NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Now that the election is over, small-business owners want change -- and they want it fast.
That message was loud and clear when many told TheStreet on Tuesday that they were voting for Republican Mitt Romney instead of President Barack Obama.
But, for better or worse, Obama has been re-elected by the country for a second term.
That means health-care reform is here to stay, taxes will likely increase, and a stalemate that has plagued Congress will stretch on unless the president can find a way for both sides to work together.
Small businesses are struggling, with many blaming Obama for over-regulation and under-funding.
In an October survey by Guidant Financial, Congressman Dave Reichert (R-WA) gave a picture of all that is needed to get small businesses growing: "It is absolutely a priority to simplify the tax code, get rid of government red tape and allow our businesses the freedom, flexibility and economic certainty to do what they do best: create, innovate and build."
Small-business owners and industry members shared with TheStreet what the president needs to do to win their favor.
Small Business Administration
"The economy is doing a little better, which helped Obama. Hopefully, he comes back wiser in the second term and tries to help small businesses," says Rohit Arora, CEO of Biz2Credit.com.
"Obama should focus on strengthening the existing small-business lending programs and SBA instead of creating new entities like Secretary of Business, etc., which will increase the bureaucratic red tape," Arora says.
"Accelerate creation of the state exchanges for insurance under the Affordable Care Act so we can start reaping the benefits of the pooled state-wide purchasing power and hold our rates down," says Keith Camhi, co-founder and CEO of Great Play, an 11-unit franchise of children's fitness establishments. "Health-insurance costs have been the fastest-growing expense line in our business, and these exchanges promise to be very helpful for that."
"The one thing I would ask President Obama is whether or not he will allow the Bush tax cuts to continue. The lower rates afforded by the cuts allow for money that would not be available to be invested in infrastructure, new employees and research and development. I understand the sunset provisions, but the president has it in his power -- as does Congress -- to extend them or, better yet, make them permanent," says Marc Spector, a principal at Spector Group, an architecture and design firm in New York.
Nick Balletta, CEO of TalkPoint, a global technology firm specializing in audio and video webcasting, echoes that. "Extend all the tax cuts that are currently in place permanently," he says.
"Expand small-business tax deductions for health care and hiring new employees to businesses with more than 25 workers," Noah Breslow, CEO of small-business lender On Deck Capital.
"Address the fiscal cliff and the issues specifically that make up the cliff with a long-term plan versus a 'kick the can down the road' approach. Putting off the tough decisions got us in this position. They need to be tackled now," says David Lewis, president and CEO of OperationsInc, a human-resources outsourcing and consulting business with 35 employees. "As a business owner who services hundreds of other small businesses, I need to see decisions that have long-term impact. My clients feel the same way."
"How will the president protect federal contracting opportunities for small businesses? I recently became certified and look to these opportunities as additional revenue streams, which are especially needed and necessary as the economy slowly recovers from the recession. If sequestration occurs, there will be over $100 billion in cuts made starting in January that will impact potential contracting opportunities," says Jennefer Witter, founder of The Boreland Group, a public-relations firm with offices in New York and Washington.
-- Written by Laurie Kulikowski in New York.
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