On the heels of a year that saw record optimism on both Main Street and Wall Street, President Donald Trump delivered his first State of the Union address Tuesday.
Small business owners and advocates were listening closely as Trump touted first-year successes, including overhauling the U.S. tax code and enacting a deregulatory agenda, both of which helped to boost confidence at American small businesses.
Tax reform, including a drop in both the corporate rate and a pass-through deduction, has been well-received by advocacy groups, which were largely supportive of the President's address.
The conservative National Federation of Independent Businesses reported that its monthly read on sentiment in the business community had its best yearly average ever in 2017, in part due to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and deregulation.
"Following the enactment of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, President Trump reiterated his commitment to growing the economy by reducing costly regulatory burdens that have been plaguing small business. 2017 displayed a historic level of optimism among small business owners, and that is a direct reflection of the positive small business policies enacted over the last year," Juanita Duggan, president and CEO of the NFIB, said in a statement.
That sentiment is echoed by entrepreneurs like Sean Falk, a franchisee of two Great American Cookie locations and one Pretzelmaker across Kentucky and Tennessee. Not only will the tax break help his employees and his business, he's anticipating that his customers will have more cash on hand and is hopeful that will boost his bottom line.
"I saw the effects of the tax changes in my employees' checks for 2018 and I can only imagine the sort of effect that will have on my customers as well," Falk said. "Trump has given us more confidence to raise wages and invest more in capital."