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Small Business Owners Say Commonsense Regulations Needed to Ensure a Modern, Competitive Economy

Publisher: 
Small Business Majority
Date: 
Tuesday, 22 May, 2018

Federal regulations are commonly cited as one of the biggest issues hindering small business growth. New scientific opinion polling debunks this argument and sheds light on small business support for some level of regulation, including support for regulations placed on Wall Street and large financial institutions following the Great Recession.

The poll, conducted by Chesapeake Beach Consulting for Small Business Majority, revealed that majorities of small business owners feel some regulation is needed in a modern, competitive economy. Importantly, the vast majority of small business owners do not feel that current levels of business regulation are hindering their business. When asked to rank the biggest problem facing their business, the top concern cited is weak or uneven customer demand (20%). Just 6% of small businesses feel the level of state and local government regulation is their top concern, and 5% rank the level of federal government regulation as the top issue, ranking 7thand 8threspectively.

Some members of Congress and the Administration are promoting proposals to reduce financial regulations and oversight put in place after the Great Recession, including weakening the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act and undermining the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) ability to enforce regulations in the financial sector and administer punishment for violations against consumers. The poll found a strong majority of 59% of small business owners agree that federal regulation of Wall Street and the financial services industry, such as Dodd-Frank, is necessary to protect small businesseslike theirs

Further, the poll revealed the majority of small business owners (78%) believe some regulations are important to protect small businesses from unfair competition and to level the playing field with big business. Similarly, 82% agree that their business can live with some regulation if it is fair, manageable and reasonable

Key Findings

Small business owners believe regulation is needed in a modern economy: A vast 80% of small business owners agree that some regulation of business is needed for a modern economy. Nearly 4 in 10 (37%) strongly agree with this statement, while just 15% disagree.

Figure 1: Small business support business regulations for a modern economy

Some regulation of business is necessary for a modern economy

Small business owners view regulations as a relatively small problem facing their business: When asked to rank the biggest problem facing their business, the top concern cited is weak or uneven customer demand (20%), with the costs of healthcare and other benefits and competition from larger companies coming in second and third on the list. The level of state and local government regulation (6%) and the level of federal government regulation (5%) rank 7thand 8thon the list, respectively.

Small business owners support regulations on the banking industry: Nearly 3 in 5 (59%) small business owners agree that federal regulation of Wall Street and the financial services industry, such as the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act, is necessary to protect small businesses like theirs. What’s more, 3 in 4 small business owners support the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which oversees mortgages, credit cards and other consumer financial products and services. Half of small business owners also oppose financial speculation by Wall Street and banks.

Figure 2: Small businesses feel financial regulations necessary to protect their businesses

Federal regulation of Wall Street and the financial services industry, such as the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act, is necessary to protect small businesses like mine

Some business regulation is needed to promote fairness and competition: More than 3 in 4 small business owners (78%) agree that some regulations are important to protect small businesses from unfair competition and to level the playing field with big businesses. What’s more, an overwhelming majority of 82% agree that their business can live with some regulation if it is fair, manageable and reasonable

Figure 3: Some regulations important to protect small business from unfair competition

Some regulations are important to protect small businesses from unfair competition and to level the playing field with big business

Respondents are politically diverse: 45% of respondents identify as Republican or Republican-leaning independents, 39% are Democrat or Democrat-leaning independents and 15% are pure independent.

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