Texans are feeling the impacts of higher interest rates and inflation. Yet, as we worry about prices at the grocery store 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 economic turmoil on consumers and small business owners. The very technology that allows small business owners to grow their customer base and share their latest offerings with consumers is in the crossfire of The American Innovation and Online Choice Act (S. 2992/AICOA), introduced by Senator Amy Klobuchar.
Proponents of this bill believe government intervention aimed at “breaking up” American technology companies is the key to more competition in the industry. The reality is that this misguided legislation would harm consumers, small businesses and even local chambers of commerce like ours that rely on the digital tools and services these companies provide.
Here in Longview, like the rest of the state, some of the largest technology companies are making investments to help our local economy grow. The Longview Chamber of Commerce is one of many beneficiaries of Google’s Ad Grants which provides qualifying nonprofits a monthly budget of $10,000 for advertising and analytics tools. This support allows us to make an even greater impact in our region by ensuring businesses know about the valuable resources and opportunities we have to offer. For example, we share resources to educate our members on how to leverage e-commerce platforms like Amazon’s marketplace to broaden their reach. We also have members that utilize Amazon’s robust training programs to help them access the market and optimize sales performance.
There is no doubt that the internet has changed how businesses of all sizes connect with their customers. It’s never been easier to forego a physical storefront and sell products to customers in the neighborhood or across the globe. Many of the three million small businesses that call Texas home rely on the digital tools this legislation is targeting. For example, our members see value in creating business profiles through Google Maps so prospective customers know their offerings, locations, and hours. As an organization tasked with protecting the interest of our local business community and members, we urge leaders in Congress to ensure that access to these free digital tools is protected.
In addition to contradicting the pro-business and pro-innovation nature of our state, antitrust action targeting technology companies is one of the lowest legislative priorities for Americans according to a report conducted by Echelon Insights. This report, released by NetChoice, also “revealed that 85% of Americans said they are at least somewhat concerned about tech antitrust proposals increasing prices and that 40% of GOP-leaning voters and 37% of Democrat- 410 N Center St Longview TX 75601 www.LongviewChamber.com leaning voters said they are “extremely concerned” about such proposals making 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 bolster domestic production and lead to 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 technology industry, our elected leaders should consider how we can utilize their growing investment to strengthen our economy and digital ecosystems, instead of using taxpayer dollars to throw the book at them to see what sticks. Already our Attorney General has requested and been appropriated over $43 million of Texas taxpayer dollars to hire outside legal service to support litigation against Google. Is this waste of resources hurting or helping Texans?