Taxes, health care top issues for small businesses

NEW YORK (AP) — Small business owners are likely to vote in the upcoming presidential election, with taxes and health care among their top concerns, according to a new survey.

Seventy percent of those responding to a survey by Sage Software Inc. said that the issue of taxes will have a significant effect on the way they vote, while 68 percent said health care would and 63 percent voiced concerns about the national deficit and debt. Sage is a supplier of software and services to small- and mid-sized businesses. It surveyed 306 small business owners through an online poll, asking them about their voting plans and how they think the election will affect their businesses. The company defined small businesses as companies with less than 100 employees.

Sage said 96 percent of the small business owners it surveyed said they plan to vote in the election and 61 percent plan to follow both the Republican and Democratic party conventions. A total of 21 percent said they didn't plan to follow either convention, because it wouldn't affect how they vote, while 13 percent said they planned to follow one convention, but not the other.

On the topic of health care, 71 percent of those who responded said they thought that the health care overhaul should be repealed and 51 percent said they expected the changes to increase health care costs for their businesses. But nearly half of those who responded — 48 percent — said they don't know if they qualify for the health care tax credit that is part of the law. A third said they don't qualify and 19 percent said that they do.

Of those who responded, 44 percent of the companies said they currently offer health insurance for their full-time workers. Twenty-one percent said they have already discontinued, or plan to discontinue, health coverage as a result of the new law, while 3 percent said they have begun, or plan to begin, offering health insurance as a result of the changes.

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