Policymakers at all levels, from town councils to the halls of Capitol Hill, emphasize the challenges of small businesses as a key talking point during political debates. But new opinion polling in four states—Illinois, Missouri, Virginia and Wisconsin—reveals small businesses feel their government officials don’t actually understand their challenges, and they support a wide array of policies to address their needs, some of which might come as a surprise to their elected officials.
Rhetoric blaming government regulations for a lack of small business growth and our stagnant economy has reached a fever pitch. Legislators have introduced bills aimed at curbing regulations, believing this would stimulate our sluggish economy. While lawmakers are right to view small business as the key to economic recovery, small businesses don’t see regulations as their No. 1 concern. Instead, the vast majority of small business owners believe weak demand is the primary problem for their business right now, not regulations.
On Jan. 21, 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in its Citizens United decision that corporations are free to spend unlimited sums of money in elections. According to opinion polling released by the American Sustainable Business Council, Main Street Alliance and Small Business Majority, two-thirds of small business owners see this decision as bad for small business. The poll also shows small business owners overwhelmingly believe corporations have been given too much freedom to spend money that directly influences political campaigns.
Small businesses have become a key weapon in politicians’ arsenals when arguing for practically any policy that has an economic impact. Policies associated with the current tax debate are no exception. Countless rounds of legislative battles have been and will continue to be fought over whether small businesses will be hurt if tax breaks for high income earners are allowed to expire at the end of 2012.
Small businesses are working hard to move their companies, and our economy, beyond the recession. As much as they’ve already accomplished to lift employment levels, these entrepreneurs are not immune to the lingering effects of our disrupted financial market, and they want smart steps taken to address their needs. Contrary to the mantra that slackening Wall Street’s reins will bring economic growth, four out of five small business owners believe Wall Street should be held accountable for the practices that caused the financial crisis, through tougher rules and enforcement.
Small Business Majority's scientific opinion polling shows small business owners often feel disadvantaged by large corporations and the electoral system overall. They believe our current campaign finance system puts large corporations at a competitive advantage and support significant reforms to level the playing field between small employers and large corporations.
Recent scientific opinion polling found small business owners overwhelmingly believe Congress should pass legislation requiring businesses to list their true identity when forming. Such legislation is being considered to fight fraud committed by anonymous shell companies, including when larger companies use these entities to unfairly compete for government small business set-asides. Additionally, the poll found small business owners think such legislation would benefit, rather than burden, their business by protecting them from fraud and allowing them to compete fairly for government contracts.
A new scientific opinion poll found small business owners support commonsense business regulations and do not feel current levels of regulation are a top business concern. The poll also found current levels of regulation are not a top concern for our nation’s small business owners, and they do not support rolling back all federal regulations on businesses.
As small business owners prepare to close the books on 2012, our country is fast approaching the edge of what’s been dubbed the “fiscal cliff.” This critical situation—created by a host of tax cuts set to expire at the end of 2012, coupled with billions of dollars in automatic spending cuts that will be triggered if Congress and the president can’t agree on a way to reduce the deficit by year’s end—has dire consequences for small businesses. Many of the tax provisions set to expire benefit small businesses and the middle class, small businesses’ core customer base.
Entrepreneurs in the United States have a long wishlist of things they would like to see lawmakers do that would help improve their businesses. From tax reform to healthcare changes, there are plenty of ways politicians could make life better for America’s job creators.