Yesterday I met my Congressman Jeb Hensarling at a meet & greet that was hosted by Rick Carmona at his restaurant in Terrell, Texas.
I appreciated the opportunity to be able to discuss my views with Mr. Hensarling as regards HR 5786 , known as the Safe Cosmetics Act of 2010.
Congressman Hensarling is a strong supporter of small business and the right of Americans to be able to pursue the American dream through entrepreneurship. I explained briefly some of the pertinent points of the bill that would likely cause us to go out of business and he was extremely supportive. He indicated that he understood my concerns and that at the very least the bill should be amended to exclude small business from it, which he stated was a very common step to take in Washington. Mr. Hensarling, unfortunately, is not on either of the committees to which the bill has been referred. He did however, let me know that he would do what he could to help.
This meeting definitely meant something to me. I was reassured that even as just one individual I am still able to express my views directly to the person who is representing my district at the federal level in Congress. I appreciated his time in meeting with the small group of local people who had gathered (maybe 18?) and in answering our questions and felt like that at least in here in District 5 of Texas the original system of “representation of the people” is alive and well.
In a nutshell several key points why I think business as usual would be impossible if the Safe Cosmetics Act of 2010 passes as written:
- The level of paperwork demanded by the bill will be simply overwhelming – ALL products must be registered as well as any changes that are made to them, along with suppliers used, hires and fires and gross revenues. I already have all I can do to stay up with my general bookkeeping, employee taxes, sales taxes and income tax filing.
- The labeling requirements would be completely unmanageable. If instead of simply Cocoa Butter you are required to list the following: (Tri and Diglycerides of Stearic Acid, Palmitic Acid, Lead, Oleic Acid, Linoleic Acid, Isoleic Acid, Beta Carotene, p-Hydroxybenzoic Acid, Vanillic Acid, Ferulic Acid, Syringic Acid, Phenylehtylamine, Theophylline, Aliphatic Esters, Aromatic Carbonyls, Caffeine, Theobromine, Diketopiperazines and Alkylpryazines) — a. who would read and understand it and b. how would you even fit it onto say a lip balm tube?
- Many of the natural ingredients that I use would likely be prohibited or severely restricted. Their definition of an ingredient that is safe without limits is that it must be so “regardless of the type and form of cosmetic the ingredient is used in; or the concentration of the ingredient that is used in the cosmetic.” Very few if any ingredients will meet this definition, especially when you take it down to trace elements. I use essential oils in almost all of my products – but they are not designed to be used at 100% concentration levels. Based on their definition then essential oils would not be on the “safe” list.
When speaking with Mr. Hensarling, I said that I felt as though my industry was under attack since there has been three separate regulatory bills introduced within as many years. His response was both reassuring on one hand and a concern on the other. He agreed with me that my business and my industry is under attack. So the good news is that I am not paranoid. The concern came when he stated that many in Washington today “are afraid of business”. I found that extremely disturbing! If our lawmakers are afraid of business then they are going to do everything in their power to control and restrict it with the end result being a crippling effect on all businesses and particularly small business.
Don’t those in government realize that for the country to survive we must produce products and services? If businesses aren’t allowed to thrive and to produce goods and services and profits then wages aren’t being paid and there will be no one to pay taxes. If taxes aren’t being paid then, unless somehow those in Washington have discovered a secret treasure trove, there will be no money to fund any of the governmental activities ranging from social programs to military forces. For our country to remain vibrant and alive, our economy must remain viable which means the great majority of our citizens must be productive and contributing to our GNP. Translation: the opportunity for business and the ability to conduct business must be allowed and even encouraged.
Thanks again, Mr. Hensarling and good luck in Washington!