Karen Kerrigan, President and CEO of the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council, appeared on Washington Journal (C-SPAN) on Wednesday, and she pointed to a critical influencer in the marketplace: uncertainty.
Kerrigan said small businesses would like to see Washington rein in regulations and they also want tax stability. “Every time this president talks about tax increases, he creates uncertainty,” she said.
For Kerrigan’s 100,000 member council and 250,000 small biz advocates, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act—“ObamaCare” on the street—is a particular worry.
Kerrigan said healthcare costs are becoming “quite unbearable for small business owners.” PPACA’s complexity introduces another element of uncertainty for entrepreneurs.
Kerrigan explained that a small business is defined by the government as any business with 500 employees or less. She said 90 percent of her members have 10 or less employees. Most small businesses have 100 or less employees.
When phone lines were opened, a business owner named Janice defended President Barack Obama who, she said, “has done the best he can with the Congress he has.”
Janice may have overlooked Democrats’ actual control of Congress after wins in the 2006 midterm. From that point until the 2010 midterm, Democrats had full control of both Congress and the White House. Obama and his party could and did implement whatever policy or legislation they wanted during that time.
Ahead of the Republican presidential debate on Wednesday, Kerrigan said she wants to hear specifics—“especially on the issue of entitlements.” She said there needs to be “political leadership on that issue.”
Kerrigan said the regulatory burden adds $10,000 in costs for small businesses. She said there are 4,200 regulations “moving through the system.”
Asked about Gov. Rick Perry, Kerrigan credited him for Texas’ strong business climate.
The 2010 Small Business Survival Index at SBE ranked Texas third, after South Dakota and Nevada.
Kerrigan said she thought Perry does have “crossover appeal for independents… but we haven’t done any polling.”
Aside from tax increases and regulatory burdens, Kerrigan agreed with one point made by a caller named Arnold who said access to growth capital is also “a major issue.”
After Democrats passed the Dodd-Frank bill, capital became less accessible.
During the interview, C-SPAN aired part of a campaign speech by former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. Commenting on President Barack Obama’s pending jobs speech scheduled for Thursday, Romney said, “I know what’s coming…I’ve seen versions 1,2,3,4,5.” Romney said Obama’s approach is a “pay phone strategy in a smart phone world.”
Kerrigan, who served on the bipartisan debt reduction task force, also said, “Washington knows best just doesn’t cut it in today’s world.”
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Additional Reading and Sources
Political Math Blog...Give up talk about Texas Jobs (Political Math Blog)
Small businesses form coalition... (National Conservative Examiner)
Washington Journal (C-SPAN)
(Filed by Kay B. Day/Sept. 7, 2011)
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