Voices of Main Street 2015

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1163 business owners were surveyed through one on one interviews in nine states. This diverse group of businesses was surveyed in both rural and urban settings on issues including; Tax Fairness, Paid Sick Days, Paid Family Leave, Minimum Wage, and Economic Development Incentives. Business sizes vary from 1 to 100+ employees, with the majority below 25 employees.  

Key findings:

THE ECONOMY & TAXES

  • Increasing consumer demand is what is needed most to create more jobs and get the economy back on track. Most small business owners report that more customers will help them to create more jobs, not having lower taxes or fewer regulations.
  • Big corporations should pay more taxes. They strongly support closing corporate tax loopholes. The majority of respondents said big corporations are paying less than their fair share of taxes. A strong majority responded that corporate tax loopholes are hurting their businesses and see closing corporate tax loopholes as a necessary revenue-raising opportunity, to be prioritized before making further budget cuts.
  • Economic development incentives aren’t working for small businesses. Most small business owners surveyed responded either that economic development incentives are giveaways to big business or that they had little to no knowledge or experience with them, with a vast majority never having accessed any.

"It is extremely difficult to compete with large corporations and their ability to dodge their tax responsibility is a huge reason for that." 
Maurice 
Rehming, O'Neill Electic, Portland, OR

JOB QUALITY & WORKPLACE ISSUES

  • Paid family leave. While a majority don’t currently offer paid family leave, most small business owners surveyed support a national paid family and medical leave program.
  • Earned paid sick days. While just over half don’t currently offer earned paid sick days to their employees, a majority of small business owners surveyed support a national earned paid sick days policy, like the Healthy Families Act.
  • Raising the minimum wage. An overwhelming majority believe that anyone working full-time deserves to be out of poverty.

"We support a plan for workers that provides at least a minimum standard of paid time off so that everyone can balance work, family, and their health."
Randy George, Red Hen Baking Co., Middlesex, VT

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