Election uncertainty over for small businesses; now what?

    By Adrienne Burke | Small Business

    Throughout campaign season, many small business owners reported paralysis over pursuing growth or hiring due to uncertainty about what kind of administration they'd face for the next four years. Would ObamaCare be repealed? Would the regulatory environment ease up? Would tax rates increase?

    This morning, no question remains about who will lead the country for the next four years, and it's more likely than ever that the Affordable Care Act will remain in tact.

    But much uncertainty remains. Small businesses still can't be sure just what the new health care act will cost them come 2014 when it goes into full effect. And yesterday's election outcome brought virtually no change to the partisan split on Capitol Hill, with Republicans ruling the House and Democrats ruling the Senate, which leaves great uncertainty about the so-called fiscal cliff and tax rates.

    Of that status, the Wall Street Journal editors this morning warned:

    "Mr. Obama will now have to govern the America he so relentlessly sought to divide—and without a mandate beyond the powers of the Presidency. Democrats will hold the Senate, perhaps with an additional seat or two. But Republicans held the House comfortably, so their agenda was hardly repudiated. The two sides will have to reach some compromise on the tax cliff, the spending sequester and the debt limit, but Speaker John Boehner can negotiate knowing he has as much of a mandate as the President."

    Contrarily, a New York Times editorial this morning says of the President's reelection:

    "It was a strong endorsement of economic policies that stress job growth, health care reform, tax increases and balanced deficit reduction—and of moderate policies on immigration, abortion and same-sex marriage. It was a repudiation of Reagan-era bromides about tax-cutting and trickle-down economics, and of the politics of fear, intolerance and disinformation."

    In a statement today John Arensmeyer, CEO of the Small Business Majority--a group that favors allowing current tax cuts for the top 2 percent of earners to expire at the end of the year--said that now "it's time to get down to the important work of addressing looming issues such as the immediate 'fiscal cliff,' and the related need for rational long-term fiscal policies that continue to offer targeted support for small businesses and the growing economy, while addressing the need to bring down our deficit."

    In September, the National Small Business Association reported that its polling of owners showed that "the near-complete failure of Washington to govern is having a broad, negative effect on America's small businesses."

    To get beyond the partisan infighting post-election, perhaps the best idea of all was proposed by Google co-founder Sergey Brin in a Google+ post yesterday. He urged today's winning political leaders to "please withdraw from your respective parties and govern as independents in name and in spirit. It is probably the biggest contribution you can make to the country."

    How do you feel about the future of your business after the election? Tell us in the comments.

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