The Saturday after Thanksgiving is one of the most important days of the year for Main Street. It’s “Small Business Saturday,” when Americans are encouraged to shop at local stores and mom-and-pop shops, not the big businesses that get the attention on Black Friday.

But this year, Small Business Saturday is especially important. Main Street still needs your support by shopping local, but it also needs you to raise your voice and send a message to Congress: It’s time to give small businesses a level playing field with big business.

Just like families across America, small businesses are facing tough economic headwinds, especially from the soaring costs that come with inflation. They’re also dealing with continued supply chain snarls, which drive up the cost of goods, too. And the non-stop deluge of red tape from Washington, D.C. makes running a small business more expensive than ever.

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Small businesses need their communities’ support to get through these economic and policy roadblocks, which hurt Main Street a lot more than they do Wall Street and big corporations. That’s the biggest reason why Small Business Saturday matters so much. Small businesses have accounted for two out of every three jobs over the past 25 years, and they want to keep providing jobs and opportunity. They also want to keep giving back to their communities, as the main sponsors of everything from local sports teams to school events.  

Every dollar you spend at a small business this Saturday will find its way back into the community, whether through sponsorships, wages and benefits for local employees, or new jobs. The more you shop at these job creators, the better. Yet small businesses also need you to tell Congress to give small businesses relief and fairness compared to big corporations.

There are three commonsense policies that you can call on Congress to pass. All three are top priorities for the small businesses that are the heart and soul of your community.

First and foremost: Congress needs to stop a coming massive tax hike on small businesses.

In 2017, lawmakers gave permanent tax cuts to Wall Street, but the relief they gave Main Street was temporary, and it’s set to expire in 2025. Small businesses are already holding back job creation and wage hikes in the expectation that they’re about to pay a lot more of their hard-earned money to the IRS. They need Congress to pass the Main Street Tax Certainty Act immediately. If they fail to act, Congress will be responsible for a massive tax hike on small businesses, one that will ripple through local economies.

Second: Congress needs to give small businesses relief from soaring credit-card fees.

When you shop at a small business this Saturday, it must pay a 3% processing fee every time you swipe your credit card. That’s because a few large credit card companies control the market and offer no real competition or chance of negotiating a better rate. 

If Congress passed the Credit Card Competition Act, Main Street would finally get more choices when it comes to card payment processing, leading to lower fees and more money to keep prices low and spend on wages and employees.

Third: Congress should free small businesses from a burdensome mandate that goes into effect this coming January.

Soon, every small business that earns more than $600 via platforms like PayPal and Venmo will start receiving tax forms from the IRS for additional tax liabilities. There is concern that the IRS will not be able to differentiate between money received as payment for work and money that was received to split the costs of goods or services, creating confusion. For example, if you buy concert tickets and your friend sends you money electronically to pay for theirs, the IRS may treat this as income to you and tax it. Multiply this by tens of millions of transactions and you can see the magnitude of the problem facing small businesses. While the IRS recently delayed implementing this mandate, Congress should act to remove it immediately.

This Small Business Saturday, please shop at every Main Street store you can. But please go a step further, too. Tell your representatives and senators that if Congress doesn’t stand up for small businesses, countless community businesses will be at an even bigger disadvantage against big business. 

It’s time to level the playing field and let Main Street do even more to create jobs and invest in your community.

Brad Close is president of the National Federation of Independent Business.

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