SmallBiz Vote
  • Businessman says Romney would boost exports

    photo credit: sakamencho via flickr

    GOP conventioneers appeared to take a break to mill around between speeches by Ohio Senator Rob Portman and former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty last night. What they missed was Ohio businessman Steven Cohen's speech explaining how American businesses would benefit from a Romney administration.

    Cohen is President of Screen Machine Industries, Inc., one of the largest manufacturers of construction and mining machinery—portable crushers, screeners, trommels, and conveyors—in North America with dealers worldwide. In July, Governor Romney made a campaign tour stop and speech at the 45-year-old family-run business' Pataskala, Ohio, plant. Cohen returned the favor with a visit to Tampa, Fla., to voice his support for a Romney presidency.

    Cohen stressed that business people like him "need a president who will protect America's patented inventions, guard the value of our currency, and open up new markets for American products."

    Patent protection is a big concern for Cohen, who said products

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  • Four indicators of small business improvement

    Van sales are an indicator of small business optimism

    Things are looking up for small business, according to a variety of economic indicators released recently. Here are four pieces of good news, with caveats, published in various outlets:

    1. Seed funding for startups is up. Way up, in fact, Crain's New York Business reports today: "Venture funding for companies in their very earliest stages has seen a steep increase over the past two years. Dow Jones VentureSource measured a 52 percent increase in venture-capital seed investments nationally in 2011 compared with 2010. A report last month by research firm CB Insights found that quarterly seed-stage funding for Internet companies has jumped dramatically over the past 10 quarters. In the first quarter of 2010, there were 20 seed deals; in the second quarter of 2012, there were 111, more than five times as many."

    Crain's report describes two tech startups that have raised $600,000 and $2 million in seed funding, but acknowledges a downside to the trend: "The amount of money for larger

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  • Policymakers’ top priority? Business owners cite several

    Small business owners name top issues they'd like policymakers to address

    What one issue affecting your business would you like to see policymakers address? Yahoo! Small Business Advisor posed that question to 250 small business owners in a recent survey.

    We reported last week on the results of the full survey, which indicate that Governor Romney will capture significantly more votes from small business owners than will President Obama at the polls in November.

    But the most common replies to our open-ended question revealed that small business owners are fed up with government as a whole. Respondents focused on taxes, regulations, access to capital, healthcare, and jobs and the economy as the issues they'd like to see policymakers address. Several suggested drastic measures for doing away with politics as usual in Washington, and some said they have little hope in politicians' ability to effect useful change.

    Many respondents had a hard time zeroing in on a single issue. Wrote one business owner, "I would like to see regulations eased so that the economy

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  • Early poll: Ryan doesn’t change small biz vote

    Romney-Ryan ticket has small biz vote

    Many small business owners are still learning what Mitt Romney's running mate stands for. But an early poll indicates that, so far, Paul Ryan's selection as the Republican VP candidate isn't influencing small business votes one way or another.

    In a Manta poll of more than 1,900 small business owners in early August, a significant majority—61 percent—said they plan to vote for Governor Romney on November 6. Manta polled 550 of those respondents again on Monday this week to ask whether Ryan's selection would sway their vote. The percent in favor of Romney changed no more than the survey's margin of error, a Manta spokeswoman told Yahoo! Small Business Advisor. Thirty percent said they plan to vote for Obama.

    The stats might change as business owners get to know Ryan. "With his Path for Prosperity, Congressman Ryan has gotten notoriety, but I'm not sure our members will know him off the top of their head," said Kristie Arslan, president and CEO of the National Association for the Self

    Read More »from Early poll: Ryan doesn’t change small biz vote
  • Advocate for self-employed argues for tax deductions

    NASE wants permanent full deductions for health insurance premiums for the self-employed

    Both presidential campaigns say they're best for small business, but Kristie Arslan says neither has backed up the claim with substantive plans. "They've never been specific on any of the priorities for the 21 million self-employed Americans," Arslan, president and CEO of the National Association for the Self Employed, wrote in the Huffington Post on Friday.

    Arslan challenged both candidates to respond to three of her organization's requests for specific tax deductions for the self-employed:

    1. Will you support the permanent, full deduction of health insurance premiums for the self-employed so that the self-employed will no longer pay annually, on average, nearly $1,800 in additional taxes than other business owners?

    2. Will you support legislation to make the tax deduction for startup expenses permanent, instead of letting the provision expire at the end of this year?

    3. Will you support legislation to simplify the home office deduction for home-based businesses, by allowing the

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  • What Paul Ryan wants for small business

    Paul Ryan proposes a Path to Prosperity

    In the two days since he was named GOP vice presidential candidate, most media attention has addressed Congressman Paul Ryan's proposals for overhauling Medicare, Medicaid, and other social services. But what does Governor Romney's choice of running mate mean for small business?

    Ryan has said he wants to let "individuals keep more of the money they earn and restore the certainty needed for families and businesses to plan for the future."

    Key points of his Path to Prosperity proposal included that "the free enterprise system is being stifled by an epidemic of crony politics and government overreach that has weakened confidence in the nation's institutions and its economy." His plan, he said, "revisits flawed financial-reform regulations and eliminates provisions that make future bailouts of Wall Street insiders more likely."

    In March, he wrote in the Wall Street Journal that he is in favor of spurring "economic growth with bold tax reform—eliminating complexity for individuals and

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  • What’s in the Senate’s latest small business bill for you

    The SUCCESS Act has some rare bipartisan support in the Senate.

    Just before Congress departed for summer recess last week, Senator Mary Landrieu (D-La.), introduced legislation designed to spur small business job growth and boost entrepreneurship.

    Her so-called SUCCESS Act of 2012, cosponsored by seven other Democrats, is notable because, when it was previously introduced as an amendment to the Small Business Jobs and Tax Relief Act (which remains on the Senate calendar), it got support from five Republicans to achieve 57 votes in the Senate—close to the 60 needed to invoke cloture and get to a vote. Landrieu, who chairs the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, called even that small bit of bipartisanship a "monumental feat in today's political climate."

    She said in a statement that the bill "is made up of numerous bipartisan provisions" offered by members of her committee to "get our small businesses the assistance they need to grow our economy."

    So what's in the SUCCESS Act? The bill is a mashup of measures from 14 other

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  • A “cruel summer” for small biz jobs growth

    NFIB Job Creation Plans ChartNews headlines are trumpeting the Labor Department's report this morning of a better-than-expected increase in hiring nationally in July, but the National Federation of Independent Business has issued a grim report on small employers and job growth based on its latest monthly random survey of 1,803 NFIB members.

    U.S. employers overall added 163,000 jobs in July—the biggest monthly uptick in five months. But small businesses eliminated jobs for a second month in a row "at a time when growth is needed," NFIB Chief Economist William Dunkelberg reported in a statement. The NFIB survey results indicated a net job loss per small firm over the past few months (seasonally adjusted) of .04. "Readings had been on the rise; from December to May they were zero or positive, suggesting that employment might be turning around. But June, and now July, have ended that possibility," Dunkelberg stated.

    To be sure, nearly 80 percent of small business owners surveyed made no net change to employment in

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  • Tax cuts, credit cards, and an entrepreneurship incentive

    More business owners are getting credit with personal cards

    Small business issues continue to hold center stage in election season. Here's a roundup of current events and reports from around the web this week related to small business and politics, including new legislation that would support immigrant entrepreneurs, various explorations of the access-to-credit crisis, and a discussion of tax cuts and small business.

    Supporting immigrant entrepreneurs

    A Democrat and a Republican in the House have teamed up to introduce a bill that would offer green cards to foreign entrepreneurs who live in the U.S. and establish and invest a minimum of $125,000 in a business here that creates and sustains full-time employment for at least three U.S. workers over two years. The National Small Business Association blogged its support for the legislation, which it says would also modify the EB-5 visa program to attract additional foreign investment.

    Fewer debt delinquencies

    Small business lending in June hit its lowest point since October, but was up two percent

    Read More »from Tax cuts, credit cards, and an entrepreneurship incentive
  • Tax code complexity costs employers billions

    At a time when Republicans and Democrats can't seem to come to terms on anything, most politicians are in agreement on one thing: the corporate tax code should be simplified.

    Tax code complexity costs employers billions

    We reported here several weeks ago that far fewer small businesses than the Federal government expected had claimed a tax credit made available to them through the Affordable Care Act. Business owners cited the complexity of complying with the tax code as a major impedance.

    Now in a front page story titled, "Firms Pass Up Tax Breaks, Citing Hassles, Complexity," the Wall Street Journal reports that this is true not just for health insurance tax credits but for many other tax breaks available to employers. Fed up with paperwork and leery of inviting IRS scrutiny, businesses are opting to skip deductions for energy efficient buildings, for hiring unemployed veterans and workers from disadvantaged groups, for increasing research, and for producing goods domestically, according to the Journal's report.

    Though large

    Read More »from Tax code complexity costs employers billions


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SmallBiz Vote discusses candidates, policy, and news of the 2012 U.S. elections from the perspective of business owners and entrepreneurs.

SmallBiz Vote Bloggers

  • Adrienne Burke, Blogger/Writer, Yahoo! Small Business

    Adrienne Burke has been editing and writing for B2B publications since 1993 …

  • Virginia Hines, Yahoo! Small Business Advisor

    Virginia Hines leads the Yahoo! Small Business Advisor product team.



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