Government 'ignoring' smaller businesses: survey

by Bryan Salvage
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SAN DIEGO – Approximately 90% of Main Street companies have not directly benefited from government stimulus funds, yet they are being stretched even more through tax policy, healthcare legislation and government regulations, according to the Vistage International Q1 2010 CEO Confidence Index, which is touted as the nation’s largest and only comprehensive survey of U.S. small- and medium-sized business chief executive officers.

“There are signs of small business success in the ‘new normal’ economy”

According to the survey, 85% said they believe Washington is not listening to their needs. When asked which areas were of highest concern, 25% said business tax policy, 25% said healthcare legislation, 22% said government regulations, and 15% said availability of credit.

Eighty six percent of the 1,869 Vistage members surveyed are worried government may now cause them to do more with even less. They are leaning on increased employee productivity, web-based marketing and international opportunities to carry them through the emerging recovery. In the U.S., small- and medium-sized businesses create 75% of all new jobs and generate 50%of all revenue, according to sources.

“While economic confidence is on the rise, our nation’s c.e.o.’s are feeling the uphill battle,” says Rafael Pastor, chairman of the board and c.e.o. of Vistage International, a non-partisan and non-advocacy membership organization of nearly 10,000 c.e.o.s and senior executives in the U.S.. “The leaders of the engine of the American economy are simultaneously coping with reduced operational resources and increased government costs, and yet their confidence in the year ahead is on the upswing.”

Survey results show 49% of Vistage CEO members believe economic conditions in the U.S. will be better over the next 12 months than they are now, a three-point increase since last quarter and a 12-point increase from one year ago.

“There are signs of small business success in the ‘new normal’ economy,” says Dr. Richard Curtin, Ph.D., director of consumer surveys at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. “The correlation between this survey and the GDP show the predictions two quarters ahead.”

Although 69% of small business c.e.o.’s see China as the biggest threat to overtaking the U.S. as an economic superpower, 38% believe that three-to-five years from now entrepreneurship and business opportunities in the U.S. will be stronger than they are today.

The Vistage International Q1 2010 CEO Confidence Index is a compilation of responses from 1,869 c.e.o.s of small- and mid-sized companies in the U.S., surveyed between March 22 and April 2, 2010, with a margin of error of 1.7 percentage points.

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