As the mercurial and punctually-challenged front man Axl Rose of Guns N Roses famously sang on the 1987 classic “Sweet Child of Mine,” where do we go now? Well that’s the question a lot of business owners are asking after Tuesday’s election results. Obamacare, the fiscal cliff, tax reform, the deficit, entitlements, a flood of new regulations, the Big Labor agenda are all front and center on the mind of Georgia’s small business owners as we digest the election results.
While Democrats picked up seats in the House and Senate, and President Obama secured a second term, the partisan divide of our federal government remains unchanged with the Democrats controlling the White House and Senate and the GOP maintaining control of the US House. If the last two years are any indication of what to expect for the next two years then please keep your expectations at a minimum. Gridlock has prevented much of anything happening in Congress with both sides having dug in for trench warfare. Will that change? Is small business better off when Congress doesn’t act? Let’s look at some key issues of importance to the small business sector:
- Front and center is the so-called “Fiscal Cliff” which will have a devastating effect on small business and the economy unless some kind of agreement is reached. Important to small business is the number of tax cuts and exemptions set to expire leading to roughly $500 billion in tax increases, all while our economy wheezes along on life support. Bottom line for small business: legislative action is required to avoid a massive tax increase.
- And on the note of tax increases, how about the record deficit, the fact our budget deficits have eclipsed $1 trillion each year President Obama has been in office and the likelihood that Congress will have to revisit raising the US debt limit? Again. And the cause for concern here for small business is that when the bill comes due, its America’s job creators, under the guise of a class warfare “tax the rich” hyperbole will be the ones footing the bill through a myriad of tax increases, most certainly when it comes to personal income rates.
- The oncoming tsunami of regulations – its’ happening folks. 4,100 regulations in the pipeline at present with an estimated cost of $500 billion. The EPA alone has over 300 new rules and regulations aimed at the small business sector and energy producers that will add cost and expense at a time the American economy is vulnerable.
- The Big Labor Agenda – Did you know that private sector labor union membership has been on the decline for decades? In a move of desperation, big labor has now for years been pursuing a series of legislative and regulatory changes to make it easier to force unions on small businesses. Having spent, per a recent Wall Street Journal study, $4.4 billion on lobbying and elections over the last 6 years, big labor will no doubt be pursuing an aggressive agenda including things like: card check, ambush elections, family medical leave expansion, mandatory paid sick leave, more increases in the minimum wage, and a host of other anti-small business provisions.
So what happens now? Well the hope from the small business sector is that the Congress will get together with President Obama and come up with a bi-partisan fix to avoid the fiscal cliff that doesn’t increase taxes on job creators. We’ll see. As for the other items mentioned you can probably look to the next Congress to debate many of these issues and for the Obama Administration to use all of its power to implement what Congress doesn’t tackle via executive order or agency rulemaking.
However NFIB will continue to fight against misguided proposals in Congress or from the Administration and the upcoming debates will give small business owners a tremendous platform to tell their stories and educate the voting public on the importance of small business and all the great things America’s job creators do for this great country.
Please note this is my first blog entry. I look forward to waxing poetic on both Georgia and national issues of importance to the small business community. Thanks for reading! – Kyle