“If I started Subway today, Subway would not exist.”

Fred Deluca, founder of Subway restaurants, made this statement on CNBC this week and caused a shudder throughout America.  Some because they love those tasty sandwiches, but most because it is such a sad statement on where our country is headed.

When an iconic and wildly successful franchisor say he wouldn’t exist today because of “harsh” government regulation it ought to make politicians everywhere stop in their tracks. 

When will Congress and legislators in my state – Illinois – figure it out?  Government overregulation and overreach is killing our small business community and therefore killing our economy.

NFIB has done extensive research of our small business members for decades.  Every four years, since 1982, NFIB has issued “Small Business Problems & Priorities.” So I looked at the top 5 small business concerns in 1986 compared to our 2012 results and frankly it echoes Mr. Deluca’s comments.

Below is a comparison of top small business issues in 1982 and 2012:  

1982                                                                2012

1.         Interest Rates                                                  Cost of Health Care

2.         Cost of Liability Insurance                             Uncertainty over Economic Conditions

3.         Cost of Natural Gas, Fuel                               Cost of Natural Gas, Fuel

4.         Telephone Rates                                              Uncertainty over Govt. Actions

5.         Cash Flow                                                       Unreasonable Govt. Regulations

6.         Cost of P&C Insurance                                   Fed. Taxes on Business Income

Isn’t it interesting that in 1986 only two were related to government (interest rates and gas/fuel).  Yet in 2012 you could argue all 6 of the issues are related to government’s direct or indirect action. 

Unfortunately there seems to be little relief in sight.  Once fully implemented, Obamacare will be devastating to small businesses and their ability to keep and afford their current health insurance. Small businesses also face an annual regulatory cost of $10,585 per employee to comply with just federal regulations. Under just the Obama Administration 6,125 regulations and notices – an average of 68 a day – were posted over a 90 day period. In 2012, the EPA’s paperwork, alone, took 176.2 million hours and $2.4 billion –a 30 million hour increase in the past 4 years.

I could go on and on ….

The government creep over the last 26 years has clearly led to many of the problems facing small business owners today.  Mr. Deluca’s short but potent comment should really be a wakeup call to all elected officials —  government is not the answer but the problem.

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About Kim Maisch

NFIB/Illinois State Director Kim Clarke Maisch is the state director in Illinois. NFIB has the distinct honor of representing 11,000 small-business owners in Illinois and continues to put their agenda front and center before the Illinois General Assembly. Before joining the NFIB team, Maisch was the director of communications for Illinois Comptroller Loleta Didrickson and press secretary to U.S. Congressman Jerry Weller. Her legislative background also includes working for the Illinois House Republican staff as a member of the press staff. Maisch has a bachelor's degree from Southern Illinois University and a master's degree from the University of Illinois at Springfield. As state director, the majority of her time is spent educating state lawmakers on the problems and priorities that small business owners face in Illinois. Current key legislative issues include the high cost of health care, workplace mandates such as raising the minimum wage and fighting to keep the government bureaucrats from raiding the unemployment insurance trust fund for expanding paid benefits. Maisch also helps small business owners through the massive web of red tape known as state government and often serves as a liaison between the employer and the agency. @KimMaisch
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