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Obama Administration Policies Fail to Address Small Business Concerns

August 22, 2012

Today, the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) Research Foundation issued Problems and Priorities, its quadrennial survey of problems and challenges facing small business owners.  The report highlights the failure of many Obama Administration policies to address the needs of small business.  Rising health care costs was first among the top 10 concerns facing small business owners, in part due to Democrats’ broken promise that their health care law would result in premium costs going down.  Uncertainty over economic conditions came in second as small business owners struggle to deal with the volatile state of the economy and the impending tax increases to come at the year’s end absent congressional action.  The majority of the remaining top 10 concerns among small business owners included a combination of federal, state and local tax issues.  The key excerpts from the report below highlight the challenges facing the small business community.
On Health Care Costs

“The ‘Cost of Health Insurance’ continues as the number one small-business problem, a position it has held for 25 years….The Administration’s highly touted small-business health insurance tax credit was one of the only efforts in the law to ease costs for offering small-business owners and attempt to lure non-offering firms to offer.  The measure largely failed in its objectives, again leaving small-business owners to find ways to ease the escalating cost burden or forgo offering completely.”

On Uncertainty over Government Action
“Almost equally challenging for small-business owners is ‘Uncertainty over Government Actions’ which ranks fourth and is critical for 35 percent.  In the last four years, the federal government approved legislation to overhaul the financial industry, the healthcare system and promote economic stimulus.  The upheaval in policy changes is immense and will continue as the regulatory system works to implement the laws’ directives.”
“Uncertainty also surrounds pending government action on the expiring Bush tax cuts, the debt ceiling and the federal budget.  All of these policy changes and those yet to be visited create a huge ‘question mark’ for small-business owners, impeding their ability to make short and long-term business decisions.”

On Taxes
“Tax-related issues continue to be significant problems for small-business owners.  Small business owners not only find current tax rates a burden but equally problematic are the complexity of tax compliance and the frequency of changes in tax laws.  The top 10 most severe problems for small-business owners are now populated with five tax-related small-business issues, one more than in 2008.”

“The most severely ranked tax problem in the top 10 is ‘Federal Taxes on Business Income’….Tax Complexity is the second most severe tax issue ranking seventh…”