On Tuesday, I met with members of the Virginia congressional delegation about healthcare reform and other issues important to the franchise industry during the International Franchise Association (IFA) 10th Annual Public Affairs Conference held in Washington, D.C. on September 14 – 15, 2009

I joined 450 other franchise leaders from around the country in Washington to urge Congress to consider the impact of healthcare reform on small and franchise businesses. 

We urged congressional leaders to focus on reducing the cost of health care, improving the quality of care and making health insurance affordable for businesses to offer to employees. While the franchise industry supports healthcare reform, now is not the time, during the worst recession since World War II, for substantial new increases in healthcare costs. More consideration for small businesses in the healthcare debate is critical to the future of the franchise industry.

In addition, I highlighted the importance of franchising to the U.S. economy during meetings with Representative Eric Cantor and meetings the legislative staffs of Senator Jim Webb and Senator Mark Warner.  According to a study conducted for the IFA Educational Foundation by PricewaterhouseCoopers on the economic impact of franchising, there are more than 900,000 franchised businesses in operation across the country that provide for 21 million jobs and generate $2.3 trillion in economic output.

However, the tight credit markets are hampering our ability to create new, sustainable jobs. A 40 percent reduction in franchise lending is predicted this year, resulting in the loss of an estimated 200,000 direct and indirect jobs. During these meetings, we urged Congress to promote more lending and less government spending so franchise businesses can provide better jobs that help the economy recover at a faster pace.