New Poll Reveals Georgia Small Businesses Facing Significant Financial Setbacks a Year into the Pandemic
Latest survey by Small Business Majority highlights challenges small business owners have faced during the COVID-19 crisis, and their views on state policy solutions to support their businesses
(Atlanta, GA) — As the Georgia legislature considers a number of policies that would impact the small business community, a new opinion poll released today by Small Business Majority reveals the extent to which the COVID-19 crisis has pushed small businesses across the state to the brink, as well as their views on legislation that could boost their businesses.
The poll finds that 6 in 10 Georgia small businesses have been negatively affected by the pandemic, and the same number say their revenues declined last year compared to the previous year. Importantly, more than half of those whose revenue declined report it will take more than six months for their business revenues to return to pre-pandemic levels, and 7% say they will never fully recover.
Looking ahead to the next three months, Georgia small business owners anticipate they will be forced to take additional action to combat their financial hardships. Nearly 1 in 4 small business owners expect to adapt their business model, while 1 in 10 will permanently close their business and an additional 1 in 10 will close temporarily. What’s more, many small businesses expect they’ll be forced to reduce their workforce in some manner in the next few months, and 40% of small business owners anticipate supply chain disruptions.
As the state legislature considers a number of measures that would have a direct impact on small businesses and Georgia’s economy, the survey reveals one of the most popular legislative proposals among entrepreneurs is to expand Medicaid eligibility to people who make 138% of the federal poverty level. Georgia is one of just 14 states that has yet to expand its Medicaid program under the Affordable Care Act, and the poll shows that this is an issue of importance to small businesses, with 6 in 10 (59%) in support and 30% who strongly support the proposal.
"As an entrepreneur with preexisting conditions, I know how important it is to have healthcare, but affordable coverage is out of reach for me. I currently don't qualify for Medicaid, but at the same time I don't earn enough to purchase a plan on my own,” said Amy Bielawski, Owner of Hare-Brained Productions in Tucker, Georgia. “Expanding Medicaid in Georgia would benefit business owners like me by ensuring we can access the coverage we need to stay healthy and run our businesses, without sacrificing our bottom lines."
The poll also finds support for a number of additional policy proposals that are on the table, including the following:
- Nearly 6 in 10 (58%) small business owners support establishing a state Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) program for low-income employees and self-employed business owners, modeled on the federal EITC program.
- 56% support creating a statewide retirement program for employees of small businesses and the self-employed, to be funded entirely by employee contributions.
- Half of small businesses support creating a state paid family and medical leave insurance program to be funded by a payroll tax.
"Our survey shows that nearly a year into this economic crisis, small businesses still need policy solutions that will ease financial strains on their businesses and allow them to keep their doors open and their employees on payroll,” said Rachel Shanklin, Georgia Outreach Manager for Small Business Majority. “If lawmakers want Georgia to continue to be a great state to own and operate a business, they must keep the true needs of small businesses at the forefront as they consider measures that aim to strengthen Georgia’s economy.”
This statewide survey, conducted by Chesapeake Beach Consulting for Small Business Majority, represents the opinions of 300 small business owners in Georgia. For the full report, please visit: https://smallbusinessmajority.org/our-research/georgia-small-business-owners-continue-face-setbacks-pandemic-identify-policy-solutions-support-their-businesses
About Small Business Majority
Small Business Majority is a national small business organization that empowers America's diverse entrepreneurs to build a thriving and equitable economy. We engage our network of more than 80,000 small businesses and 1,000 business and community organizations to advocate for public policy solutions and deliver resources to entrepreneurs that promote equitable small business growth. Our deep connections with the small business community along with our scientific research enable us to educate the public about key issues impacting America’s entrepreneurs, with a special focus on advancing the smallest businesses and those facing systemic inequalities. Learn more about us on our website and follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.