Viewpoint: Election leaves business owner speculating on future

Monday, December 18, 2006

In the aftermath of the November elections, all of us are speculating our futures. Small business owners are no different. Small business is essential to the American way of life. According to NFIB (National Federation of Independent Business), 60 percent of all American workers are employed by small businesses and over 90 percent of all new jobs are created by small business. In southeast Missouri, small businesses are the lifeblood of our local economy with our small service companies, local retail shops, and hometown restaurants. Yet, there is a direct relationship with our success and what goes on in Washington, D.C. Complicated regulations cost small businesses nearly sixty percent more per employee than large firms typically pay.

The tax breaks in the Jobs and Economic Growth Bill of 2003 benefited both families and businesses. Historically, support of this type of pro-business legislation has followed political party lines. With the shift in Congress and the dramatic changes in committee chairmanships in the House, less business-friendly legislation may take center stage, such as minimum wage increases, mandatory paid sick time, FMLA extensions, and some health care issues. Tax relief, tort reform and reduction of regulatory burdens will most likely receive less attention. In addition, big corporations and labor unions spend millions of dollars to lobby locally and nationally for issues that can harm small business.

Top priorities for our small-business driven economy may go backstage, namely reasonable health care costs for employers and employees, unfair lawsuits, and excessive taxes. A free marketplace has allowed our economy to grow and prosper. Encouraging tax relief can help small businesses continue to be our country's top job creators. Many Democrats and Republicans alike ran on small-business issues. Hopefully, they will take action on campaign promises.

Kathy Swan, a Republican, owns JCS/Tel-Link in Cape Girardeau.

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