A new survey from Gallup finds an overwhelming majority of small business owners reporting that taxes (80%) and health care costs (73%) are hurting their businesses. A majority report that these two issues are hurting their businesses “a lot.” The findings come from the Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Survey series.
Other issues that a majority report are having a negative effect are energy prices (77%), government regulation (62%), and the federal debt ceiling (63%).
However, concern over health care costs is having its own very specific impact on small businesses. Among those not planning to hire in the coming months, 61% said it was because of concerns about the potential for higher health care costs in the future.
U.S. small-business owners are clearly concerned about how healthcare costs are affecting their companies. These worries are likely tied — at least in part — to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act and its potential impact. Small-business owners are trying to keep their workforces under 50 employees so they are exempted from key parts of the act and in this regard are reducing employee hours so they are not counted as full time.
Major provisions of the Affordable Care Act, i.e. ObamaCare, come into effect over the next 12 months. It is uncertain what its full impact will be, but it will be felt most acutely by small and medium sized businesses. Many may find it more economical to curtail their own growth rather than risk the requirements of the Act.