Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Small Business Gets Its Say on Politics; Economy Is Top Issue; Many See Corruption, Ethics as No. 2

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Small Business Gets Its Say on Politics; Economy Is Top Issue; Many See Corruption, Ethics as No. 2

Article excerpt

Byline: Drew Dixon

As a Jacksonville small business owner, Cynthia Powell is watching the presidential election closely.

The musician and music instructor has about 20 customers and often teaches high school bands. Her individual students often have to travel far across Jacksonville to get to her Mandarin home so gas prices can affect revenue when students choose not to travel. She's also concerned about the amount of taxes she has to pay.

"Money needs to be left in the hands of the people who earn it so they can pursue their own interests," Powell said. "I'm for the least government intervention as possible."

And Powell expressed that view in a recent George Washington University-Thumbtack.com poll of 6,000 small businesses nationwide. There were 518 business owners in Florida and 53 from the Jacksonville area that were tapped for their views on the issues that were most important to them in the race for president.

The largest issue of concern was the economy and jobs. But the feedback in the survey conducted in August and tabulated in September shows small business owners are keenly aware of deeper issues

Sander Daniels, co-founder of Thumbtack.com, a national small business Internet networking site, said the most important issue beyond the economy in the Jacksonville small business sampling was ethics and corruption in government: 15 percent of respondents ranked that highest. The most important economic issue beyond unemployment saw a tie between health care, taxes and the federal budget deficit all ranking at 15 percent.

Tax rates and regulations ranked the most important issue relating to the success of a business; gas prices ranked as the most burdensome to the cost of business.

Daniels said beyond the obvious concerns over the economy, the small business owners who earned mostly between $30,000 to $70,000 a year and had about a half dozen employees feared government treats some businesses differently.

"What we heard was that they almost have the suspicion that the political system is rigged or in favor of big business and against small business," Sanders said. "I think, in part, it's because they see the influence of so much money in politics. …

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