Although I try not to talk politics, there are times when it can’t be ignored. GAWDA members, like all business owners, are paying close attention to the upcoming Presidential election. One distributor told me last week that he was looking forward to November. And of course, the Supreme Court’s recent decision on the health care law has only heightened the discussion of how the elections will impact businesses.
Paychex recently published its list of the issues that are of greatest importance to small business owners as we hurdle toward Election Day. “As campaigns for elected office intensify between now and November, it is important that the issues small business owners care about are included as part of the national debate,” said Martin Mucci, Paychex president and CEO. Here are their top five issues in order:
1. Taxes: Provisions that could impact small businesses include: the continued viability of business structures (such as S-corps) largely intended to provide insulation from certain types of tax; the possible scaling back (or conversely, creation) of certain tax breaks targeted specifically to businesses; the ongoing potential for increased unemployment tax burdens on businesses; and the general question of whether the basic federal business tax rate should be adjusted.
2. Overall Regulatory Burden: In addition to taxes, the existence of a “business-friendly” environment, also referred to as freedom from undue regulatory burden, is usually seen as a primary factor in a small business owner’s appetite for expanding and/or investing in his or her business.
3. Employment Regulations: Worker-focused regulations include an increase to the federal minimum wage, the creation of additional “protected” categories during the hiring process, steps to ease the formation of labor unions, and other items which might not garner broad support from the business community.
4. Immigration: A key focus of the immigration debate will likely be the extent businesses should play a role in managing and enforcing immigration policy through hiring practices.
5. Retirement Security: There is growing concern over the inadequacy of retirement savings for many Americans and the possible role that some think employers could play in a mandated solution such as an Auto IRA program or other similar option.
While taxes are always an issue, the one item that really stood out to me was the overall regulatory burden. This is something about which I’ve held many conversations with GAWDA members. In the gases and welding environment, there are many regulatory bodies that distributors must pay attention to, including DOT (and its FMCSA and PHMSA administrations), FDA, OSHA, EPA and so forth. Thank goodness for GAWDA’s consultants to help make sense of it all!
What is the top issue in the upcoming elections as far as your business is concerned?