Poll of Small Business Owners on Credit Access, Retirement, and Immigration and Tax Reform

In March, 2013 ASBC and the Main Street Alliance commissioned a poll of small business owners regarding their opinions on Immigration Reform and Corporate Tax Reform.

Key findings from the Access to Credit poll include:

  • Nine in ten (91%) small business owners support allowing community banks, cooperatives, and credit unions to more actively compete with commercial banks in servicing the financing needs of small business, two-thirds strongly. Support remained very high across party lines, with 87% Democratic (66% strongly), 89% Independent (65% strongly) and 92% Republican (68% strongly) small business owners in favor.
  • Six in ten (60%) small business owners believe that the problem of “too-big-to-fail” banks taking on excessive credit risks needs more attention from the government. Opinion differed by party with 81% Democratic, 61% Independent and 49% Republican small business owners saying the issue needs more attention.
  • Almost half (45%) of small business owners say that access to sufficient loans and credit at reasonable rates is at least somewhat of a problem. The largest majority was in the Northeast with 53% saying it is a problem. Of Western small business owners, 49% said it was a problem, and 44% Southern and 37% Midwestern small business owners said it was a problem.

Read the complete polling report

Key findings from the Retirement poll include:

  • Small business owners believe that a lack of retirement security hurts business and the overall economy. Seventy percent of small business owners believe that a lack of retirement security undermines confidence and willingness to spend among older Americans. Sixty-four percent of small business owners believe that lack of retirement security can hurt business and the economy by forcing the current generation of workers to devote time and money to the financial support of their aging parents.
  • However, only 33% of small business owners now offer a retirement plan. This finding confirms the lack of employer assistance in retirement security, especially among small businesses.
  • Small business owners perceive cost as the biggest barrier to offering a plan by more than 5 to 1 over other options. When asked about obstacles to offering a retirement plan, 63% choose “cost,” with 8% choosing “legal and regulatory requirements,” “concern about liability” or “other.” Six percent chose “complexity” as the main hurdle, and 6% “don’t know.”

Read the complete polling report

Key findings from the Immigration Reform poll include:

  • Two thirds of small business owners support a roadmap to citizenship for current immigrants, with support at two to one or more across party lines: 67% of small business owners support a roadmap to citizenship for immigrants currently living and working in the U.S., while 27% oppose it. Republican small business owners (62% support – 31% oppose), Democratic small business owners (82%-13%), and Independent small business owners (65%-29%) all support a roadmap to citizenship for current immigrants by margins of two to one or more.
  • Small business owners favor a roadmap to citizenship for future immigrants over a temporary worker program with no roadmap to citizenship by a margin of more than two to one: 61% of small business owners think the immigration process for future immigrants should include a roadmap to citizenship, compared to 27% who think it should be a temporary guest worker program with no roadmap to citizenship.

Read the complete polling report

Key findings from the Corporate Tax Reform poll include:

  • More than four out of five small business owners (85%) oppose a territorial tax system, which would permanently exempt offshore profits from U.S. taxation. Across party affiliation, 67% or more are strongly opposed to the proposal.
  •  76% of small business owners support closing overseas tax loopholes by implementing a unitary combined reporting system, which would limit the ability of corporations to avoid taxes by shifting profits offshore. A majority (55%) are strongly supportive.
  •  64% support ending deferral, a provision of current tax code that allows corporations to indefinitely defer payment of U.S. taxes on profits made or shifted offshore. Across parties at least 62% support this idea.

Read the complete polling report.

Poll results represent findings from a scientific national phone survey of 515 owners of small businesses (with 2 to 99 employees), commissioned by the American Sustainable Business Council and the Main Street Alliance and conducted by Lake Research Partners. The nationwide live phone survey was conducted between March 14-25, 2013. It has a margin of error of +/- 4.4%.


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