SmallBiz Vote

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 can begin to improve, …[a] focus on jobs recovery, [and] reduce spending and taxes so that companies can begin to hire." Another wrote, "I'd like to see more consumers having money to use my business and others, a big tax break for employers, and the new health care law that requires us to provide health care not go into effect."

The following are verbatim responses from business owners surveyed by Yahoo! and IpsosMediaCT. Do you agree with the gripes of these business owners? What would you add to this list of issues they say policymakers should address?

On taxes:
• Cut corporate taxes so we can begin to hire people. Think about the engine of private business and help it to work and create jobs!
• I pay more as a percentage of income than a big corporation. Why?
• [Filing taxes] should not require hiring a professional. There should be one place a business owner can keep track of all local, state, and federal filings, fees, and taxes due.
• I'd like to see better tax breaks and incentives to help small businesses stay alive.
• Lowering taxes on small business would help greatly.

On regulations:
• [There is] too much government intervention.
• Too many state regulations!
• Ease zoning restrictions.
• Government should stop being a nanny!
• Policymakers should quit placing restrictions and mandates on businesses.

On access to capital:
• [We need] access to capital for small businesses at reasonable interest rates.
• I can't sell the houses I build because ... no buyers qualify for loans under current lending restrictions.
• Give more lenient credit guidelines to business owners.
• It's impossible to get a bank loan as a small business.
• Even though capital is available, the requirements are now more restrictive than ever.

On healthcare:
• The cost of premiums are skyrocketing and [forcing] me to decide if I can afford to continue coverage.
• The recently passed health care laws are driving up the cost of healthcare. They are socialist policies and need to be repealed.
• We used to be able to afford good health care for our employees. Now we can't afford it and what we do have is not very good.
• We would like the government to stay out of the medical field. Their rules and regulations do not help heal our patients, they just make it more difficult for us.
• Get the Feds out of mandating health care. Make all federal employees use the same plans available to regular businesses.

On jobs and the economy:
• Government needs to cut spending and balance the budget just like we business owners do.
• The whole economy needs to get better so people will want to contract out to me and other businesses like mine.
• Provide programs and incentives to manufacturers who bring their production back to the U.S.
• People out of work have limited use for our services. Get rid of welfare and put people to work in meaningful jobs.
• My biggest issue is the fact that buyers don't have money to spend.

On Washington politics:
• I'd like Washington to clean up wasted spending and fraud and hold those accountable before deciding who should have tax increases.
• No budget? No pay for Congress and the Senate!
• Get rid of everyone in Congress and put in people who can work together and finally get something done for this country.
• The squabbling among our representatives has kept them from doing important work. We need to replace the available seats with fresh people and ideas.
• Policymakers…need to stop catering to special interest groups.

If you're a small business owner, tell us what issues you'd like to see policymakers address. Share in the comments section, or at #SmallBizVote on Twitter.

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