‘Imagine’ … small business united

About 70 million people work for small businesses. These people make up one-third of the entire population of U.S. voters. Those are numbers that can wield incredible influence in any election. Imagine what can happen if somehow small businesses and their employees could unite around a few key reforms.

In fact, regardless of polls, any candidate that can make his case in support of small businesses could walk away with the presidency on November 4.

Small business owners have suggested in recent surveys that the economy is their top concern, and 38% say economic policy will sway how they vote in November. Two-thirds of small business owners say they’ve been affected by the credit crunch. And they’re carefully listening to what the candidates are saying about taxes, health insurance and other key issues.

John McCain emphasizes lowering corporate taxes, making permanent the Bush tax cuts, and lowering the capital gains tax. Barack Obama would raise capital gains and income taxes on individuals making over $250,000, but would exempt small businesses from capital gains.

On health care, Sen. Obama provides tax credits to employers paying insurance premiums, but allows individuals who can’t afford insurance to buy a government plan. Sen. McCain establishes refundable health care credits for individuals to purchase their own insurance available across state lines.
Both candidates acknowledge the need for flexible workplaces so parents can balance family with work. For all their disagreements, this agreement could actually have tremendous positive implications for the future of the American workplace.

Small business is the economic engine that drives our country. Each year, small businesses create two-thirds of all new jobs, and contribute nearly half of the national GDP. Policy changes that help small business grow and prosper will help America grow.

In unity, there could be strength. Consider: The U. S. Chamber of Commerce has a membership of three million small businesses, with 3,000 state and local chambers, and 830 associations.

Contrary to their reputation assigned by national news media, chambers of commerce are not generally creatures of big business. In fact, 96% of chamber of commerce membership encompasses businesses with fewer than 100 employees. The National Federation of Independent Business, likewise, has a membership of 350,000.

Imagine what might happen if somehow small businesses and their employees could unite around a few key reforms. Specifically, the next president should work to eliminate the alternative minimum tax, lower corporate tax rates from 35% to 25% and eliminate the capital gains tax entirely. Those are the  types of policy changes that small business owners and employees will embrace.

To borrow a few lines: “You may think I’m dreaming, but I’m not the only one. I hope some day you’ll join us” — in support of America’s job-creating engine, the women and men in small businesses.

About the Author:
Terry Neese is a Distinguished Fellow at the National Center for Policy Analysis and is a small business owner.