Each year, NFIB/CA sends out ballots to our nearly 24,000 members across the state to determine their positions on the issues we see coming down the line in Sacramento. Over the years, our members’ responses to these questions have directed us in taking policy positions on the issues that affect them: minimum wage, Prop 65 reform, independent contractors, paid sick leave, and a sales tax on services, to name a few. It is one of the many things that makes NFIB unique – we develop our positions on policy proposals in Sacramento not based on what a few backroom board members think – but on how the majority of our members feel.
This year’s results, while not surprising to those of us who work with the business community, should be a wake-up call to those in Sacramento who think that they know what business needs.
One issue that has been a recent subject of debate in the Capitol is the concept of lowering the threshold for local government to raise taxes from two-thirds to 55%. NFIB asked if our members supported lowering this requirement, and more than 90% indicated that it should remain at two-thirds. What many politicians don’t realize is the cumulative effect increasing taxes has on your average small employer. Not only are mom-and-pop owners grappling with the damaging impact of the tax increases contained in Prop. 30 since 2012, they’re also slammed with a wall of increased costs associated with the “Affordable” Care Act. Add that to the many local jurisdictions (counties, cities, special districts, school districts, just to name a few) that have already been able to reach the two-thirds level to pass tax increases – so why the need to lower the requirement? This proves that the two-thirds requirement has proven a fair and reasonable process and does not beckon change – and legislation moving through the Capitol in the form of ACA 8, would prove both unnecessary and devastating.
Another issue that has been on the minds of those in Sacramento is the Unemployment Insurance (UI) Fund. The fund is currently underfunded and California owes the federal government almost $11 billion, which we borrowed to pay for the costs of our overwhelmed UI program. NFIB asked our members if we should support efforts to pay off the UI debts by issuing bonds back by business – 69% said no. When asked if California should increase tax withholdings from employers to ensure that the UI fund remains solvent, a resounding 89% said no. At the end of the day, what small business owners want is a pathway to prosperity and job creation, and not to be treated by politicians like an ATM. It is time for government to live within its means and not rely on small business owners to pay off its debts.
So what do these results tell us? They tell us that small business owners are tired of being saddled with the debt that was created by out-of-control government spending. Small business owners can and should be the backbone of our economy, but with the way Sacramento thinks, many are being saddled with so much debt that they can’t create jobs. There are many polls and surveys that come out each year, but perhaps this ballot – truly the Voice of Small Business – is one that should be taken to heart.
For more than 70 years, the National Federation of Independent Business has been the Voice of Small Business, taking the message from Main Street to the halls of Congress and all 50 state legislatures. NFIB annually surveys its members on state and federal issues vital to their survival as America’s economic engine and biggest creator of jobs. NFIB’s educational mission is to remind policymakers that small businesses are not smaller versions of bigger businesses; they have very different challenges and priorities. Learn more at www.NFIB.com/ca.