Small business owners are not shy about expressing their opinions when it comes to government policies. When we asked members of our Small Business Council what they hope to hear from President Obama in tonight’s State of the Union address, a few recurring themes that pop up. Among them: Reduce federal regulation. Loosen up lending. And, this: I resign.
That last one came from Joseph Dutra, president and CEO of Kimmie Candy Company in Nevada, where the unemployment and foreclosure rates remain high.
It’s unlikely he’ll get his wish, but he wasn’t the only one expressing unhappiness with our current president, or at least Washington.
In addition, we heard from Barry Sloane, CEO of The Small Business Authority, on what his clients hope to hear from the president tonight.
Sloane outlines three topics small business owners are most concerned with. 1) Reduce the deficit. “Small business owners equate runaway government spending with a tax on their wealth.” 2) Ease the credit crunch. One way to do that, would be to allow credit unions to increase the cap on what credit unions can loan commercially. “If the amount is increased from the current 12.5 percent to 25 percent, $13 billion more will be available nationally to lend to small business,” he states. And, 3) Reduce government regulation. Sloane mentions specifically the easing of Dodd-Frank, a modified Obamacare plan, and loosening of Sarbanes-Oxley."
What are the chances? Obama’s a compromiser,” says Sloane. “A lurch to the middle is what he needs right now.”
Many of those thoughts were echoed by our Small Business Council members, who also expressed more personal thoughts on what they would like to hear.
“I would hope that President Obama would resign effective immediately in favor of a pro-business president that has a plan for job growth and one that appreciates the 1 percent of Americans that pay the maximum 35 percent in tax,” declares David Greenspon, president of Competitive Edge Advertising Specialty Mfg. Co. He’s not getting his hopes up, though, as he continues with a few more thoughts on what he'd like to hear, including a “workable budget” showing “fiscal conservatism and a strategy to pay the national debt.” And, “incentive programs to grow U.S. manufacturing and build competitiveness would be nice, too.
Less regulation, says Larry Mocha, president of Air Power Systems, who takes issue with the current administration’s rules and regulations”that see business people as the bad guy.”
"Immigration reform is a topic that no one wants to talk about," says Madelyn Alfano, owner and president of Maria's Italian Kitchen. She would like to hear Obama discuss ways to support immigrants who request work permits or visas.
“Where are the highly skilled workers going to come from to fill engineering and other high skilled tech jobs?" asks Ronald Barnes, chairman of Midwest BankCentre. "How are we going to compete with the highly educated, emerging work forces in China, India, Brazil, etc? The medium- and long-term implications are serious.”
Oil and gasoline prices need to be addressed, says David Greiner, owner of Greiner Buick GMC, who calls the issue “ the single largest inhibitor to the recovery and the social mobility of the poor and middle class. What I hope and need to hear is that the US will no longer suffer from inflated oil and gasoline prices and that the White House stands prepared to take any and all action necessary to rectify this issue."
Marc Schupan, president, Schupan and Sons, would like to her Obama say his health care policy will be re-examined by a bi-partisan committee. "Their review could recommend keeping the best and eliminating the worst provisions. This would be a great opportunity for compromise," he notes. He also wants to hear "a major tribute to our troops and meaningful incentives to hire veterans."
Mitch Free, chairman of MFG.com, asks about help for small manufacturing companies. “The health of small manufacturing companies ("job shops") in America are critical to job creation as well as national defense. Is there a plan to take the enormous spend from the department of defense on manufactured items to support the war fighter and spread it out among the industrial base to shore it up?”
Well, we’ll find out tonight. Until then, are there any other small business owners out there that have an issue they hope will be addressed during tonight’s speech? Post your comments, and we’ll report back on what issues the President does address.