Hall: The Impact of Texas-Sized Technology on Small Businesses |

Texans are feeling the pinch from higher interest rates and inflation. Yet while we worry about prices at the supermarket or at the pump, some lawmakers in Washington are more focused on taking down America’s most successful technology companies than offering solutions to mitigate the impacts of the economic crisis on consumers. consumers and small business owners.

The same technology that enables small business owners to grow their customer base and share their latest offerings with consumers is in the crossfire of the America’s Online Choice and Innovation Act introduced by Senator Amy Klobuchar, D -Min.

Proponents of this bill believe that government intervention aimed at “splitting up” US tech companies is the key to increased competition in the industry. The reality is that this misguided legislation would hurt consumers, small businesses, and even local chambers of commerce like ours that depend on the digital tools and services these businesses provide.

Here in Longview, like the rest of the state, some of the biggest technology companies are making investments to help our local economy grow. The Longview Chamber of Commerce is one of many recipients of Google Ad Grants that provide qualifying nonprofits with a $10,000 monthly budget for advertising and analytics tools.

This support allows us to have an even greater impact in our region by ensuring that businesses are aware of the valuable resources and opportunities we have to offer. For example, we share resources to educate our members on how to take advantage of e-commerce platforms like the Amazon marketplace to expand their reach. We also have members who use Amazon’s robust training programs to help them access the market and optimize sales performance.

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There is no doubt that the Internet has changed the way businesses of all sizes connect with their customers. It has never been easier to give up a physical store and sell products to customers in the neighborhood or around the world. Many of the 3 million small businesses that call Texas home rely on the digital tools targeted by this legislation. For example, our members see value in creating business profiles through Google Maps to let potential customers know about your offerings, locations, and hours. As an organization charged with protecting the interests of our local business community and its members, we urge congressional leaders to ensure that access to these free digital tools is protected.

In addition to belying the business- and innovation-friendly nature of our state, antitrust action targeting technology companies is one of the lowest legislative priorities for Americans, according to a report by Echelon Insights. This report, published by NetChoice, also “revealed that 85% of Americans said they are at least somewhat concerned about price-gouging antitrust tech proposals and that 40% of Republican-leaning voters and 37% of Democratic-leaning voters said they are “extremely concerned that such proposals will make inflation worse.”

Tech companies are helping grow our economy and adding thousands of jobs to the workforce. The recent passage of the CHIPS for America Act, which will boost domestic manufacturing and create more facilities and jobs in Texas, is an example of the role we can play as leaders in this sector.

As our state continues to serve as a business-friendly beacon for the tech industry, our elected leaders need to consider how we can use their growing investment to strengthen our economy and digital ecosystems, rather than use taxpayer money to Throw the book at them to see what sticks.

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Our attorney general has already requested and been awarded more than $43 million from Texas taxpayers to retain outside legal services to support litigation against Google. Is this waste of resources hurting or helping Texans?

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— Kelly Hall is the President/CEO of the Longview Chamber of Commerce.

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