Poll: Small Business Owners Support Progressive Policies

September 22, 2013

By Stephen Michael

Small business owners are often perceived as anti-tax, anti-government programs and regulations, and against initiatives like healthcare reform. On August 19, 2013, the Main Street Alliance of Oregon released their most recent report, Voices of Main Street, which challenges conventional perceptions of rural small business owners’ thoughts on key policy issues. It details responding business owners’ views on economic, tax, immigration and health care issues facing Oregon and the nation.

As Congress embarks on a mission to investigate the corporate tax code and improve the way our country works, they have a clear opinions coming from small business. Small business owners feel corporations and the wealthy should pay more taxes, believe they and their local governments should support local banks and credit unions as opposed to Wall Street, feel our electoral system was damaged and small business were hurt by the Citizens United Supreme Court decision and would support an amendment to the constitution declaring corporations are not people and money is not speech.

As the debates continue over immigration policy in the U.S., small business owners believe Congress should act.  In Oregon, they strongly support comprehensive immigration reform with a clear pathway to citizenship.

When it comes to health care, small business owners are eager for more information but are lacking it right now. Here in Oregon, they support further healthcare reforms to guarantee universal health coverage, beyond the Affordable Care Act. Many are in support of a “single payer” or Medicare for All type of system.

Some key findings of Voices of Main Street:

  • On corporate taxes: 70% of small business owners surveyed feel large corporations are paying less than their fair share of taxes
  • On corporate tax loopholes: 81% of those surveyed support closing corporate tax loopholes to increase revenues over making further budget cuts
  • On immigration: 75% support comprehensive immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship for immigrants
  • On money in politics: 74% said the Citizens United decision was bad for small business and 68% support a constitutional amendment declaring corporations are not people and money is not speech
  • On banking: 85% support moving public funds and deposits out of Wall Street banks into local banks and 71% support the idea of a partnership bank that combines public deposits with private and grant funds to provide partnership loans for small businesses in Oregon
  • On health care: 61% support further healthcare reforms to guarantee universal health coverage, beyond the Affordable Care Act, like a “single-payer” or Medicare for All type system and although 80% were not aware of Cover Oregon, the new health insurance exchange coming on line in October, 69% wanted more information

Main Street Alliance of Oregon hopes lawmakers, the media and other decision makers will look closely at the results of this survey in planning public policy. We encourage them to listen and respond to the true voices of Main Street.Φ

Download the full Voices of Main Street report here. Listen to Monday, August 19th’s, Press Call with local business leaders here.

Stephen Michael is the director of MainStreet Alliance of Oregon. You can contact him at 831-428-3176, stephen@mainstreetalliance.org.

The Main Street Alliance of Oregon is a coalition of more than 1,400 small businesses across Oregon.  We work strategically to provide small businesses a voice on the most pressing public policy issues of our time. Our advocacy promotes vibrant businesses and healthy communities, and fosters leadership development of socially responsible business leaders.

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