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Small Businesses Upbeat About Economy, Down On Congress

Despite widespread optimism about the economy, small business owners remain skeptical about Congress’ ability to address issues that concern them most, a new survey reveals.

Despite widespread optimism about the economy, small business owners remain skeptical about Congress’ ability to address issues that concern them most, a new survey reveals. The report from Endurance International Group showed that 66% of owners of companies that employ 10 people or fewer believe 2015 will be a better year economically than 2014. Buoyed by such belief, more than a quarter (27%) of owners said they intend to hire new employees, while 54% stated that they plan to make financial investments, such as developing new products, in their businesses.

The upbeat sentiments, however, did not extend to Congress. Nearly 70% believe that the new Congress will not be more effective in tackling challenges that are important to small businesses. Such pessimism may, in part, be an outgrowth of owners’ already pessimistic view of Congress’ abilities. The survey showed that 87% of owners feel that Congress has not been effective in addressing issues important to small businesses. Relatedly, 74% believe Congress should play a larger role in helping to grow small businesses.

“It's clear that our leaders in Washington need to keep small business at the top of their list of priorities when thinking about ways to create lasting economic growth,” said Hari Ravichandran, CEO and founder of Endurance.

Asked to rank key issues important to small businesses, survey respondents listed taxes as well as their ability to obtain bank financing as their top two concerns. On other key policy issues, 55% of survey respondents said tax code reform "impacts my business significantly." Survey respondents were mixed on the impact of health care reform, with 37% responding that it "impacts my business significantly," 36% responding "no impact" and 27% saying it "impacts my business in minor ways."

Endurance, which delivers cloud-based platform solutions for small and medium-sized businesses, conducted its survey of 850 U.S.-based small businesses from January 7 to January 15.