Small business associations in California are discussing coming together to influence the coming legislative elections. Marty Keller, former Small Business Advocate for the state of California, has formed the Small Business Revolution, intended to be a PAC supporting candidates who will form a business friendly majority in the state legislature.

At a meeting held in North Hollywood yesterday, Keller suggested creating a Small Business Coordinating Council consisting of many of the state’s small business associations to help choose candidates that will support a business friendly agenda and receive PAC money.

Small business feels lost in the tug-of-war political battles in Sacramento, between big business and big labor. As one commentator said, while the term “organized labor” is often heard in these tussles, “organized business” does not exist.

Los Angeles activist and attorney, David Fleming, suggested that small business has the ability to be a force. He cited the Los Angeles Business Federation (BizFed) that he helped create. In Los Angeles, union membership is 500,000; BizFed membership is 1600. However, there are as many small businesses in LA County as union members. Fleming said the 95 business associations in the county accounted for 170,000 businesses with 2.6 million employees – a potential potent political force.

He said a similar situation exists statewide.

Bringing small businesses together to change the tone of the legislature on business issues will be a challenge for Keller. The interests of various business associations can differ.

Small business is not a monolithic group when facing certain issues. For example, while many small business organizations like the National Federation of Small Business opposed AB 32, the Global Warming Solutions Act, and the recent cap and trade requirements adopted by the Air Resources Board, the progressive Small Business Majority endorsed both measures.

Keller hopes small businesses will rally around certain issues to test candidates’ support for small business.

During Tuesday’s meeting, Keller sought consensus on various issues that the Small Business Revolution might ask candidates to support. Attendees agreed on measures such as eliminating the minimum state business tax, expanding small business access to alternative sources of capital and creating a process to review existing regulations.

Keller said he used the word “revolution” in his organization’s title because basic reforms are needed to create a business friendly environment. He said he would be willing to team up with big business to reach the organization’s goals of supporting candidates who are business friendly. “If Wells Fargo is willing to give to the Revolution, I ain’t going to turn it down,” Keller said.

MC for the event, Chuck Ashman, a former LA radio and TV personality who now is Executive Producer of Business Matchmaking, suggested a way for the group to make an impact right away is to focus on one of the biggest anti-business offenders in the legislature and take him or her out in the next election.

Keller believes the new organization can have such an impact as soon as the 2012 election.