WASHINGTON, D.C. --- During a House Small Business Committee hearing April 9, a number of small business owners testified that high gas prices are forcing entrepreneurs to downsize, cut employee benefits, or even consider bankruptcy. Several witnesses urged Congress to tighten regulation of gas prices, according to Cox News Service.
"We need to limit the price of fuel on a weekly basis," testified Michael Graff, owner of Michael Graff Trucking in Natrona Heights, Pa. "The government needs to help us with the gas costs rising so we can at least budget for the coming week and know the price will remain stable."
Several witnesses at the hearing said that the surge in gasoline prices has hit small business owners particularly hard. Vincent Orza, dean of the Meinders School of Business at Oklahoma City University, stressed this point.
"Historically, small businesses run thinner margins than do larger competitors," Orza said. "There are two simple choices to reverse declining profits or minimize losses: either cut costs or increase prices."
Some of the witnesses urged legislators to suspend the federal excise tax of $18.4 cents per gallon. In response, Rep. Louis Gohmert (R-Texas) argued that such a suspension would threaten efforts to address road and infrastructure repair needs. Gohmert was more receptive to calls for additional domestic oil drilling.
John Urbanchuk, director at LECG LLC, a consulting firm, argued for greater use of ethanol.
In his testimony, Gary Gilberti of Chesapeake Rehab Equipment pushed for greater subsidies for gasoline-electric hybrid cars.