The stakes for small businesses are high this November

150 150 John Kabateck

California small businesses have been and will always be critical to California’s success. Three quarters of all new jobs are created by small business owners, and the majority of businesses in California are small businesses. They create jobs and support their communities every day.

Small business owners want an environment in which they can grow and succeed based on their own effort and talent, rather than have to close their doors because of a hostile business environment created by government. What is critical to California’s recovery is the confidence of small business owners. What small business owners are looking for are increased sales and a confidence that California will be a better place to grow or start a business.

In less than a week, small business owners around the country will go to the polls. The political clout of small business is more influential than most people know:

In April, the Pew Research Center released a study on the negative and positive views people hold on various American institutions. Small business came out first, 39 percentage points higher than labor unions, 46 points higher than large corporations, and 49 points higher than banks and financial institutions.

  • Small business owners comprise 15 percent of all registered voters in the U.S.; by comparison, union voters make up 11.9 percent. When small business employees are added, the small business voting bloc swells to 43 percent.
  • The most common public affairs and political activities in which small employers engage, according to the NFIB Research Foundation, include initiating discussions with employees regarding the impact of a policy issue on the firm.
  • Voters prefer candidates supported by small business by a margin of 3 to 1 over those supported by organized labor, according to the Winston Group.

So what outcome do small business owners hope for on November 2nd?

First, small employers among NFIB/CA members want the election of a governor who understands what it means to run a business. A plan to restore an environment of job creation in California and get government out of the way of business is critical to our recovery.

Second, small business owners want fair districts for congressional representatives that give voters the power to choose their representatives rather than the reverse. Supporting Proposition 20 will help us hold all of our politicians accountable and make it easier to vote them out when they don’t do their jobs. Prop 20 will extend voter-approved election reforms so that an independent Citizens Redistricting Commission, instead of Sacramento politicians, will draw congressional districts. The Commission, approved by voters in 2008, is already tasked with drawing fair legislative and assembly districts in a completely transparent process.

Finally, business owners want responsible budgeting that protects Californians from hidden taxes or runaway spending. That is why NFIB’s small business owners oppose Proposition 25 and support Proposition 26. Prop 25 will make it easier for Sacramento politicians to raise our taxes and increase their expense accounts with a simple majority vote. It also contains ineffective accountability provisions that will do nothing to ensure an on-time budget. Prop 26, by contrast, would protect the people’s right to vote on local taxes. With increasing frequency, state and local governments disguise taxes as “fees” to avoid either a two-thirds vote at the state level or a vote of the people at the local level, both of which are required to approve taxes under the state Constitution. Prop 26 would close this loophole by clarifying the definition of taxes and fees, to stop politicians from imposing “hidden taxes” with majority-vote fees to justify their out-of-control spending.

At the end of the day, small business owners just want one thing – the ability to make their businesses grow and thrive – and for government to help and not hinder them in this process. This election is critical in giving them that.

NFIB is the nation’s leading small business association, with offices in Washington, D.C. and all 50 state capitals. Founded in 1943 as a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, NFIB gives small and independent business owners a voice in shaping the public policy issues that affect their business. NFIB’s powerful network of grassroots activists send their views directly to state and federal lawmakers through our unique member-only ballot, thus playing a critical role in supporting America’s free enterprise system. NFIB’s mission is to promote and protect the right of our members to own, operate and grow their businesses. More information about NFIB is available online at

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this blog by our guest elections columnists do not necessarily reflect the views of California Forward or our Leadership Council.


John Kabateck

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