On regulations, taxes and money in politics…"We're not like them"
Columbia, SC—A national poll shows the opinions of small business owners differ dramatically from the advocacy of big businesses and multinational corporations. The results of the national scientific poll were released over the past four weeks by the American Sustainable Business Council, Main Street Alliance and Small Business Majority. The poll was conducted by Lake Research Partners between December 8, 2011 and January 4, 2012.
"Many of the real opinions of small business owners are far different than what are portrayed by big business interests," said Frank Knapp, Jr., Vice Chair of the American Sustainable Business Council and President/CEO of the South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce.
"There are some real ‘man-bites-dog’ stories here that are particularly amazing since half of the respondents self-identified as either Republican or leaning Republican," said Knapp.
"Small business owners do not hate regulations,” said Knapp. “They support regulations ensuring clean air and water and those moving the country toward energy efficiency and clean energy. And regulations are not stopping hiring as we've been hearing—lack of consumer demand is doing that. In fact, small business owners view regulations as protecting them from big business."
“Small business owners also don’t agree with the big business mantra on taxation,” said Knapp. “They say that big businesses and multinational corporations use loopholes to avoid paying their fair share of taxes which harms small businesses. A majority of these owners also support higher tax rates on individual income over $1 million, even $250,000.”
“These opinions fly in the face of the rhetoric about not raising taxes on the wealthiest because they are the ‘job creators’”, said Knapp. “Small businesses are leading the job recovery in this country and they believe the wealthiest corporations and individuals are not paying their fair share of taxes.”
“On other issues small business owners share the public’s disgust with money in politics and disapprove of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision,” said Knapp. “Citizens United has unleashed massive amount of money from big corporations and millionaires and billionaires into political campaigns. Small businesses believed they have been harmed because of this.”
Below are details of the poll results:
- Small business owners see their top problem as weak customer demand, not regulations: 34 percent cited weak customer demand as the most important problem for their business, while only 14 percent named government regulations.
- On the question of what would do the most to create jobs, cutting regulations came in low on the list: the top response was eliminating incentives to move jobs overseas at 24 percent; reducing regulation was fifth at 10 percent.
- Small business owners see an important role for standards and safeguards: 78 percent believe some standards are important to protect small businesses from unfair competition, and 76 percent believe regulations on the books should be enforced.
- Small business owners see regulations as necessary for a modern economy: 93 percent agree their business can live with some regulation if it is fair, manageable and reasonable.
- Small business owners express strong support for specific rules and standards: 78 percent support rules to prevent health insurance companies from increasing rates excessively, 84 percent support food safety standards, 80 percent support product safety standards and 80 percent support disclosure and regulation of toxic materials.
- Small business owners support clean energy policies: 79 percent support ensuring clean air and water, and 61 percent support moving the country towards energy efficiency and clean energy.
- Small businesses believe in streamlining government processes: 73 percent of respondents believe we should allow for one-stop electronic filing of government paperwork.
- Nine out of ten small business owners say big corporations use loopholes to avoid taxes that small businesses have to pay: 92 percent say big corporations’ use of such loopholes is a problem. Three-quarters of owners say their small business is harmed when loopholes allow big corporations to avoid taxes.
- Nine out of ten small business owners say that U.S. multinational corporations’ use of accounting loopholes to shift their U.S. profits to their offshore subsidiaries to avoid taxes is a problem: 91 percent agree it is a problem, with 55 percent saying it’s a very serious problem. When asked what would do the most to create jobs, small business owners chose eliminating incentives to move jobs overseas.
- Small business owners say big corporations are not paying their fair share of taxes: 67 percent believe big corporations pay less than their fair share. An even bigger majority, 73 percent, says multinational corporations pay less than their fair share.
- Small business owners say millionaires pay less than their fair share in taxes: 58 percent say households whose annual income exceeds $1 million pay less than their fair share.
- Small business owners support a higher tax rate for individuals earning more than $1 million: 57 percent agree that individuals earning more than $1 million a year should pay a higher tax rate on the income over $1 million.
- Small business owners want to eliminate the “carried interest” loophole that gives hedge fund managers a big break on their taxes: 81 percent favor hedge fund managers paying taxes at the ordinary income tax rate, which currently tops out at 35 percent, rather than the 15 percent capital gains rate they pay now.
- Small business owners support ending upper-income tax cuts: 51 percent say Congress should let tax cuts on taxable household income over $250,000 a year expire (only 40 percent believe they should be extended).
- Respondents in this scientific national survey were politically diverse, with a majority Republican or independent-leaning Republican: 50 percent identified as Republican (27 percent) or independent-leaning Republican (23 percent); 32 percent as Democrat (14 percent) or independent-leaning Democratic (18 percent); and 15 percent as independent.
- Small business owners say Citizens United decision hurts small businesses: 66 percent of small business owners view Citizens United v. FEC decision as bad for small businesses; 88 percent hold negative view of money in politics overall.