Scientific Opinion Poll: Va. Small Business Owners Say Government Doesn’t Understand Their Concerns, Need Help With Healthcare Costs and Other Challenges

For Immediate Release: 
Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Small businesses in Virginia support a range of policies to address their needs, some of which might come as a surprise to their government officials


Richmond, Va.— Policymakers at all levels use the problems small businesses face as a key talking point during political debates. But new opinion polling in Virginia reveals small business owners feel their government officials don’t fully understand their challenges, and they support a wide array of policies to address their needs.  

The survey, conducted by Chesapeake Beach Consulting on behalf of Small Business Majority found only 15% of Virginia small businesses feel their state and federal government officials have a strong understanding of their needs. The top three reasons why they feel government officials don’t understand them are: they are too influenced by special interests, they primarily care about larger businesses and they don’t take time to listen to or understand the views of business owners like them. 

One example of how government officials may have misunderstood the needs of small businesses is the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. While the new tax law was billed as a win for small firms, only 39% of Virginia respondents report that the law has had a positive impact on their business, compared to 51% who say it's had no effect or a negative impact on their business. 

Virginia small business owners identified several actions government could take to address the needs of small businesses like theirs. Respondents showed strong support for policies that would address healthcare affordability and access, including: 

  • Increasing federal subsidies that help make healthcare more affordable for people who make under 400% of the federal poverty level (less than $100,400 for a family of 4) (71% agree).  

  • Requiring all individuals to maintain a basic level of health insurance (70% agree). 

  • Allowing individuals to buy in to Medicare or Medicaid at no net cost to the government (74% agree).

“Our economy could reach new levels of growth if government officials incorporated the thoughts and concerns of real small businesses when they make policy decisions,” said Mo Johnson, owner of Better Display Cases in Stafford, Va. “Healthcare in particular is a problem because the cost can be too much for small business owners like me to afford, and that hurts our ability to attract and retain employees. When I lose great employees due to benefits, then I have a real problem on my hands. Officials absolutely need to address this issue.”

Additionally, 6 in 10 feel access to capital is a problem for small businesses, and they support legislation that would address predatory practices in small business lending by requiring certain disclosures in small business loan products (74% support).

“Small business owners in Virginia want policymakers to listen to them and understand their concerns, and then act on them,” said Small Business Majority Vice President, National Outreach David Chase. “If Virginia officials want to support the state’s job creators, they must address barriers to entrepreneurship and enact policies that will level the playing field for small businesses.”

This poll reflects an Internet survey of 100 small business owners with 1-100 employees in Virginia, as part of a larger sample of 400 small business owners in four states (Illinois, Missouri, Virginia and Wisconsin). 

For the full poll report, please visit:


About Small Business Majority

Small Business Majority was founded and is run by small business owners to ensure America’s entrepreneurs are a key part of a thriving and inclusive economy. We actively engage our network of more than 58,000 small business owners in support of public policy solutions and deliver information and resources to entrepreneurs that promote small business growth. Our extensive scientific polling, focus groups and economic research help us educate and inform policymakers, the media and other stakeholders about key issues impacting small businesses and freelancers. Learn more about us on our website and follow us on TwitterFacebook and Instagram.

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