Small business owners favor funding education
In a poll of Utah small business owners released Monday by their largest and most influential representative group, increased education funding received a mildly surprising thumbs up.
"Small business owners are no different than anyone else in valuing and supporting education," said Candace Daly, Utah state director for the National Federation of Independent Business, "but as community leaders and entrepreneurs, they take a much wider view of all government has to do or not do. As primary contributors of state taxes, small business owners know that education funding has never lacked being a legislative priority for financial support, even in a time of economic recessions, and that government has other obligations as well, such as roads, social services, and law enforcement. That's why we found it mildly surprising that a slim majority of them would support an increase in education funding when the state budget runs a surplus. It also underscores the importance of testing underlying assumptions, such as whether they would prefer surplus monies to be put into the rainy-day fund."
When asked, "When there is a state budget surplus, should the legislature use the money to increase funding for public and higher education," 52 percent responded 'Yes;' 37 percent said 'No;' and 12 percent were undecided. Considered by many policymakers to be the definitive opinion of Utah's small business owners, results from the annual NFIB state member ballot become the official lobbying positions of NFIB. Responses that fall short of the 60 percent threshold needed for official positions can, however, indicate an uncertainty over an issue, according to Daly.
Other responses from the six-question poll found 69 percent of respondents supporting an expansion of the flat income tax option, 64 percent support for legislation providing low-interest loans or grants to businesses to promote economic development and job growth, 62 percent support for the legislature to eliminate the remaining 2.75 percent state portion of the sales tax on food, and a 56 percent support for the legislature abiding by its spending cap. On the first-ranked issue small business owners have faced for the past 20 years, the cost and availability of health care, 78 percent of the respondents opposed the state requiring businesses with a certain number of employees to provide health care.