Report: Inflation, Taxes, Economy Top Small Business Worries

National Write Your Congressman (NWYC), an organization advocating for small businesses in government, has published its Q1 2024 Index gauging sentiments of business owners and Congress. The index identifies inflation, immigration, taxes, and the broader U.S. economy as paramount concerns for enterprises in this election year. It underscores employment laws, environmental regulations, tax compliance, financial regulations, and healthcare regulations as primary legislative matters influencing operations of small businesses.

“As we enter a new presidential election year with a divided Congress, small business owners are concerned about how inflation is affecting their business costs and the impact of the election,” said NWYC President and COO Randy Ford. “Business leaders are still committed to communicating with their elected officials and know the importance their collective voice has on legislation impacting small business.”

Nearly 60 percent of business owners emphasized the need to regularly communicate with their Congressional representatives as key to having their concerns included in legislative decision-making. Among surveyed owners, 38 percent reached out to Congress members once a month, with a further 20 percent doing so weekly.

In terms of government relations, the trust in Congressional representatives among business owners has seen an increase since 2023. Forty-five percent of surveyed businesses declared they do not trust their congressman, marking a 20 percent increase in trust since 2020. More than half of the respondents in 2024 believed their thoughts on essential issues are well understood by their Congressional representative, just as they did four years prior.

The NWYC’s report reveals that top five worries for business owners at the beginning of 2024 included inflation, taxes, managing rising employee costs, finding skilled workers, and handling healthcare expenses. A significant 75 percent of businesses in the survey acknowledged that their company’s growth had slowed or stagnated, while the rest continued to progress. High-interest rates posed a challenge to 38 percent of business owners who found it unaffordable to take on loans. Moreover, 23 percent voiced concerns over their prospects of accessing capital in the ongoing year.

One of the participants, Arvada-based Optimum Systems International Inc., articulated the continuing instability within the supply chains. President Don Gosbee said, “Although the supply chain seems to be stabilizing, there are still a lot of holes and price inflation. This causes uncertainty of cost, and we have to requote every time a customer wants to place an order. We have seen lead times on some material increase to 26 weeks or, in some cases, a year or more.”

Source: Press Release