Small Businesses Take to the Polls to Decide America's Future

BY: ON MONDAY, OCTOBER 29, 2012

Election Day is almost upon us. Early voting has already begun in many states. The months of conventions, debates, polls and “gamechangers” have brought us here. Now we have a race that's closer than anyone could have ever predicted, with both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney essentially tied in nearly all major national poll.

Americans and small businesses owners alike have been absolutely bombarded with a heavy arsenal of attack ads and spin from both parties. If you live in a swing state, you probably can't sit through dinner without getting a call from a pollster. Your mailbox is full to brim with fliers and brochures. You can breathe a sigh of relief because it's almost over, right?

Yes, November 6th couldn't come soon enough. Consider, however, just how important this election is for America and its small businesses.

Believe it or not, both candidates have strong support from members of the small business community. Likewise, both candidates have done their best to reach out to small business voters. President Obama has emphasized throughout his campaign that he and Mitt Romney represent two very different “choices” and “paths” for America's future. The fact remains this; some small business owners remain faithful to the President's path, meanwhile others feel that a change is necessary in the form of Mitt Romney.

Take away the candidates. Take away the campaigns. Take away the spin.

Consider the issues.

The Economy is What Matters

We've stated time and time again that the economy remains the single most important issue in this election to a large chunk of the country. This probably comes as no surprise to the average American; however, the question of how the country will truly get back to work is absolutely make-or-break for many of America's small businesses. The past four years have been shaky and the much=touted economic recovery is happening, slowly but surely. While some SMBs may be on the rise, others will argue that the “recovery” simply is not happening fast enough.

The Importance of the Small Business Vote

Many small business owners are disillusioned with both candidates and the election as a whole. And who can really blame them?

A recent survey by The Hartford reveals that 77% of 2000 small businesses surveyed believe that their taxes will jump in the coming year, which remains the reason why 67% of business owners have no plans to hire. Furthermore, only 33% of such businesses remain optimistic about the country's economic future versus 61% six months ago.

"The deterioration in the percentage of small-business owners who are optimistic as compared to six months ago is remarkable," says Liam McGee, CEO of The Hartford.

The survey also reveled that roughly 83% of voters will be looking at each candidate's small business policy when it comes time to cast their vote.

Perhaps you have made up your mind as a voter. Maybe you are still on the fence. You may even be completely undecided up until the moment you step into the booth.

What Issues Matter Most to Small Businesses?

Regardless of where you stand now, it's crucial for small business owners and workers to get out the vote, and furthermore, it's equally important the business owners understand the issues that will impact them the most. The big three for small businesses remain taxes, healthcare and regulations.

Taxes

Mitt Romney has stated his desire to extend tax breaks for Americans on every level, citing the notion that tax increases could have a negative impact on small business hiring. The Obama campaign remains adamant that the President has already cut taxes for small businesses on 18 occasions, meanwhile any tax increases that would be implemented would only impact the top 3% of SMBs. Romney has also expressed his intent to close “loopholes” in the current tax code in order to raise revenues, although the Democrats maintain their position that the math behind Romney's tax plan simply “doesn't add up.”

Healthcare

The Affordable Care Act remains an extremely heated topic among small businesses, with the National Federation of Independent Businesses stating that healthcare costs have been one of the small business community's top concerns for over three decades. There is much uncertainty surrounding the Act, with one side insisting that it will allow small businesses options when it comes to healthcare and the other side stating that it will bankrupt the country.

Healthcare reform as it stands would provide a tax break of up to 35% to small employers' contributions towards health insurance (which would increase to 50% in 2014); however, the number of businesses which have embraced this offer remains limited.

Romney has not been shy about his desire to repeal the Affordable Care Act, despite passing similar legislation while he was Governor of Massachusetts. Furthermore, there are a number of question marks concerning Romney's own plans for small business healthcare as few details have come to light. It appears that Romney is pushing harder to repeal “Obamacare” than he is push inghis own plan at this time.

Regulations

While both Obama and Romney have emphasized the importance of regulations, the Republican challenger has expressed his desire to eliminate a number of Obama's regulations which he believes are holding businesses back. Specifically, Romney wants to repeal Dodd-Frank and Wall Street reform, working under the impression that the repeal of such regulations would result in increased hiring.

It has been noted though, that the President was response for the JOBS Act and has worked with the SBA to eliminate red tape for small business lenders, attempting to make it easier for small businesses to borrow. We may also remember Obama's call within the past couple of years to review all existing rules and regulations for potential cuts, further stating his desire to increase job growth in the United States.

Which Candidate Will Work for My Small Business?

Both candidates have made their respective cases. Consider the past four years or even the past decade. Consider the future of America's small businesses. At the end of the day, it will be the small business owners who help shape the outcome of this election. Who will come out with the 270 electoral votes necessary to claim the White House once and for all? We're only days away from finding out.

About the Author

Brent Barnhart

Brent Barnhart is a freelance content writer specializing in topics such as Internet marketing and content marketing for small businesses. His goal is to help business owners find their voices online and improve their content strategies. You can reach Brent or find out more at brentwrites.com.

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