Among the concerns expressed by business owners are shortages of employees, raw materials and modes of transportation to ship goods from different locations. Van Duyne, a Republican, represents Texas' 24th Congressional District, which includes portions of northeast Tarrant County, as well as parts of Dallas and Denton counties.
In attendance at the roundtable was Mike Garabedian of Garabedian Properties, a custom homebuilder in Keller serving northeast Tarrant County. He said the supply shortages in materials like concrete are delaying project completion and increasing housing costs amid a hot real estate market.
“The job that would have taken a year now is taking a year-and-a-half, or sometimes two years to build. Then you also have cost increases, the cost of the house is going up. ... In Texas, for every $1,000 increase in the cost of a home, 20,000 people are priced out of the home,” Garabedian said, echoing a March report from the Dallas Builders Association.
Beyond supply shortages, a labor shortage that has been affecting businesses in all industries for months is another challenge brought to Van Duyne’s attention. Many businesses are having to raise their wages to compete with each other for applicants.
Greg Kalina, general manager at Stonehouse Restaurant in Colleyville, was also in attendance at the event and shared that restaurant employee wages were increased by 40% because of labor shortages.
A lack of drivers, especially truck drivers, has been impacting the transportation of goods, too, attendees said.
The topic generated conversation from participants and suggestions for potential ways to solve the problem. Van Duyne said the roundtable gave her necessary feedback and anecdotes to bring back to Washington D.C. as lawmakers work to address the supply chain and inflation issues.
“That's helpful to hear those solutions directly from the people that it will affect,” she said. “What you saw today was, I think, folks who are frustrated, who are not hopeful because they don't see their leaders in D.C. fighting for them or addressing their concerns.”
Rep. Van Duyne said the roundtable gave her a good grasp on the concerns of business owners in her district, as well as creative solutions to propose in future legislation once she returns to D.C. A lot of business owners said reducing regulations on various aspects of business operations would be beneficial.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan unemployment rate for Sept. 2021 currently sits at 4.4%, down from 6% in June 2021.