A majority of small business owners oppose nearly every aspect of President Barack Obama’s second-term agenda, according to a new survey.
The Lucas Group, an executive search firm that conducts quarterly surveys of small and mid-sized businesses, found that American entrepreneurs disagree with Obama on everything from the minimum wage to immigration reform and Obamacare.
Small businesses are responsible for the majority of new hiring in the United States, according to the Small Business Administration, but many entrepreneurs say that the Obama agenda threatens to derail expansion plans. They reported that the implementation of Obamacare and increased labor costs associated with rising healthcare costs is their most pressing concern in 2014.
"Business leaders consistently list health care costs as their company’s top challenge and many are concerned about the level of impact the law will have on their businesses," the Lucas Group said in a release. "One-third of those surveyed said the Affordable Care Act will have a ‘large impact’ on their companies, up from 25 percent in Q1. Another 58 percent report the ACA will have a lesser impact, while only nine percent of SMBs expect no business impact related to the health care law."
Many of those business owners reported that they had already prepared to take on those cost increases upon the full implementation of the employer mandate, which was supposed to go into effect this year. In February, the Obama administration unilaterally delayed the mandate to 2016.
While they may enjoy a brief reprieve in dealing with healthcare costs, business owners are wary of Obama’s latest pro-labor push: the 40 percent hike to the minimum wage. A majority of small businesses reported that Obama’s proposed $10.10 minimum wage "may create a variety of negative consequences for their businesses."
"One-quarter said they would raise prices to end consumers, while 44 percent suggested either workforce reductions and/or hiring freezes would result. Similar to last quarter, three percent report that a $10.10 federal minimum wage would drive them to close their doors," the report says.
Small business owners are even more adamant about their opposition to immigration reform. The White House and corporate interests, such as the Chamber of Commerce, have pressed for immediate action on a Senate bill that would put millions of illegal immigrants on a "path to citizenship." Nearly 60 percent of entrepreneurs said that they opposed immigration reform, though about half expressed support for skilled foreign workers.
"The survey registered its highest levels of anti-immigration reform sentiment among business leaders. Fifty-nine percent of those surveyed said they either disagree or disagree strongly that the United States should ease requirements for all immigrants. In the previous quarterly survey, 48 percent held a disagreeing view on overall immigration reform," the report says.
The group surveyed 400 small business owners over the summer and released its findings on Aug. 18. The Lucas Group’s survey could prove daunting for Democrats struggling to maintain control of the Senate in 2014.
"Small and mid-sized businesses often are a bellwether for what is happening economically and politically," said Scott Smith, chief marketing officer at Lucas Group.