critics encourage and enable this approach, they themselves will be responsible for derailing that which they say they hold dear: fair, compassionate treatment for dreamers.

      Voters, in turn, will punish those who mishandle this moment. They will see it as political malpractice, or worse. Their desire for solutions, and for action, is why Donald Trump was elected president. Americans are weary of bloviating and politics. They want things to get fixed, period.

      And the voters are right: Our immigration laws and enforcement need to be fixed. They are right to expect their representatives to do this, and President Trump is right to encourage Congress to act. The end of DACA can, and should, lead to immigration reform done the right way: through legislating.

      Commentary by Hector Barreto, chairman of The Latino Coalition, one of the largest Latino advocacy groups in the U.S. He is also a member of the board of the United States Chamber of Commerce. He was administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration under President George W. Bush.

      For more insight from CNBC contributors, follow @CNBCopinion on Twitter.

      Source: CNBC

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