President Obama’s State of the Union Address Tuesday night touched on deficit reduction, tax and regulatory reform, exporting, and other issues of interest to small business owners.
But some entrepreneurs and small-business groups said that they believe the speech didn’t go far enough in citing specific solutions that can help spur growth and hiring, among other things.
The president highlighted the importance of small firms in the U.S. economy. He also emphasized the need to help them grow and hire in the U.S., through tax reform and regulatory reform. But he stopped short of listing the small-business tax provisions and regulatory challenges he hoped to change.
Small-business owners didn’t get anywhere near the level of attention that they received in his State of the Union address two years ago. Then, Mr. Obama mentioned small businesses more than a dozen times. He also called on Congress to craft several pieces of legislation that directly impact small businesses, a few of which were later signed into law.
Leading up to this year’s address, Mitch Marrow, founder of SPOT Group LLC, a New York doggie day care and dog services firm, said he hoped the president would address liquidity issues facing small firms.
His company has grown to 135 employees at six locations and is poised for expansion. But Mr. Marrow has had trouble accessing a line of credit that could help his firm meet its potential because, he said, he’s only been in business for about a year.
Mr. Obama touched on capital constraints but didn’t offer specifics on how to loosen credit for small firms. Mr. Marrow, who formerly worked in the hedge fund industry, said he was discouraged that the president opted instead to speak about the need for strict oversight in the financial sector because “that equates to less lending and liquidity,” he said. Mr. Marrow says he is a fiscally-conservative Independent who didn’t vote for Mr. Obama in 2008.
Mr. Marrow also wanted to hear about employment incentives, such as tax breaks for hiring and training new employees. But the president focused instead on incentives for bringing overseas jobs back to American shores, which doesn’t apply to Mr. Marrow’s business.