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Small Business Owners Speak Up: Obama or Romney?

Oct. 4, 2012
Small Business
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In the October 3 debates, Obama and Romney agreed on the importance of small businesses to the U.S. economy.  Obama said, “Mitt Romney and I both agree the corporate tax rate is too high.”  While both candidates said the words “small business” no less than 29 times, who do small business owners believe has their best interests at heart?

An August poll showed Romney easily beating Obama with small business owners with 61% of the vote—Obama only had 26%.  However, a more recent poll shows 47% of small business owners planning on voting for Obama, with only 39% throwing their support behind Romney.

A recent Gallup poll indicated that the majority of Americans believe that another Obama presidency would benefit minorities, low-income households and women while a Romney presidency would help investors and high-income Americans.  On the subject of small business owners, however, Americans were divided—exactly 47% believed small business owners would be better off under Obama and 47% believed they would be better off under Romney.

We asked small business owners to speak up: What are their biggest concerns in the upcoming election?  Who do they think would improve the situation for American job-creating small businesses?  Most small businesspeople that we spoke with believed Obama was a better champion of small business.  What do you think?

1. Small Business Lending

Vinod Gupta, CEO of EVEREST Group

“Lending has definitely dried up.  I wish they would expand the role of the SBA.   Obama would definitely do a better job of that.  Romney is a private equity guy, so his experience lies in outsourcing jobs and sending them overseas—that’s the private equity model.  Obama, however, has always tried to keep jobs in the USA, as evident with GM and Chrysler.”

Rohit Arora, Biz2Credit

“President Obama is a proponent of increasing lending by small banks and Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs). He is pushing to increase the maximum size of the Small Business Administration’s popular 7(a) loans from $2 million to $5 million to help small businesses invest in machinery, equipment, land, and buildings. He also wants to increase the size of SBA microloans from $35,000 to $50,000. President Obama plans tax cuts for small businesses to help them grow and create jobs. His plan will cut in half the taxes paid by businesses on their first $5 million in payroll. He also proposes tax credits to companies that hire long-term unemployed workers and veterans.

Overall, SBA lending has risen to record levels during the Obama Administration. There is no reason to believe he would not continue along the same path.”

2. Focusing on small business needs rather than big business needs

Anisha Bailey, AC Bailey Tax Solutions, LLC

“As an independent voter, I believe that Obama has more understanding and concern for the small business owner and the American people. I think sometimes we forget the term “small business” isn’t as small as some people may think and that “small businesses” make up the majority of businesses in the US.
Although Romney has yet to decide what his plan will be, I think it is clear that he has no concept of what small means, therefore the only interest he has and will always have is in big business.
In addition to their own efforts, many “small businesses” grow due to the support of government assistance, including tax breaks, contracts, grants, loans, food and daycare assistance, etc. and Obama knows that. Romney believes everyone built their business own their own without any help from outside sources, something that even the wealthy knows isn’t true.

Whether Romney wants to admit it or not, the reason he paid such a low % of his income to taxes is because of the tax laws this country has in place to allow him benefit, thus growing his wealth – something that we like to call government assistance.”

Rohit Arora, Biz2Credit

“Romney wants to make permanent the Research and Development tax credit that helps startups because they can offset taxes on future profits. This tax credit is for companies to hire more employees, especially those who specialize in R&D. In general, Republicans are for smaller government and less regulation. This benefits smaller businesses who feel the pinch from all restrictions on both the Federal and local level.”

3. Putting money in the hands of customers

Shel Horowitz, marketing consultant, speaker and author

“I have a very small business. Romney is so far skewed to the Fortune 100 and can be expected to completely ignore entrepreneurial businesses. Romney’s economics are skewed toward moving money out of my middle-class and working-class customers and into the hands of the already-rich. This does not help most small businesses, as it dries up our customers’ discretionary income.

Obama gets the Internet and the importance of tech-sector communications including net neutrality; Romney is clueless on this whole area. The Internet has made me an international business. I choose to make sure we have a president that supports these platforms.”

Ian Ippolito, vWorker

“My business was and still is adversely affected by the biggest financial calamity of this generation: the financial meltdown and great recession. Jobs are my #1 issue and Obama’s stimulus dug us out of the huge hole he inherited (from losing 900k jobs/month to creating 100k-200k/month). I wish congressional Republicans had allowed him to implement his entire plan. Romney’s policies are rehashes of the failed reduced-regulation and trickle down policies of yester-year. They got us into this mess in the first place.”