Bob Menendez

is a Democratic U.S. senator from New Jersey

Pat Toomey

is a Republican U.S. senator from Pennsylvania

Starting a business takes guts. Even with the best idea and a great business plan, entrepreneurs face unique struggles, uncertainties, and risks. Just staying afloat and remaining competitive in today's increasingly global economy is a herculean task, and there is no guarantee of success.

In this struggling economy, Congress should do everything it can to make it easier for people to start new businesses and help small businesses expand and create new jobs. That's why we introduced the bipartisan Start-up Jobs and Innovation Act last week.

The vast majority of start-up companies face significant challenges fighting their way to maturity. But the value they create for the economy is unmistakable, and much of our future growth as a country depends on their success or failure.

Of all the obstacles small businesses face, the one that is least excusable, but also the easiest to fix, is the need to spend scarce time, effort, and money attempting to navigate the confusing federal tax system.

We believe much of our tax code has been written with big business in mind, creating obstacles and confusion for small businesses trying to get off the ground. Too often when starting a business, entrepreneurs have to waste time negotiating complicated rules that are dealt with by dedicated employees or even whole departments at larger firms. The Start-up Jobs and Innovation Act will rewrite parts of the code so that they will more appropriately reflect the needs and interests of small businesses.

For instance, our legislation allows small businesses to avoid complex rules on equipment purchases and start-up costs by providing them with simple rules for deducting their expenses. This will save them time and frustration and free up capital at a time when small businesses need every penny they can get to make their dreams succeed.

Our legislation also will offer more companies the flexibility to choose an accounting method that best fits their business. The bill will ease tax compliance for small companies by offering them the ability to use the simpler cash-accounting approach.

Because investment in research is a high-risk and high-cost decision for firms, but one that has tremendous benefits to the American economy, Congress should be sensitive to the challenges faced by companies developing new technologies. Our bill will allow research-intensive small businesses to enter into partnerships with their investors by modifying overly restrictive tax rules that disadvantage smaller firms.

Innovative small businesses conducting groundbreaking research require capital investment. The Start-up Jobs and Innovation Act will provide these firms with certainty by permanently expanding existing provisions that make it easier for small companies to attract the investment they need to fund research, grow, and succeed.

Owners of business start-ups recognize needs in our communities, and they have ideas to meet those needs and the daring to make them happen. Small-business men and women are resilient and flexible. Some of these businesses remain in the hands of "mom and pop," while others grow, hire more workers, and go public. All are contributing to the economy.

We need to make it easier - not harder - for small-business owners to take the risks necessary to grow their companies. Right now, we have a unique opportunity to create an even stronger America by enabling hardworking job creators and small-business owners to succeed. We should not let this opportunity go to waste.