On July 31, Lebanon County’s local congressman, state Rep. Dan Meuser (R-PA9), co-hosted a small business roundtable in the Capitol that featured panelists from around the district, including Jonathan Byler, president and CEO of Cornwall-based Byler Holdings.

The hour-long roundtable was held by Meuser and Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO) as the ranking members of the House Small Business Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Tax, and Capital Access.

Meuser said in a press release that the roundtable was a chance to hear directly from small businesses about how inflation is impacting them.

“Small businesses throughout my district and across America are struggling to keep up with record high inflation that has been brought on by reckless spending in Washington,” said Meuser.

The causes of the current bout of inflation are myriad, according to the Wall Street Journal, with many linked to the pandemic – increased consumer spending due to government stimulus and fading COVID-19 restrictions, supply-chain disruptions, and a contracting labor market chief among them.

Byler said that Meuser and the other congressional representatives showed genuine interest and recognized the problem of inflation, and were trying to come up with solutions. Byler said it was his first time visiting the Capitol and while there got the chance to observe a hearing related to the Small Business Administration.

Pictured in the Capitol, from left to right: Jonathan Byler, Rep. Dan Meuser, and Kathy Byler.

Byler said he’s seeing signs of inflation across all of the holding company’s interests. Diesel fuel and gasoline are the most immediate one, he explained, with rising costs having a huge impact on trucking and production of materials such as stone, concrete, and sand. Byler said the company is also seeing inflation trickle through to the cost of construction and labor generally. Even prices of goods like popcorn and popcorn oil – used by the company’s Penn Cinema properties – have risen “through the roof,” he said.

Byler said the group talked about potential solutions, with the energy situation being the one that seemed both biggest and perhaps easiest to take action on. Byler said that expanding permitting for pipelines was one example of an action that could alleviate some of the price pressure.

The roundtable group came from a diverse set of industries, said Byler, a sign that there’s “nobody that’s not being affected right now.”

In addition to Byler, other panelists from Meuser’s 9th congressional district included:

  • Karen Norheim, president and CEO of Douglassville-based American Crane
  • Bill Wydra, founder and president of Hegins-based Ashland Technologies Inc.
  • Nathan Richard, owner of Scattered Acres Farm in Catawissa
  • Savas Logothetides, owner of Wheel Restaurant in Pottsville.
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