Small business is a hot topic in the 2012 election, but will politicians forget about small business owners after they vote?
The only constituencies getting more love than small businesses this election season are puppies and newborns. In fact, some of the old political tactics of kissing babies and kowtowing to seniors have been largely replaced by the full-fledged embrace of small business owners by each party. But, this verbal love fest is just lip service to many small business owners who are primarily interested in current or future policies that directly impact their operations.
What really makes a difference for small businesses? Since small businesses range widely from small Mom and Pop coffee shops to manufacturers with hundreds of employees, the answers depend a lot of the type of company. But, there’s also a feeling that politicians love boosting small businesses on the campaign trail, but quickly forget about them when they actually cast their votes on relevant legislation in Washington. The small business owners BusinessWeek spoke to recently raised some points that might be educational for the Presidential candidates, if they’re listening.
Affordable Care Act
Kelly Conklin owns a cabinetry business in New Jersey that provides healthcare to its’ employees. He sees this Act, AKA Obamacare, as something that will level the playing field with his competitors in bordering Pennsylvania that don’t offer healthcare. That’s certainly different from a lot of the talk about how this act will impact small business owners.
Federal Minimum Wage
The National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB), is outspoken in their opposition to the current $7.25 minimum wage. But, another small business booster group, Business for Shared Prosperity says raising the minimum wage is the key issue for their 4,000 members. They see increased minimum wages as boosting small businesses by giving consumers more money to spend and boosting demand.
On the Republican side, you’ll hear a lot about how regulations are standing in the way of America’s economic recovery. The Democrats are more likely to cite excessive deregulation as a cautionary tale and a leading cause of the recent recession. Ask a small business owner and they might agree with both of them. Reduced regulations, such as the lack of sales tax on internet purchases or tax subsidies for farmers do help businesses – big businesses. Small businesses don’t have the large corporate lobbying forces of their larger competitors and many believe this helps tilt the playing field uphill in their direction.
Actions speak louder than words and small business owners are still waiting for either party to show them how much they care.