SOTU: Small Biz Takeaways

January 13, 2016

pic-senate-floorOn Jan. 12, 2016, President Barack Obama delivered his final State of the Union Address which covered many of the long-term challenges the nation faces, rather than a laundry-list of legislative proposals. While there wasn’t excessive mentions of small-business issues, he did cover topics ranging from regulations to the Affordable Care Act to the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). Of particular note, and a welcome comment in the speech, was  Obama’s call for a greater voice for small business owners and start-ups in addressing our nation’s long-term challenges.

As has become an annual event, NSBA held it’s day-after Issue Briefing call on the State of the Union Address where leadership provided insight and analysis on the speech, as well as outlined what’s expected in the coming year. You can download the 30-minute podcast of that call here.

Below is a statement from NSBA President Todd McCracken on the address:

“I applaud the President’s call for policymakers to work together through ‘rational, constructive debates.’ The frustration felt by small business owners as they see—and feel—the dysfunction in Washington is palpable.  Small businesses continually tell me that the way Congress operates is no way to run a business, or a country for that matter. We applaud the President’s call for changes to our politics, to allow our country to move forward on the big issues that confront us. Political reform and compromise ought to rank higher than the next election.

“While the economy is certainly better today than it was 5 years ago, much more needs to be done. Small-business start-up rates continue to lag, job growth at small firms is stubbornly stagnant, and complexity continues to bog-down our nation’s entrepreneurs when it comes to taxes and health care.

“I welcome President Obama’s call to Congress to approve the Trans Pacific Partnership, which will be particularly helpful for small firms looking to start and grow their export operations.

“President Obama touted the Affordable Care Act tonight, however, just 41 percent of firms with five or fewer employees offer health benefits, down from 46 percent one year ago – less than half that of their counterparts with 20 or more employees . One-in-five small firms faced health insurance premium increases exceeding 20 percent at their most recent renewal – the U.S. health care problem is far from solved for small firms.

“Ironically, while the President admitted to outdated regulations that need to be changed, his administration is moving forward on overtime regulations that would be disastrous for small businesses. I would agree with his call that ‘…start-ups and small businesses need more of a voice, not less.’ And this would be a great place to start.”