Saturday May 18, 2013
Local Comment on Today's SBETSalem-News.com
Slight bump in national economic optimism masks deeper worries in Oregon.
(SALEM) - Keep the corks firmly in those champagne bottles, especially here in Oregon, where you can also keep the foil wrapped tightly around them. So was the reaction today by the state director for the National Federation of Independent Business, whose monthly Small Business Economic Trends (SBET) report showed a slight uptick in optimism from the people who generate almost every new job.
"Although it’s encouraging that the March SBET report rose 1.9 points, our Oregon members remain concerned about their economic future,” said Jan Meekcoms, Oregon state director for NFIB. “At 8.3 percent, our unemployment rate remains above the national average (7.7 percent) and above that of our neighbors, Washington state (7.5 percent) and Idaho (6.3 percent). Aggravating the economic outlook is the talk in Salem about balancing our state budget deficit with even higher taxes.”
For almost 40 years, NFIB’s SBET has been one of the nation’s bellwether economic barometers, used by Federal Reserve chairmen, Congress, and presidential administrations. Small business is no small matter, because Main Street enterprises employ the majority of working Americans and generate most new jobs—not big businesses, and certainly not big governments or labor unions.
“While the Fortune 500 are enjoying record high earnings, Main Street earnings remain depressed,” wrote NFIB chief economist William Dunkelberg on today’s news release about the SBET. “Three-quarters of small-business owners think that business conditions will be the same or worse in six months.”
In noting Oregon’s particular malaise, Meekcoms pointed to another NFIB Research Foundation study on the tax preferences of small-business owners, which was released last week. It showed that “arbitrary/inconsistent tax preferences, constant change, and complexity top the NFIB member list of complaints about the current federal tax code, and that NFIB members in the abstract strongly prefer a tax code with lower rates and fewer preferences.”
“Even though that study concentrated on the federal tax code, it’s not much of a logical leap to see the same frustration with a state tax code that boosted personal and corporate taxes and instituted a gross revenue tax through Measures 66 and 67 two years ago, only to discover that it’s still not enough money for Oregon,” said Meekcoms. “Add in the confusing compliance of Obamacare and other state and federal regulations, and you can understand why Oregon small-business owners have a don’t-hire, don’t-expand chill running down their spines."
Source: National Federation of Independent Business, the nation’s leading small-business association, with offices in Washington, D.C., and all 50 state capitals.
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