Senator Heidi Heitkamp United States Senator for North Dakota

Economy and Small Business

As a member of both the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship and the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, Senator Heitkamp is focused on reducing federal spending and the deficit, while supporting small businesses and promoting economic development in our communities.

 Addressing the Federal DeficitSmall Biz

 Senator Heitkamp is continuing to work with her colleagues on  both sides of the aisle to find a long-term and bipartisan solution  that addresses our federal budget deficit while also spurring  economic growth, creating jobs, and promoting  innovation. Senator Heitkamp also believes we need to find a solution to replace the reckless across-the-board spending cuts – known as sequestration – which are slashing programs and  resources that provide crucial support to struggling families.  Senator Heitkamp absolutely wants to address federal spending and reduce the deficit, but not through blind cuts that disproportionately hurt the most vulnerable among us.

Supporting Small Businesses

Small businesses are the backbone of not only North Dakota’s economy, but the U.S. economy as a whole. In North Dakota, small businesses represent 96% of all employers, and they employ almost 62% of the private-sector labor force. North Dakota is positioned for economic growth because of investment, innovation, and the entrepreneurial spirit of our small business owners.

As a member of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, Senator Heitkamp is working on issues critical to small businesses and advocating for policies that will provide the necessary environment for innovation and growth for small business owners. Senator Heitkamp is committed to working to further issues and policies of particular concern to North Dakota small business owners, including issues related to getting disaster assistance, creating certainty in the regulatory environment, eliminating redundant and unnecessary regulations, and providing access to capital. She is also working on outreach, education, and policies that will look to increase and foster growth for Native Americans, women, and veteran-owned small businesses.

Leveling the Playing Field for Small BusinessesEconomy 1

Senator Heitkamp helped introduce the Marketplace Fairness Act – which the Senate passed – to level the playing field for brick and mortar shops by giving states the flexibility to collect already-required sales taxes on online purchases. Currently, online companies are not required to collect and remit sales tax, and it’s up to consumers to calculate and send in the taxes they owe for goods bought on the Internet – which most people don’t do.  This bill requires all retailers – whether on Main Street or online – to collect and remit the same sales tax.  

In 1991, when Heitkamp was North Dakota’s Tax Commissioner, the state of North Dakota attempted to make catalog retailers collect the sales tax the state and municipalities were already owed on sales.  The debate went all the way to the Supreme Court, which found that the U.S. Congress had the ultimate power to resolve the issue.  Since then, the sharp increase in internet sales has sparked renewed interest from state and local governments in leveling the playing field for brick-and-mortar businesses and closing a gaping loophole in our tax system.   

Senator Heitkamp's Recent Work on the Economy and for Small Business