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Q. Who would be better for business, Romney or Obama?
A. We don’t take a position on any campaign. We have, generally speaking, been pleased with the Obama’s administration’s focus on some key issues that we think are important for small business, like getting the health care law passed. Like having a very robust clean energy focus and an economic plan. Like, the fact that he is focused on small business needs with various tax cuts, 18 that he cites, for small business. Generally, I think the Small Business Administration is functioning well today — but the SBA is not the solution for every small business owner.
To the extent that any candidate is taking a rigid ideological position on things, we don’t think that’s in the best interest of small business.
Q. From your vantage point, what are business owners’ biggest concerns?
A. Costs and the lack of customers always rank up there in the high 30 percent and 40 percent range. We ask them to name their top two concerns. Taxes and regulations are much less of a concern. Regulations have come in 13, 14, 16 percent. We’re not saying that small businesses don’t care about regulation, and obviously, some businesses care about them more than others. Small businesses are much more concerned about their customers and about having enough money flowing in the economy to buy their products and services.
Small businesses see themselves as a critical part of our economy that policy makers don’t recognize enough. They’re not interested in supporting old ways of doing business and they don’t see government as ipso fact good or bad. They see it as a necessary part of the economic fabric and they’re willing to make calls about whether it’s doing the right thing or not on a case-by-case basis.
Q. Do you miss having your own business?
A. I do miss sometimes being in the ebb and flow of the business. But I feel what we’re doing now is so exciting and so important. And in many ways, the principles I used to run my business I use to run this organization.
Joyce Rosenberg writes about small business for The Associated Press.
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