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Do Any Of The 2016 Presidential Candidates Understand What Small Business Owners Need?

In a new survey, small business owners say the candidates are not addressing key health care and tax issues that directly affect them.

Do Any Of The 2016 Presidential Candidates Understand What Small Business Owners Need?
[Photo: Flickr user Max Goldberg]

The vast majority of U.S. businesses are small businesses—and many of the people who own and operate them believe the candidates in the 2016 presidential campaign are ignoring them.

A new survey conducted by the HR services platform TriNet found that nearly 90% of U.S. small business owners believe candidates on both party tickets are not making the needs of small business a top priority.

Forty-two percent of the 1,001 small business owners surveyed don't believe the 2016 presidential candidates understand how the country’s corporate tax rules impact small businesses.

One candidate, Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas), lists as a main platform plank a plan to impose a simple 10% flat tax on individual income. But only 45% of small business owners support the scheme, while 55% favor a progressive tax.

Forty-six percent don't believe the candidates, as a group, understand how minimum wage changes impact small businesses. Still, 62% of the business owners say they think a minimum wage increase would help their business.

Not surprisingly, 78% of small business owners say they're likely to vote for the candidate who would be best for their business. Only 22% said the candidate's party affiliation would be more important.

Almost half the 1,001 small business owners surveyed said they felt the candidates don't seem to understand the effects on small businesses of government regulations. Fifty-five percent of the entrepreneurs said the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare) in particular has hurt their businesses, and 81% said they want more help from the government to stay in compliance with ACA regulations.

" . . . we see firsthand the myriad of complex regulatory challenges that our clients have to navigate, while also maintaining focus on their core business objectives," TriNet CEO Burton Goldfield said in a statement. "If presidential candidates want the U.S. economy to flourish and want to win the vote of these important constituents, they need to better address the critical issues most important to small businesses."

The survey was conducted by Wakefield Research between October 21–29, 2015.

According to the Small Business Administration, U.S. small businesses employed about half or 56.1 million of the country's non-government workforce in 2012.

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