Small business is no small issue in presidential election

FTJOBS
President Obama signs the Small Business Jobs Act, which included a $30 billion small-business lending fund, in 2010. Small businesses, he said, "are the anchors of our Main Streets." But some people say the act didn't get the job done. (J. Scott Applewhite / AP)

Many issues are competing for the spotlight in the 2012 presidential election.

The safeguarding of small businesses is among them.

The Obama administration has been under criticism for how it has dealt with small businesses.

President Obama implemented the Small Business Jobs Act in September 2010, which included the extension of recovery loans and a $30 billion small-business lending fund. "This is important because small businesses produce most of the new jobs in this country," Obama said during the signing ceremony. "They are the anchors of our Main Streets."

Contrary to this sentiment, however, many small-business owners think the act has not lived up to expectations. Joseph Sindoni, owner of Trek Glass Tinting in Morton, Delaware County, is one.

Trek Glass Tinting offers services for homes, automobiles, and businesses. Sindoni said tax benefits granted to users of energy-saving products have ceased and the rewards of the act have yet to trickle down.

Sindoni, who voted for Obama in 2008, said he does not entirely blame the administration. Despite problems in the economy, he said there had been notable victories for small businesses.

Trek Glass Tinting, for instance, profited from Obama's auto-industry bailout. "More cars are selling and we're seeing a little benefit from that," he said.

The Republican presidential candidates have also expressed their positions on small-business regulations.

Mitt Romney has released proposals to improve the overall conditions for businesses: the American Competitiveness Act (to cut the corporate tax rate); the Open Markets Act (for free-trade accords with more countries); and the Retraining Reform Act (returning training programs to states).

Business tycoons, such as Donald Trump, have endorsed Romney for a number of reasons, including the belief that his proposals will allow more competition in foreign trade.

"Romney is not a credible person," Sindoni said, adding that the former Massachusetts governor only represents the values of big corporations and foreign trade.

"He's hurting American workers, and American workers are my customers," Sindoni said. "I don't think he will help small businesses at all."

The other Republican candidates, including Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich, do no better, according to Sindoni.

He criticized Santorum's efforts to win over small-business owners.

"He's too distracted with moral issues and what we do in our bedrooms," Sindoni said. Even Gingrich's background as a small-business owner has not sold Sindoni. " are left to fend for ourselves. . . . The help is given to big corporations with lobbyists and lots of money to give the candidates."

Sindoni said he supported libertarian Rep. Ron Paul's proposed Protect Small Business Jobs Act of 2011, which would grant a six-month grace period on complying with federal regulations on small businesses. "It's hard for small-business owners to absorb all their costs," he said.

Sindoni and small-business owners nationwide will undoubtedly hope that whoever wins in November will make choices that reflect the interests of small-business owners.

"What I would like to see is Democrats and Republicans caring more about American citizens and cooperating with each other," Sindoni said. "Their constant bickering hurts small businesses and everyone else."