On April 23rd, the National Federation of Independent Business-California’s (NFIB) small business owners and friends will descend on Sacramento with one objective – to make sure that those in the State Legislature know what is important to small employers and what policies need to be put in place to make sure that they are able to create jobs and grow the economy.

And what are those priorities for small business owners?  In one word – CERTAINTY.  Certainty on taxes.  Certainty on regulations.  Certainty on what tomorrow, next week and next month might bring for their businesses.  Because when small business owners have confidence in the future, they can make plans to expand, hire staff and continue to be an integral part of the community they live in.

According to NFIB’s Small Business Optimism Index in March, small business optimism fell 1.3% last month after three consecutive months of growth, with plans to increase employment dropping by 4 points from the previous month. The bottom line is that small businesses in California still feel an enormous level of fear and uncertainty about what tomorrow may bring – the increased cost of doing business with the highest sales, income and gas taxes in the nation; an egregious regulatory climate; and scores of other burdens that have inhibited the ability of the local bookstore, auto shop, or dry cleaner to create more jobs and get more Californians working.

But NFIB’s Day at the Capitol on April 23 gives our members and every small business owner the opportunity to stand up and have their voice heard, their story told – and to hear from and discuss important issues affecting their small business livelihood from a bipartisan host of opinion leaders.

Attendees will hear from Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Kevin de Leon about last year’s workers’ compensation reforms that continue to save businesses money each month.  Assemblyman Dan Logue, who spearheaded the bipartisan business and legislative delegation to Texas a few years ago and is leading local hearings about government regulations, will talk about California’s ‘gotcha’ business climate – and how small business can play a role in making sure it is improved.  And Assemblymember Kristin Olsen will discuss ADA and lawsuit abuse, a continuing scourge on Main Street despite some key reforms that NFIB helped to achieve last year.

Perhaps the highlight of the day will be a panel discussion on the federal healthcare law and what small business owners need to know.  Panelists include Dr. Bob Graboyes with NFIB’s Research Foundation; Ruth Lopez Novodor, CEO of Beverly Oncology and Imaging; Patrick Johnston, President of the California Association of Health Plans; and David Panush with Covered California.  Dr. Richard Pan, a Member of the Assembly and physician by trade, will moderate the panel.

Guests will also have the privilege of hearing from the very entertaining but “on point” Senator Rod Wright – back for a “three peat” with our lobby day event –  about the need for continued regulatory reform for small businesses. Senator Wright was the author of NFIB-sponsored SB 1099, which the Governor signed last year and will require state government to post regulations on a quarterly basis so small businesses have predictability.

After the morning program, attendees will head to the Capitol to meet with their legislators and share their personal stories about dealing with regulations, increased taxes and other challenges of doing business in California.  We have also arranged for small business ‘office hours’ in the Capitol during the afternoon so members can ask Dr. Graboyes and our other health care experts questions about complying with the federal law, and also meet with leading officials from the Small Business Administration and Small Business Development Centers about federal and state small business resources they can take advantage of.

Now is the time for our members to be heard and involved. Small business can and will have that Big Voice – and next Tuesday is a golden opportunity to make sure that the critically important voice from Main Street is heard!