Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council (SBE Council) President & CEO Karen Kerrigan issued the following response to President Barack Obama's State of the Union address:
"Jobs and the economy are the top concerns for Americans, yet President Obama offered only vague statements about how he proposes to help job creators. For small business owners, the ‘fairness' that President Obama spoke about begins with addressing government costs and obstacles that are impeding their growth and ability to create jobs. Regulatory costs, rising health coverage costs, new burdens associated with ObamaCare, proposed workplace rules in the pipeline, the threat of new taxes, uncertainty regarding expiring tax rates and incentives, tough conditions for accessing capital and credit, and the exploding deficit are all weighing on entrepreneurs and small firms. It seems President Obama spent most of the evening defending the policy status quo rather than laying out a meaningful pro-growth agenda that will encourage investment and job creation.
"Remarkably, the President did not talk about health care. ObamaCare is collapsing, and just because it's unpopular with Americans does mean he should ignore the mess. The tax credits for small businesses are an abysmal failure, costs continue to spike higher, and the uninsured rate has now climbed to 17 percent according to Gallup. Once the new taxes and mandates kick in, costs will move even higher. More small businesses are preparing to drop coverage due to the forthcoming costs, burdens and penalties. ObamaCare is driving uncertainty for small business owners, and it remains a major impediment to job creation. The President has consistently said he is open to improving the new law, but little has been done thus far to make it better. Ignoring the new law's major flaws will not make them go away.
"It was distressing to hear the President talk about subsidizing his favored energy companies using our scarce tax dollars while just last week he rejected a true shovel-ready project that would have created 20,000 immediate jobs and 118,000 spin-off jobs using no tax dollars. Small businesses would have benefitted tremendously from Keystone XL - as vendors and suppliers in the energy industry, and as energy consumers. This remains a critical infrastructure project. Building out broadband also remains important to small businesses and their competitiveness, but his Administration sued to block the AT&T/T-Mobile merger which would have brought broadband to entrepreneurs who currently lack access. The merger would have created jobs, and provided work for small firms that are players in the telecommunications and technology industries. At a time when the U.S. needs to get its fiscal house in order, desperately needs jobs, and needs to promote reliable and affordable energy and broadband access, the blocking of multibillion dollar private-sector investment projects by the President makes no sense.
"Finally, the President is still talking about raising taxes on entrepreneurs and investors. Unfortunately, the economy will continue to limp along given this threat and the President's class warfare rhetoric which looks to be his central reelection theme. Nagging business owners into creating jobs, or badgering them to bring them home is not a reasonable strategy for job creation and sustained growth. Policy matters, and more importantly policies must be business friendly."
Karen Kerrigan, President & CEO